Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan


Introduction

The implementation of our Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan is led by the Biodiversity and Climate Change Manager. The individual actions in the plan are assigned to a specific manager(s) and/or officer(s) from each department to ensure they are monitored and completed. An indicators framework has been established for monitoring progress against each action and we have committed to reviewing and updating the action plan on an annual basis.

Our Net-Zero commitment

We have committed to becoming as close to carbon neutral as possible by 2030. Carbon Neutrality also referred to as Net-Zero can be achieved through reducing existing emissions and actively removing greenhouse gases. We have committed to achieving Net-Zero for our own operations by 2030 and our long-term aspiration is to become carbon negative or a footprint less than neutral, so that we have a net effect of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

At a borough wide-scale, in accordance with national government targets, and based on Tyndall Centre data, we have set out carbon reduction milestones to reduce CO2 emissions by -13.4% each year across the borough to reach near to Net-Zero by 2041. However, it must be noted that the fairness of this target is contingent on many aspects and not the sole responsibility of the council due to economic factors, private sector, transport sector, and wide-scale public behaviour change.

We are committed to embedding the Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan into our Strategic Plan and all of our decisions and actions, as climate resilience and biodiversity enhancement bring a multitude of co-benefits that incorporate many positive aspects of our mandate, including environmental, social, job creation, equity and social cohesion, health and wellbeing, citizen engagement, and the economy.

Engagement

As part of this Action Plan we have developed a Biodiversity and Climate Communication and Engagement Strategy to inform and engage with the public. The engagement strategy seeks to support the local community and groups to take part and spread awareness to mitigate and adapt to the changing climate and respond to the ecological crisis.

Climate change increases inequality, as it has a disproportional impact on low income and vulnerable groups. The foundation of the engagement strategy is inclusiveness, and we will work to ensure gender equality, Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities, youth, senior residents, faith groups, those with disabilities, and marginalised groups are included in the Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan and engagement process. Through our Go Green Go Wild website, community groups are engaged and supported to lead on raising awareness to tackle climate change and enhance biodiversity.

Active travel and green transportation

Aim: To support the shift from cars to active travel, public transport and enable the transformation from fossil fuels dependency to no tailpipe emissions.

Transport creates the largest amount of emissions in the borough. It has a negative impact on air quality and our health. The results from the residents’ survey showed support for investing in active travel and providing more charging points for electric vehicles across the borough.

Action 1.1

Influence the Development Plan to:

  • establish policies that enable the infrastructure required for low carbon vehicles;
  • ensure policies encourage and enable development proposals that give first priority to pedestrian and bicycles, both within the scheme and its surrounding areas; and
  • ensure policies facilitate high quality public transport connectivity.

Output: Emphasis is given to walking, cycling and public transportation.

Outcome: Local Plan includes measures and actions that will help to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and for new developments to adapt to the changing climate and put the residence health and wellbeing at the forefront.

Cost and responsibility: Strategic Planning team.

Timescale: 2020-22

Action 1.2

Work with Kent County Council (KCC) to develop our Integrated Transport Strategy, and Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, as part of the Local Plan review to promote and support a modal shift to walking, cycling, public transport, and electric vehicles.

Output: Integrated Transport Strategy Developed.

Outcome: Increase in infrastructure supporting walking, cycling, buses and electric vehicles.

Cost and responsibility: Transport and Development team and Strategic Planning team.

Timescale: 2020-22

Action 1.3

Produce a business case for the introduction of a workplace parking levy to fund active travel or public transport.

Output: Organisations charged for providing car parking spaces may result in fewer spaces being provided. Funds would be raised.

Outcome: Fewer cars on the road, greater use of sustainable transport modes and increased funding for sustainable infrastructure.

Cost and responsibility: Biodiversity and Climate Change Manager (BCC Manager) time.

Timescale: 2024

Action 1.4

Develop a travel plan for our staff that sets out objectives and actions to encourage the shift to electric/ultra-low emission vehicles, more flexible working from home, more sustainable travel patterns and an increase in the use of public transport and active transport modes through:

  • parking management on council premises
  • discounted public transport fares
  • pool cars
  • audio and video conferencing
  • car-sharing
  • electric bicycles
  • remote and home working
  • promoting fuel efficient driving techniques to all staff

Update travel expenses policies and avoid any contrary incentives. Update before any moves to new premises. Include any learning from changes in working practices due to COVID-19.

Output: Plan developed, formally adopted, disseminated and included in induction for new staff. Staff are given information and support to reduce car use.

Outcome: Staff adopting more sustainable and healthy travel practices.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager, Head of Human Resources, Head of Commissioning and Business Improvement, Transformation and Digital Services, and colleague’s time.

Timescale: 2021 – delayed to 2022 due to ongoing changes in remote working patterns caused by COVID-19.

Action 1.5

Develop policies and increase remote working to reduce travelling to work and office energy needs, without a reduction in outputs or access to services. Uses any learning from new working practices adopted due to COVID-19.

