Climate Change Strategy
When they meet on Thursday, 23 February, Flintshire’s Cabinet members will be asked to note the progress of the Council’s Climate Change Strategy since it was adopted in February 2022.
The key themes in the strategy are:
- Mobility & Transport
- Land Use
We continue to invest in our buildings to improve their energy efficiency and subsequent carbon emissions, LED upgrades, improved insulation, and BMS (Building Management System) upgrades to improve management of energy. We also continue to invest in building mounted renewable energy to reduce the need for grid electricity by installing solar PV and wind turbines on schools and our industrial units.
We have seen a 3% decrease in heating from buildings, 37% decrease in electricity use in our buildings, and 44% decrease in electricity in street lighting.
Work is underway in designing and developing the Council’s first Net Zero Carbon school and we are again demonstrating leadership by piloting a Net Zero Carbon Care Home which will be one of the first in Wales.
Flintshire’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Economy, Councillor David Healey, said:
“The Council continues to provide energy advice and support to domestic properties – both Council tenants and private households - to reduce the risk of fuel poverty. We also work with occupiers and contractors to fit energy reduction measures in homes including insulation, LED light bulbs, energy use meters, solar energy and improved heating systems such as air source heat pumps.
“In terms of economic strategy, place plans are being developed for each of our town centres over the coming year. These plans will help us to understand the regeneration needs within our urban communities and will consider carbon mitigation and adaptation and environmental impacts within these areas.”
Mobility & Transport
In 2021/22 we have seen a 51% decrease in Business travel, 11% decrease in employee commuting and 15% decrease in Fleet, compared to our 2018/19 baseline.
The Council is working to understand the impacts of transition to alternative fuel vehicles with pilots of electric recycling vehicles and 2 electric buses introduced into the public service.
The largest impact in this area comes from our own Fleet. Work is being carried out to develop the Council’s EV Transition plan in line with the installation of EV charging points and the renewal of the Fleet contract.
We have invested in EV charging infrastructure to support the public transition to electric vehicles, with the first phase of 15 public access EV charging points now installed in public car parks.
We are continuing to develop our active travel network across the county by identifying and bridging gaps in the network.
In 2021/22 we saw a 24% increase in carbon emissions from our supply chain. This increase directly correlates with a Council-wide increase in spend over 2021/22.
Chair of the Climate Change Committee, Councillor Alisdair Ibbotson, said:
“The Council has a responsibility to consider how we can incorporate climate change considerations into our procurement in a way that is proportionate and relevant and influences the market. Reducing emissions from procured goods and services is a significant part of our climate response.
“The Procurement Strategy is being reviewed to incorporate the introduction of measures to weight contracts with consideration for the carbon impacts of the contract and collection of that carbon emission data.”
The Council continues to work on understanding both existing and potential benefits of its land assets – mapping land areas that have potential for improved carbon absorption, natural flood defence and biodiversity net gain. Key sites will be identified this year to progress feasibility.
We have launched two new solar farms potentially generating 3MW of electricity, adding to our existing solar farms and landfill gas generation. We have also been trialling, in partnership with University College London, hydro power at Wepre Park.
Councillor Ibbotson added:
“By investing in these technologies, we can move Flintshire, and Wales as a nation, away from energy produced by burning of fossil fuels. Further opportunities exist to invest in large scale renewable energy schemes.”
Other initiatives reducing our carbon footprint include:
- Municipal waste sent to Parc Adfer in Deeside which can power more than 45,000 homes.
- Kerbside food waste goes to an anaerobic digester.
- Green waste is converted into compost at the Greenfield facility.
- Working with Refurbs and other charities has improved the waste treatment of white goods and encouraged the upcycling of large household items.
- In terms of biodiversity management, we now have a network of 109 nature areas that incorporate a reduced mowing regime and wildflower seeding.
In order to embed climate change, work has been undertaken to review and update key decision making tools within the Council. To further support this, the former Climate Change Programme Board has become the Climate Change Committee and a Cabinet Member for Climate Change & Economy was established.
The wider employee base would benefit from completion of a more basic introduction to climate change, and Flintshire Council is leading a regional public sector commission to facilitate the development of an elearn module for this purpose.
Councillor Healey added:
“Reducing the Council’s carbon emissions alone – roughly 2% of the total emissions of the county - will not achieve the net zero Wales by 2050 goal, and the expectation is that we use our influence as a Local Authority to encourage local businesses, voluntary organisations, public services and our residents to work towards reducing their carbon emissions.
“Significant change will not happen without adequate capacity. We were successful in securing a degree apprentice in ‘Low Carbon Energy and Sustainability’ through Welsh Government’s initiative to invest in green skills. This placement is in partnership with Wrexham Glyndwr University and is already proving to be a valuable resource for the programme.”