Biodiversity and climate emergency

In April 2019, we declared a Biodiversity and Climate Emergency.

In October 2020 we then agreed our Biodiversity Climate Change Strategy and action plan for addressing these emergencies.

Our plan

We wrote our plan:

  • Using expert advice
  • Views from landowners and
  • Our residents survey

We identified nine themes where we could control or influence actions. These are:

  • Transport: Creates the largest amount of emissions in the borough and we'll address it through our Local Plan, creating ourselves a travel plan and building supporting infrastructure for electric vehicles
  • Buildings: We'll support residents and businesses to move away from using fossil fuels to reduce emissions and improve the energy efficiency of buildings
  • Generating renewable energy: We need to generate more renewable energy to support the move away from fossil fuels. We'll support residents, businesses and communities to generate renewable energy
  • Reducing waste and energy used for processing waste: We'll support residents to reduce the amount of waste produced and increase the proportion of waste that is re-used, recycled and composted
  • Adapting to climate change: We'll experience hotter, drier summers; warmer, wetter winters and more storms. We'll adapt to more frequent severe weather to help our communities and landscapes thrive
  • Enhance and increase biodiversity: Biodiversity provides ecosystem services including clean water, clean air, rainwater absorption and flood mitigation. We'll protect and increase biodiversity in the borough
  • Making our estate carbon neutral: We'll reduce emissions from our estate, including buildings and vehicles, to as close to carbon neutral as possible by 2030
  • Communications: Communications will play a huge part in providing information to residents, organisations and businesses, including signposting to grant funding
  • Decision-making processes and governance: We'll ensure climate change and biodiversity are considered when all decisions are made

Our action plan is a living document and will be updated as needed.

The Biodiversity and Climate Change governance arrangements includes:

  • a fortnightly update to the council leader and Director of Strategy, Insight and Governance.
  • an update to the council's wider leadership team and the executive every quarter.
  • a six-monthly update and an annual review of the action plan to identify amendments and decisions and report these to the Communities, Housing and Environment Policy Advisory Committee and the executive.

How you can help

Your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas which contributes to global heating and ocean acidification, released into the atmosphere as a result of your daily activities.

You can calculate your carbon footprint and consider whether there are any ways you could reduce it.

Large impacts you may wish to consider include:

  • Installing renewable energy, like heat pumps or solar panels
  • Changing to a green tariff for your electricity and gas
  • Installing home insulation
  • Buying/leasing an electric vehicle. There are government grants for installing charge points Grant schemes for electric vehicle charging infrastructure can be found on GOV.UK

Medium impacts you may wish to consider include:

  • Avoiding traveling by working from home/conference/video calls
  • Avoiding long haul flights
  • Reducing food waste and putting in the food bins or composting it at home
  • Reducing your meat and dairy intake. For more information about this visit the Grantham Institute's website

Smaller, but still useful impacts include:

Protect biodiversity by:

  • Considering taking action for insects as shown by Kent Wildlife Trust. Insects pollinate three quarters of our food crops, and are the main food source for many birds, small mammals and fish
  • Taking part in tree planting events near you
  • Gardening for wildlife by using native plants, cutting out pesticides, digging a pond and leaving wild areas such as areas of long grass and wood piles
  • Never dropping litter or fly-tipping and
  • Reporting fly-tipping