Output: Staff and councillor working arrangements are changed.

Outcome: Anticipated reduction in emissions for staff related to work.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager, Human Resources, Head of Commissioning and Business Improvement, Transformation and Digital Services time, changes could give cost saving.

Timescale: 2021 – delayed to 2022 due to ongoing changes in remote working patterns caused by COVID-19.

Action 1.6

Influence design and specification of any new office buildings to ensure infrastructure enables Electric Vehicles (EV) and low-carbon energy charging infrastructure, supports active travel with bike storage, lockers and showers, and supports digital working.

Output: Any new building able to support the electric vehicle charging needed and active travel.

Outcome: Reduced carbon emissions.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager time.

Timescale: 2020 to when any new building completed in keeping with 2030 Net Zero commitment.

Action 1.7

Building on our Low Emission Strategy, Kent and Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy, and the emerging policies relating to electric vehicles, work with KCC, district network operators and other relevant partners to seek grants and funding to provide sufficient EV charging hubs.

Output: Funds sought for EV charging infrastructure and alignment with district and county policies. Launch anti-idling campaign and install sign across priority areas of Maidstone.

Outcome: Charging points provided to anticipate, and meet, needs for vehicle charging across the borough.

Cost and responsibility: Parking Services, Strategic Planning team and BCC Manager.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 1.8

Utilise advice from the Energy Saving Trust (EST) Local Authority Transport Service to facilitate a move to electric taxis. Liaise with relevant partners to monitor use and ensure infrastructure is provided appropriately.

Output: Achieve the minimum number of rapid (50kW) EV charging points dedicated to taxi use needed in the town centre in-line with the EST report recommendations of:

  • 3 by 2021
  • 16 by 2025
  • 21 by 2027
  • 23 by 2030
  • 25 by 2036

Outcome: Monitor charging point provision and ensure they are sufficient by paying for the costs, applying for grant funding, or entering a partnership to ensure provision meets need and market growth.

Cost and responsibility: Costs vary dependent on location and DNO requirements. Indicative cost of £13K per double charging point when purchasing 10 or more. Costs circa £156K.

Timescale: 2021-2030 – A double rapid charging point dedicated for taxis has been provided by KCC and partners at Pudding Lane in 2021.

Action 1.9

Draft new licensing policy to reduce number of taxis using fossil fuel by more than 90% by 2030 and by 100% by 2036.

Output: 240 high mileage fossil fuel vehicles replaced with no tailpipe emission vehicles.

Outcome: No private hire vehicles with tailpipe emissions by end of 2028. No hackney carriage vehicles with tailpipe emissions by the end of 2036.

Cost and responsibility: Licensing and BCC Manager time.

Timescale: 2021 – The new licensing policy was completed and shared with licensing committee in 2021, however the adoption of this policy was not agreed up by the licensing committee based on concerns raised by the taxi trade. MBC is currently seeking closer collaboration with the Taxi firms and scoping alternative means to encourage EV usage.

Action 1.10

Promote workplace vehicle chargers and government Workplace Charging Scheme

Output: Scheme promoted to businesses.

Outcome: Increased number of EV charging points at businesses.

Cost and responsibility: Economic Development team.

Timescale: 2020 until scheme ends

Action 1.11

Promote ECO stars recognition scheme to fleet operators.

Output: Scheme promoted to businesses.

Outcome: Increased number of operators signed up.

Cost and responsibility: Environmental Protection team, BCC Manager time.

Timescale: 2020 until scheme ends

Action 1.12

Work with KCC to gather baseline data on the buses operating in the borough and their Euro classification. Support operators to develop their commercial networks in the borough, ensuring that the borough’s infrastructure is bus friendly. Work with the Quality Bus Partnership to identify actions to support bus companies to switch to clean technology and EVs.

Output: Gather data on the current fleet. Identify opportunities to trial cleaner buses and submit bids for funding at each opportunity

Outcome: Increase in public transport usage to improve air quality. More bus friendly infrastructure. An increase in the proportion of buses rated Euro VI or using low carbon fuels

Cost and responsibility: Environmental Protection Team, BCC Manager time.

Timescale: 2020-30

Decarbonising and insulating homes and buildings

Aim: To support the change from heating and cooling buildings using fossil fuels to low carbon technology and reducing energy needs by increasing energy efficiency.

29% of emissions in the borough come from homes. Poorly insulated homes cost more to run and contribute to fuel poverty. The technology is available to make the changes needed. A move from fossil fuels will reduce emissions from non-domestic buildings and greater energy efficiency could reduce costs for residence and businesses.

Action 2.1

Support KCC to explore the potential for Combined Heat and Power systems and District Heating scheme developments across the community.

Output: Developed business case.

Outcome: Decision made on feasibility.

Cost and responsibility: Development Management, Regeneration and Economic Development time.

