Executive Member for Corporate Policy and Resources.
The Executive Member for Corporate Policy and Resources, Councillor Lewanski, introduced the report which provided an update on the Council’s progress in delivering the Council’s Environmental Sustainability Strategy and proposed new actions to include in the Council’s Environmental Sustainability Action Plan.
In line with the first area of focus in the Sustainability Strategy; change within the Council, the Council had:
· Switched energy tariffs so more electricity came from renewable sources and offset the remaining purchased energy emissions
· Continued to replace aging fleet vehicles with local carbon electric alternatives
· Purchased green products, reduced printing and single use plastics, and provided training and advice to staff and members, to tackle the Council’s indirect environmental impact.
The next step was to develop and implement plans to improve the energy efficiency of Council buildings and introduce on-site renewable technologies.
In line with the second area of focus in the Strategy; to support residents and businesses to move towards a more sustainable borough and work to the national target of net zero by 2050, the Council had:
· Adopted new planning guidance to help make new developments more sustainable
· Continued to work with partners to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the borough and provided information to residents about how to make their homes more sustainable
· Provided advice and run workshops to help communities plant trees in their local areas, and planted trees and native plans on Council land.
· Installed new electric vehicle charging points in Horley and Banstead
· Provided advice and information to local businesses, including the Reigate Business Guild.
These actions were on top of the day to day work undertaken by the Waste & Recycling team to educate and improve recycling and the Environmental Health team in relation to air quality and privately rented housing.
Councillor Lewanski explained that it was proposed to introduce new actions in the Council’s Action Plan covering topics like domestic retrofit, climate change adaption and carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, working with partner organisations would put the Council in the best position to make a positive difference.
The annexes to the report had been considered by the Cross Party Member Sustainability Group and the Overview & Scrutiny Committee and Councillor Lewanski explained that he would be happy to incorporate suggestions from the Overview & Scrutiny Committee into the Council’s future area of work.
Councillor Harrison, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, reported that the Committee had considered the progress update at the Committee’s meeting on 21 October. The Committee focused on the improvements needed to Council assets and had requested supplementary information on the Council’s carbon offsetting measures. The Committee also considered engagement with young people, publicising the Action Plan and planting new forestry, and requested a future update on the comments made by the Committee. The Committee were supportive of the work that had been undertaken.
In response to questions from Visiting Members, it was confirmed that:
· The Council would continue to work with Surrey County Council and Action Surrey as they rolled out energy efficiency programs in relation to retrofitting of homes, and would continue to work to bring local businesses together to identify new opportunities.
· The Action Plan would be updated to identify key actions, in line with the comments received from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
1. To agree the annual Environmental Sustainability progress report (Annex 1) for publication on the Council website.
2. To agree the proposed additions to the Environmental Sustainability Action Plan (Annex 2)
3. To reassert the Executive’s commitment to working in partnership with Surrey County Council and other Surrey districts and boroughs to achieve county-wide climate objectives.