Climate change - what is the council doing?

Following the declaration of the climate and ecological Emergency, a low carbon and sustainability specialist was appointed to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Working Group which is in the process of producing a Carbon Action Plan.

In order to work out the most effective measures to be included in the action plan, Laser Energy was commissioned to produce a report to show the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions for the council's own estate.

This report showed that the council's use of gas was particularly high - partly due to the number of sheltered housing blocks in the area. It also highlighted significant emissions from the council's grey fleet (staff cars).

Our Carbon Action Plan was adopted by cabinet in February 2021. It includes a baseline of the council's current carbon emissions and sets out 33 actions to continue our journey to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2030.

There are a range of actions, some of which can be tackled quickly and others which will take longer to implement. They focus on six key areas - energy, behaviour change, transport, water, contracts and biodiversity/green spaces.

The Carbon Action Plan will be regularly reviewed.

 Carbon Action Plan (PDF, 1.23MB)

Find out more about what the council is doing in our most recent Climate Change and Ecological Emergency briefing note.

The council is already taking steps to reduce the council's carbon footprint including:

  • Planting 900 trees across the district in 2019/20 including small, native and semi-medisumature trees
  •  Installing a network of electric vehicle charging points across the district, including charging points in the council's own Civic Centre car park
  • Planting wildflower areas and managing land to promote biodiversity
  • Reducing strimmer use and pesticide application around trees and obstacles where suitable. Discussion is also taking place about trialling alternatives to pesticides
  • Purchasing battery operated grounds maintenance equipment where suitable to replace petrol powered equipment.

Grounds maintenance's environmental responsibility

A presentation about our grounds maintenance team's environmental responsibility, including its biodiversity work, was shown to the climate and ecological emergency working group.  View the presentation.

Electric vehicle charging points

We are installing 94 electric vehicle charging points across Folkestone & Hythe. 

This work is a result of a partnership with Kent County Council and Connected Kerb, one of the UK's biggest providers, and the installation of the charging points in more than 20 car parks across the district will take place in 2021 and 2022.

Six existing off-street charging points provided by the council will be replaced and the new charging points will be in addition to 23 provided by commercial businesses.

Highview

A new development in Folkestone is setting the standard for future building in the district.

The 30 homes, which will be built on the former Highview school site in Moat Farm Road, aim to be zero carbon in use. They have been designed by our in-house team and will all be for affordable rent.

The team has, for the first time, been joined by three tenants who are assisting in looking at different ways of ensuring the homes substantially reduce carbon emissions. They are also looking at accessibility and landscaping.

The zero-carbon-in-use technology includes: mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems (MVHR), photovoltaics (solar panels), battery power storage (which links with the panels), and air source heat pumps (ASHP).

Work is expected to start on Highview's 24 houses and six flats (which include wheelchair-compliant units) early next year. The fully-accessible small neighbourhood will have open spaces with child-friendly landscaping, forming a sense of place. It will be connected to surrounding streets, with an emphasis on the movement of pedestrians, rather than vehicles.

Reducing carbon emissions for the district

The emergency declaration also commits the council to play a leadership role to help the local community meet a 2030 carbon neutral target.

Council officers have used the SCATTER cities tool and government figures to calculate the greenhouse gas emissions for the district as a whole.

This showed that the most significant sources were road travel and domestic energy.

Whilst it is recognised that the council has limited direct influence over these factors, the working group will consider ways in which the council can support local residents to reduce their own carbon footprint and how the council can lobby the government and Kent Council Council on these issues.