Timescale: 2020-2023

Action 2.2

Promote access to schemes to residents, landlords and housing associations, for retrofitting insulation to existing homes including ECO3, LA Flex and the Green Homes Grant Scheme.

Output: Homeowners and landlords access schemes to install insulation so reduce heating bills and reduce carbon emissions, with particular emphasis on upgrading homes with an EPC rating of E, F or G.

Outcome: No homes with EPC rating of E, F or G by 2025 and all homes to be C or better by 2035.

Cost and responsibility: Housing and Health and Communications Staff time.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 2.3

Investigate how to support low carbon heat networks.

Output: Identify potential of low carbon networks.

Outcome: Evidence base to support new direction in Local Plan Review.

Cost and responsibility: Strategic Planning team.

Timescale: 2020-22

Action 2.4

Promote low carbon heating including government domestic and non-domestic renewable heat incentive scheme and any other suitable schemes.

Output: Low carbon heating, and any grant funding, promoted to businesses, third sector and householders.

Outcome: More homes and businesses retrofitted to low carbon heating systems.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager, Housing and Health Team, Economic development team and Communications.

Timescale: 2020 to scheme end

Action 2.5

Enforce Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015.

Output: Adopt a new Enforcement Policy to assist with ensuring landlords make reasonable improvements to the thermal efficiency of homes.

Outcome: Thermal efficiency of the poorest performing privately rented homes is increased.

Cost and responsibility: Housing and Health Team.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 2.6

Promote water efficiency to residents in partnership with South East Water.

Output: Residents signposted to water saving advice and devices.

Outcome: Water consumption reduction.

Cost and responsibility: Housing and health Team, Communications and BCC Manager.

Timescale: 2020-30

Generating renewable energy

Aim: To take every opportunity to generate renewable energy across the borough.

More sustainable electricity is needed to support the move away from fossil fuel dependency. There are opportunities for retrofitting renewable energy generating technologies to existing homes and businesses and requiring renewable energy generation as part of new developments.

Action 3.1

Use Local Plan review process to investigate and encourage on-site renewables on all types of new developments.

Output: Research produced for onsite renewable generation for all new developments.

Outcome: Foundations laid for setting out requirements for renewable energy generation on new developments in Local Plan.

Cost and responsibility: Strategic planning Manager time.

Timescale: 2020-22

Action 3.2

Support residents, businesses and third sector to install renewable energy generation by providing information and promoting grants, shared investment, and savings schemes.

Output: Information and support provided to access advice and relevant schemes.

Outcome: More renewable energy technology installed in borough.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager, Housing and Health, Economic Development and Communications Teams.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 3.3

Encourage and support community energy projects and assess viability of these for carbon offsetting.

Output: Projects supported and facilitated.

Outcome: More renewable energy created and used within community.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager and Communications.

Timescale: 2020-30

Reducing waste increasing and energy efficiency

Aim: To reduce the amount of domestic waste created, increase the proportion re-used, recycled and composted to at least 60% by 2030 and reduce the carbon emitted from processing waste.

Waste can be re-used as valuable resources and reduce the energy consumed in producing new goods by supporting the circular economy. Organic waste must be properly anaerobically disposed of as it can release greenhouse gases as it decomposes in landfills.

Action 4.1

Increase percentage of waste re-used recycled/composted by;

  • encouraging residents to separate food and recyclables (particularly metals and textiles), use appropriate bins and avoid contamination
  • reviewing, and where possible, improving recycling facilities for flats and those with communal collections
  • produce waste and recycling guidance with as much planning policy as possible to be adopted for all new developments; and
  • assess feasibility of weekly recycling collections

Outputs:

  • develop Communications and Engagement Strategy to encourage residents to separate food waste, recycle materials appropriately and avoid contamination
  • enforcement action where appropriate to address contamination and failure to manage waste in flats/communal collections by managing agents
  • produce new guidance to ensure all new developments have sufficient and appropriate provision for recycling; and
  • asses feasibility of weekly collections

Outcome:

  • a minimum of 60% of household waste is re-used, recycled/composted by 2030
  • reduced food waste in residual waste
  • increase capture rates of four key materials (paper, glass, metals and plastics) as well as food waste compared with 2019-20 levels; and
  • feasibility of weekly recycling collections used to inform plans for new waste collection contracts

Cost and responsibility: Approximately £10K consultants’ costs for modelling of alternative collection services including weekly recycling collections. Waste Services and Communication team time.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 4.2

Create and implement a plan to ensure all types of waste are processed in or as close to the borough as possible.

Output: Reduce the distance that waste is transported for processing.

Outcome: Maximised carbon reduction from recycling materials...

Cost and responsibility: Waste services team time.

Timescale: 2021-23

Action 4.3

Introduce recycling into the street cleansing service including offering community litter picks the opportunity to recycle the waste collected.

