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Climate Crisis Strategy

We've agreed a new strategy and action plan that sets out how we will address local climate crisis issues over the coming decade.

We declared a climate and ecological emergency in 2019 which committed us to achieving net-zero carbon status by 2030 and to protecting and enhancing our local biodiversity.

As part of this commitment, the we have approved a new strategy, the Climate Crisis Strategy 2021-30 [1.17MB]. This sets a clear direction for tackling the climate crisis. We've allocated £1million to support climate crisis projects over the next 3 years.

Strategy themes and priorities

The effects and impacts of the climate crisis cross all aspects of society, economy and environment.

To understand the local priorities the Climate Change Working Group identified a number of key themes covering all related aspects of the climate crisis. Within the themes the group identified a number of priorities that support the delivery of the overall strategy and action plan.

The key themes and priorities of the strategy are:

  • resources
  • energy use
  • planning and development
  • transport
  • council assets and operations
  • natural environment
  • adapting to the climate crisis

These are some of the priorities we have identified that can only be addressed with the support of communities, businesses and partners.

Reducing our impact on the world's natural resources

We must reduce our impact on the world's natural resources, with a focus on fair and sustainable consumption and production and reuse or re-purposing where possible. We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production of goods and services and manage carefully the waste we produce. Of local concern is air quality and the need to make improvements particularly in identified areas like the Saffron Walden AQMA.


  • Protect our natural resources
  • Improve air quality
  • Waste: Reduce, reuse and recycle
  • Water: Reduce consumption, protect water resources from pollution
  • Reduce use of single use plastics
  • Sustainable food


Reducing energy use to limit the level of carbon emissions

By reducing energy use we can limit the level of carbon emissions in the environment. The burning of fossil fuels for energy releases carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases playing a significant role in the climate crisis.


  • Increase local renewable energy generation
  • Increase the energy efficiency of homes and offices
  • Improve energy efficient infrastructure
  • Improved broadband in rural areas for homes and businesses


Making new and existing homes and buildings energy efficient

Making new and existing homes and buildings energy efficient will play a major role in reducing the district's carbon emissions. The new communities we create or those we improve need to support sustainable living that reduces the need for travel, improves health and protects biodiversity. By 2040 the Council must build over 10,590 new homes, and the locations for these can be found in the new Local Plan.


  • Zero carbon buildings
  • Reduce energy use in existing buildings by retrofitting energy efficiency measures
  • Reduce water consumption in buildings through rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling
  • Low energy and low waste construction practices
  • New development built with Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes
  • Spatial planning to discourage private car use
  • Nature based approach to design to incorporate green infrastructure requirements


Working with others to organise transport solutions

Sustainable transport not only delivers carbon neutrality but has other positive outcomes, including health, well-being and socio-economic benefits for people and for businesses. By its nature, transport is a cross-boundary issue and so how we work with others to organise transport solutions is critical in reducing our carbon emissions.


  • Prioritise walking and cycling
  • Improve air quality
  • Increase cycle network with separated cycle lanes
  • Grow electric vehicle charging network and infrastructure
  • Promote accessible rights of way
  • Improve digital connectivity to reduce work travel demand


Managing our council assets and operations in a sustainable way

As an organisation committed to addressing the climate crisis and providing a leadership role we need to reduce our carbon emissions and the energy that we use, prioritise renewable energy sources and manage our services in a sustainable way.


  • Zero carbon emissions across estate
  • Tree planting on council owned land
  • Electrify the authority's fleet and pilot hydrogen fleet vehicles
  • Introduce carbon offsetting of emissions


Protecting the natural environment

Protecting the natural environment is a priority that not only deliver benefits but will also impact positively on the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of residents.


  • Improve biodiversity
  • Improve air quality
  • Protect and improve water quality
  • River catchment improvements for flood resilience and habitat
  • Increased rural and urban tree planting


Adapting to the climate crisis

The weather records of recent years evidence the increase in heat, drought, storm events, intensity of rainfall and flooding. Residents, communities, businesses and the natural environment need support to being able to adapt to these changes.


  • Support Communities to build resilience
  • Ensure flood alleviation for communities that flood
  • No new homes in flood plains
  • Improve drought and heat resilience in the district
  • Maintain Council Emergency Plan and Parish Emergency Plans
  • Prevent the impacts of the climate crisis disproportionately harming the most vulnerable



The action plan

Our Climate Crisis Action Plan (PDF) [1MB] (CCAP) is the vital next step in moving on from a statement of intent and overall approach, and into specific actions.


The Action Plan has 38 components, and the scale of the task to turn each one into a worked-up plan, actually delivering, is considerable.

So far there are:

  • 11 actions for delivery in March 2022 (Phase 2 of the CCAP)
  • 13 actions for delivery by December 2022 (Phase 3 of the CCAP)
  • 10 action points that fall in 2023, 2025 or are ongoing

Three action points are complete.