Output: Communities supported to plan safe litter picks where recycling can be easily separated from recycling. Litter collected through street cleansing service is separated wherever possible.

Outcome: More community litter picks, and clean recyclable materials reclaimed.

Cost and responsibility: Waste Services and Communication team time.

Timescale: 2022-22

Action 4.4

Reduce fly-tipping.

Outputs:

  • encourage residents to report fly-tipping using website and improve the reporting back to close the communication loop
  • increase enforcement for fly-tipping by increasing camera deployment and joint operation with the Police; and
  • explore ways to control emissions for removing fly tipped waste

Outcome: Fly-tippers penalised, fly-tipping addressed swiftly with minimal emissions.

Cost and responsibility: £40k. Waste Services team.

Timescale: 2020-25

Action 4.5

Investigate options to encourage home composting and using an anaerobic digester to process the domestic food waste collected.

Output:

  • promote home composting and assess feasibility of providing subsidised compost bins
  • assess feasibility of requiring communal composting facilities in new developments; and
  • work with KCC to assess viability anaerobic digestion of domestic food waste

Outcomes:

  • subsidised bins provided to promote home composting; and
  • feasibility and viability studies completed and recommendations made

Cost and responsibility: £20k to subsidise home compost bins. No costs expected for changes to way KCC processes food waste. Waste Services team.

Timescale: 2021-22

Adapting to climate change

Aim: To build climate resilient landscapes, communities and services.

Maidstone will experience hotter, drier, summers; warmer, wetter, winters, more intense storms, and increased risk of floods and drought. We must adapt to more frequent severe weather ensuring our landscapes are resilient, our communities thrive, and vital services continue to be provided.

Action 5.1

Provide policy on climate change adaptation in Local Plan review, including consideration of flooding, heat and drought.

Output: Climate change adaptation is included as part of Local Plan review.

Outcome: Local Plan review provides policy of climate change adaptation.

Cost and responsibility: Strategic Planning team time and BCC Manager.

Timescale: 2020-22

Action 5.2

Ensure Local Plan review considers level of current and future projected flood risk and that new developments are planned accordingly.

Output: Flood risks and climate projections are explicitly considered in Local Plan review. Strategic flood risk assessment in local plan review – measure projected

Outcome: New developments will be directed away from areas of projected flood risk and required adaptation and mitigations measures will be put in place.

Cost and responsibility: Strategic Planning team.

Timescale: 2020-22

Action 5.3

Use Severe Weather Impacts Monitoring System (SWIMS) to understand impacts of severe weather in the borough. Work with Kent County Council to implement actions from the Climate Change Risk and Impact Assessment in the borough.

Output: SWIMS database used to record severe weather impacts and reports provided to inform our risk register. Borough wide vulnerabilities are identified and a plan for resilience is created.

Outcome: Mitigations and controls in place to manage risk of Severe Weather. We can take proactive action to protect the borough from climate impacts.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 5.4

Work with Medway Flood Partnership to identify and develop actions, including natural flood management (nature based solutions and sustainable urban drainage), which can help to reduce flooding.

Output: Medway Flood Partnership supported to deliver actions that reduce flood levels.

Outcome: Reduction in likelihood of flooding or mitigation measures effective.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager, Corporate Property Team.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 5.5

Work with Medway Flood Partnership to

  • develop a funding strategy to identify and secure additional resources for natural flood management; and
  • build local communities’ resilience to flooding

Output

  • funding Strategy developed and reviewed regularly; and
  • communities at greatest risk from floods identified and helped to create Community Flood Action Plans

Outcomes:

Increase in the level of funds available for projects identified by Medway Flood Partnership for natural flood management projects to reduce flooding in the borough. Community resilience projects run, and Community Flood Plans written.

Cost and responsibility: Representative on Kent and Medway Environment and Climate Emergency Director’s Group.

Emergency Planning, Resilience Manager, and BCC Manager.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 5.6

Review our arrangements around estate, parks and recreation facilities in severe weather situations as part of business continuity management.

Output: Ensure identified actions and recommendations are in place for severe weather events.

Outcome: Our parks, recreational facilities, and operations are resilient to climatic changes.

Cost and responsibility: All services, BCC Manager.

Timescale: 2021 – Delayed completion to 2022

Action 5.7

Work with the Kent Resilience Forum, spatial planners and other partners to enhance adaptation and emergency planning contingencies for severe weather and other climate impacts. The ‘strengthening’ of power and water supplies and other critical infrastructure should be prioritised alongside ensuring more resilient settlements.

Output: An agreed approach reached by partners. Initiatives delivered to make critical infrastructure and settlements more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

Outcome: Operations, estates, assets and equipment are resilient to climate change.

Cost and responsibility: Emergency Planning, BCC Manger, and Resilience Manager and other colleagues as needed.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 5.8

Support local businesses to be resilient to climate change including referring to the Kent Prepared website.

Output: Businesses helped to assess their vulnerability to climate impacts, including extreme weather events and impacts on sending and receiving goods and services.

Outcome: Businesses have a climate impacts plan, so they are resilient to climate change

Cost and Responsibility: Economic development team and BCC Manager

Timescale: 2021 Ongoing

Enhancing and increasing biodiversity

Action 6.1

Draft Local Plan to:

  • require biodiversity net gain as a standard across the borough
  • ensure darden communities are an exemplar for biodiversity and deliver semi natural open space
  • increase tree coverage and other wildlife habitats to allow biodiversity in new developments; and
  • ensure that sustainable urban drainage schemes (SuDS) maximise biodiversity potential.

Output: Biodiversity net gain, with focus of semi natural open spaces incorporated into policy.

Outcome: Biodiversity net gain is achieved, and tree cover increased.

Cost and responsibility: Strategic Planning Team and specialist advice as needed.

Timescale: 2022

Action 6.2

Adopt the Parks and Open Space Biodiversity Action Plan ensuring it is reviewed to keep up to date with the latest practices.

Output: Parks and Open Biodiversity Action Plan agreed and implemented across council functions to be adopted from 2022 onwards.

Outcome: Every opportunity is taken to enhance biodiversity through council’s estate.

Cost and responsibility Parks and Open Spaces.

Timescale: 2021 – Completed

Action 6.3

Support and signpost community groups on tree planting projects and after care.

Output: Advice and signposting provided on sourcing trees, materials, choosing suitable species for sites, etc.

Outcome: Community tree planting of suitable native species in suitable sites.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager and Go Green Go Wild function.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 6.4

Work with Kent County Council to draft common position statement on biodiversity (including ensuring maintenance regimes which protect and enhance biodiversity).

Output: Position statement has been drafted.

Outcome: Higher standards of biodiversity achieve through enhanced collaboration.

Cost and responsibility: Strategic Planning team.

Timescale: 2020-22

Action 6.5

Liaise with Kent Wildlife Trust to:

  • promote relevant schemes to residents, schools and community groups to encourage them to enhance biodiversity in their gardens and grounds; and
  • provide information on habitat development and the benefits of it to nature and ecosystem services

Output:

  • schemes promoted
  • support and signpost awareness events
  • information on understanding habitats shared

Outcome:

  • increase in numbers of residents, schools and community groups gaining Kent Wildlife Trust awards; and
  • reduction in complaints about, or vandalism of, new habitats.

Cost and responsibility: Communications team, BCC Manger, Go Green Go Wild function.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 6.6

Work with Environment Agency, Southeast Rivers Trust, Kent Wildlife Trust and Medway Valley Countryside Partnership to enhance and expand wetland coverage in borough (including removal of dams and culverts, achieving improvements to water quality and restoration of ponds, lakes, marshes, wet woodland and bogs).

Output: Identify and map wetland restoration projects and opportunities, link project areas to biodiversity corridors and deliver them.

Outcome: Deliver at least one major new wetland creation or restoration project each year.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager, Parks and Open Spaces Team

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 6.7

Work with partners to develop and implement a Nature Recovery Strategy, linking habitat restoration and creation to improve biodiversity, flood protection and improve water quality.

Output: Nature Recovery Strategy developed, and plan implemented.

Outcome: Habitats created and linked reducing flooding and improving water quality.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager, Heritage Landscape and Design Team time.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 6.8

Work with local farmers and landowners to deliver landscape scale biodiversity initiatives – including reconnection of fragmented natural habitats, floodplain restoration, reduce soil degradation, reduced chemical inputs and reintroduction of lost key stone species.

Output: Project areas identified, and landowners engaged and committed.

Outcome: Projects implemented and monitored.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager, Heritage Landscape and Design Team time.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 6.9

Contribute to the KCC aim to plant 1.5 million trees in Kent by 2050 to increase canopy cover by 2% increase to 19%, of which Maidstone’s proportion is to increase canopy cover from 16% to 18%. With an emphasis on expanding ancient forests and reconnecting of existing woodland including urban woods, greening town centres, and where feasible increase tree cover on our estate land.

Output:

  • plan and mapping to increase tree cover with additional benefits to reduce flooding, heat islands, surface water runoff, and increase biodiversity
  • launch a borough wide call for tree planting projects to seek partnerships for large scale tree planting projects
  • funding identified for purchase, planting and maintaining additional tree cover and/or utilising systems (ELMS) to pay for tree cover in strategic sites; and
  • seeking low agricultural quality land, land for sale, and devising business case for large scale tree planting on purchased land

Outcome:

  • tree cover increased on our estate land;
  • Maidstone’s canopy proportion increased to 18%.

Cost and responsibility: £414k to £450k for land and £115k for tree planting, totalling £529- 565k. Parks and Open Spaces, Heritage Landscape and Design Team and BCC Manager time.

Timescale: 2021 -2030.

Action 6.10

Evaluate our Go Green Go Wild work. Amend as needed and commit ongoing funds to ensure of work continues.

Output: Project evaluated and amended to deliver suitable advice and support to individuals and community groups completed and due to commence from 2022 onwards.

Outcome: Effective project to support individuals and community groups to enhance biodiversity in borough.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager, Parks and Open Spaces plus £10k+ for grants.

Timescale: 2021 – Completed due to commence from 2022 onwards.

Action 6.11

Ensure that all of our land and property holdings are subject to maintenance interventions to maximise biodiversity.

Output: Land and property assessed.

Outcome: Changes to management and/or introduction of enhancements. Increase in our estate biodiversity and green spaces.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager, Parks and Open Spaces and Property Services (circa £10k).

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 6.12

Audit trees on our land and create maintenance plan.

Output: The location and state of trees on our land is known. GIS mapping ongoing.

Outcome: Health of trees on our land known and maintenance plan created.

Cost and responsibility: Parks and Opens Spaces, and BCC Manager.

Timescale: 2021 – completion of audit delayed to 2022 due to GIS technology requirements needed.

Action 6.13

Review our non-operational land to assess potential for enhancing biodiversity thorough tree planting, rewilding and wetland creation. Including partnering with community groups to take responsibility for site management.

Output: Review completed, parcels of suitable land identified, relevant community groups contacted.

Outcome: Some parcels of non-operational land used to enhance biodiversity, thorough tree planting, rewilding and wetland creation and community groups engaged.

Cost and responsibility: Property Services and BCC Manager time.

Timescale: 2022


Making our estate carbon neutral

Aim: We will reduce emissions from our estate to as close to carbon neutral as possible by 2030. We emit 480 tCO2e from council owned vehicles and 679 tCO2e from electricity and gas in our buildings and indirectly emit 3,030 tCO2e from services outsourced.

Action 7.1

Utilise the commissioned Carbon Trust report and 2020 baseline calculations to improve ours:

  • energy and water efficiency measures
  • investment for upgrades/retrofits in our infrastructure; and
  • onsite renewable energy generation.

Outputs:

  • investigate how to fund recommendations from our carbon reduction report including Public Section Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme and options for revolving loan fund to pay for renewable energy developments that payback over time
  • investigate offsetting through our estate, partnerships, and schemes. Offset projects invested in with preference given to those in borough, followed by in county
  • implement Carbon Trust report recommendations under spend to save and investing in measures where needed; and
  • commission energy audits, building surveys and feasibility studies for each MBC building to find tangible, upgrade and retrofit options to decarbonise our estate and transition to a green fleet

Outcomes:

  • carbon emissions from our estate significantly reduced;
  • suitable funds are identified and obtained; and
  • offsetting residual emissions will ensure our estate is carbon neutral by 2030.

Cost and responsibility: Indicative costs of £807k to save an approximate minimum of £77.5k per year when completed. Property Services, Procurement Team and BCC Manager time.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 7.2

Measure our carbon footprint each year and report findings to relevant committees and the public.

Outputs:

  • improve energy data quality and management
  • automate all relevant data into dashboard system for improved management and transparency; and
  • our carbon footprint is measured and reported.

Outcome: This provides a measure of the effectiveness of actions taken to reduce our carbon emissions.

Cost and Responsibility: BCC Manager.

Timescale: Annually

Action 7.3

Purchase 100% renewable energy for our buildings and operations where we control the supply.

Output: Energy switched or transitioned to 100% renewable supplier as each contract expires.

Outcome: The electricity used by us would be carbon neutral.

Cost and responsibility: Laser Energy, Transformations Team, BCC Manger, Property services team.

Timescale: As each contract expires.

Action 7.4

Work in partnership to review our portfolio to identify temporary accommodation assets eligible for insulation upgrades under ECO3 funding and arrange installation. Provide top up funding for any measures not fully funded under the ECO3 to ensure all homes let as temporary accommodation are energy efficient and EPC rating improved to requirement.

Output: Conduct review and work with landlords to identify the carbon savings. Investigate funding opportunities provided for ECO3 provider, or by Green Homes Grant Scheme.

Outcome: All homes let as temporary accommodation are energy efficient.

Cost and responsibility: Top up for ECO3: £103,400 – from initial survey, may vary slightly. Green Homes Grant Scheme provides 2/3 of costs up to £5k.  BCC Manager and Housing Service.

Timescale: 2020-22

Action 7.5

Incorporate energy saving principles into our office strategy. Utilise any learning from new working practices adopted due to COVID-19.

Output: Staff and members are supported to use technologies that enable remote and home working; use of office space minimised and made efficient.

Outcome: Staff and members able to work effectively remotely and less time/resources spent on travel for meetings.

Cost and responsibility: IT Staff time, Procurement team time, Head of Transformation and Property, possible IT costs.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 7.6

Increase data and improve data management on our leased buildings. Identify assets with the highest emissions to prioritise action. Use role as a landowner (e.g. at Lockmeadow) to ensure that council-owned sites set a high standard for carbon reduction and demonstrate how to achieve biodiversity and combat climate change.

Output: Work with lease holders and landlords to improve data management and prioritisation. Support bid process and seek funding for upgrades and retrofits.

Outcome: EPC ratings improve. Our sites are recognised as exemplary ‘green’ buildings and spaces. Wherever possible, schemes are self-funding. Lower energy costs. All new developments, alterations and repairs will aspire to being carbon-neutral and will aim to contribute to overall carbon reduction targets.

Cost and responsibility: Property Services and BCC Manager.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 7.7

Provide LED lighting in our car parks that have not yet been upgraded.

Output: Replace lights with LED lights.

Outcome: This action is 90% complete through maintenance schedule and carbon emissions from car park lighting reduced by approximately 83%.

Cost and responsibility: £15k, Parking and Property Services.

Timescale: 2020-30

Communications and engagement strategy

Aim: To enable residents, vulnerable groups, businesses, and partner organisations to make informed decisions on climate change and biodiversity and access funding to build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

We will encourage and support residents and businesses to address climate change and biodiversity. Key to the engagement strategy is community led and inclusive support to those most vulnerable to the climate crisis, including, minority ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, under-represented or marginalised groups, and lower income communities.

Action 8.1

Support residents to understand the changes they can make to reduce and prepare for climate change and to enhance biodiversity, including raising awareness of:

  • climate change through education in schools and education for the public, including adults, faith groups, seniors, youth groups, businesses and farmers
  • upskilling and green jobs
  • financial opportunities through energy efficiency and low-carbon energy generation measures
  • creating less waste and increase proportion of recycling/composting
  • using less water
  • buying from local businesses and supporting the circular economy
  • reducing red meat consumption in line with Eatwell guidance

Outputs:

  • provide relevant information on government grants and any local schemes on website and social media
  • provide information on how to reduce, re-use and recycle waste and the circular economy
  • support local and national campaigns used to promote buying from local businesses
  • promote health and climate benefits from reductions in red meat consumption
  • create a community forum, community representation, feedback mechanisms, engagement events, and physical suggestion boxes
  • join the Environment Agency’s flood warning service and promote warning services using social media; and
  • work with KCC on joint campaigns where appropriate

Outcomes:

  • residents use support available to retrofit homes and reduce heating bills and carbon emissions
  • at least 60% of household waste is re-used, recycled/composted by 2030
  • residents use support provided by South East Water Company
  • increase in support for local businesses
  • residents eating less red meat and health improvement; and
  • more residents and businesses signed up to Environment Agency’s flood warning service

Cost and responsibility: Housing and health Team, Waste Services, Regeneration and Economic Development and Communications Staff time, BCC Manager.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 8.2

Provide staff awareness information of biodiversity and climate change at induction and provide job specific sustainability training to each service area.

Output: Improve the awareness, engagement, and knowledge of our staff.

Outcome: All staff understand the importance biodiversity and climate change and the impacts of their work and lives. Staff representatives are identified, and suggestions box supplied.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager time and other staff time.

Timescale: 2020-21 – delayed to 2022 due to COVID-19

Action 8.3

Inform partner organisations and residents about the threats from climate change and the ways they and we can adapt and mitigate its impacts.

Output: Organisations and residents plan for flooding, heat waves and more severe storms.

Outcome: We have a list of organisations to send government climatic impact advice to. Organisations and residents are signed up for flood alerts.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager time and communications staff time.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 8.4

Engage with and build support from key stakeholders and the wider public on enhancing biodiversity and addressing climate change. Engage, highlight, and support relevant events and outreach in line with national and international days of action from the Environmental Awareness calendar.

Output: Use information gathered to create and update a communications plan to support this action plan. Work in partnership with KCC as appropriate.

Outcome: Stakeholder and residents are regularly engaged and kept informed on the councils aims and progress on biodiversity and climate change and supported to build their resilience to climate impacts. Stakeholders and community groups are encouraged to create their own action plans.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager time and communications staff time.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 8.5

Support local businesses to

  • utilise support available, such as funding and carbon calculators, to reduce their emissions, align their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and generate renewable energy including liaising with KCC on LoCASE funding opportunities
  • implement travel plans that promote walking, cycling and public transport to work
  • use the Kent Prepared website to raise awareness of how to prepare for flooding

Outputs:

  • promote information, loans and grants on reducing emissions and generating renewable power
  • businesses supported to write travel plans; and
  • businesses signposted to Kent Prepared website

Outcomes: Businesses make use of grants and loans available, businesses have travel plan, and businesses prepared for flooding impacts and has own plan

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager, Regeneration and Economic Development and communications staff time.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 8.6

Liaise with parish councils to support their work on biodiversity and climate change.

Output: Parish councils supported to take actions and bid for funding.

Outcome: Parish councils actively addressing biodiversity and climate change.

Cost and responsibility: BCC Manager.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 8.7

Work with partners to address climate change and biodiversity effectively and sustainably.

Output: Best practice shared, ability to submit joint bids.

Outcome: Relevant Managers participate in:

  • Kent and Medway Environment Group
  • Kent Climate Change Network
  • Kent and Medway Sustainable Energy Partnership
  • Kent Private Sector Housing Group
  • Kent and Medway Air Quality Partnership
  • Kent Environmental Health Managers Group
  • Kent Resource Partnership
  • Kent Planning Managers Group
  • Kent Nature Partnership - working group
  • Kent Resilience Forum – risk assessment group
  • Transport for the Southeast
  • Medway Flood Partnership

Cost and responsibility: Staff time from relevant teams, many already participating.

Timescale: 2020-30

Action 8.8

Following successful legal action by the Housing and Health Team regarding category 1 hazards of excess cold, and the Building Control Team regarding buildings not built to required standards – publicise details through communications team.

Output: Press releases highlighting successful prosecutions.

Outcome: Accommodation and building standards improved and behaviour change as a result of enforcement.

Cost and responsibility: Housing and Health, Building Control and Communications staff time.

Timescale: 2020-30

Sustainable decision making processes and governance

Aim: To ensure that climate change and biodiversity are part of all our decision making, good governance, and transparency.

It is essential that we work as one organisation to the shared goals of addressing biodiversity loss and climate change. We are committed to embedding the Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan into and as part of our Strategic Plan as well as all of our decisions and actions.

Action 9.1

Provide briefings and training for councillors and our managers on carbon, climate change, and biodiversity to create a culture change and ensure climate change and biodiversity are integrated into decision making.

Outputs:

  • relevant training provided
  • report templates include reference to biodiversity and climate change impact included; and
  • decisions evidence that biodiversity and climate change has been taken into account

Outcome: Awareness and understanding of the impact of climate change and the importance of biodiversity and this is taken account of in all decision making.

Cost and responsibility: Democratic Services Team, Councillor and Senior Manager time, BCC Manager time staff time.

Timescale: 2020-21 – Completed with ongoing training due to commence from 2022

Action 9.2

Establish biodiversity and climate change overview and scrutiny committee.

Outputs:

  • overview and scrutiny functions in relation to biodiversity and climate change; and
  • decisions could be called in if relevant to biodiversity or climate change

Outcome: Reports are scrutinised to ensure biodiversity is protected and climate change is considered.

Cost and responsibility: Democratic Services staff time.

Timescale: 2020-21 – delayed to 2022 due to change of council system to cabinet

Action 9.3

Ensure service plans consider biodiversity and addressing climate change and performance indicators are set as needed.

Output: Opportunities for enhancing biodiversity and addressing climate change are considered when writing service plans and setting performance indicators.

Outcome: Service plans contribute towards addressing the ecological and climate change emergencies.

Cost and responsibility: Manager time.

Timescale: 2020-21 – Completed

Action 9.4

Review guidance used to help managers plan their services to ensure opportunities for enhancing biodiversity and mitigating and adapting to climate change are taken.

Output: Service design toolkit reviewed.

Outcome: Opportunities to enhance biodiversity and mitigate and adapt to climate change are taken when services are designed.

Cost and responsibility: Transformation team.

Timescale: 2020-21 – Delayed implementation to 2022

Action 9.5

Establish criteria for investment in climate change and biodiversity and invest to save schemes. These will consider (a) relative impact in terms of carbon reduction and (b) ease of delivery, such that expenditure is focused on deliverable, affordable initiatives that maximise impact on the carbon reduction targets.

Output

  • source external, including government, funding for climate change action
  • establishing arms-length delivery vehicles and securing innovative
  • financial arrangements for climate change projects and programmes

Outcome: Funds available for approved projects.

Cost and responsibility: Finance Staff and BCC Manager time.

Timescale: 2020-21 – Delayed implementation to 2022

Action 9.6

Develop a corporate policy and procurement approach to social value that incorporates enhancing biodiversity and reducing our (scope 3) carbon footprint through the way we design, carry out and procure our services.

Output: Biodiversity and climate change criteria are integrated when developing tenders and contracts for services. Energy efficient equipment is chosen.

Outcome: Biodiversity protection and emission reduction metrics are included in tender assessments at each opportunity. Energy efficient equipment is chosen.

Cost and responsibility: Transformation and Commissioning Staff, Finance and BCC Manager time.

Timescale: 2021 – Delayed implementation to 2022


If you have any questions regarding the Action Plan or project details please email us.

The Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan will be reviewed and updated as needed on an annual basis, with the status and progress of each action monitored during the course of the year against established indicators.