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Decision details

Climate Change Strategy and Carbon Management Plan 2021-2026

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

To approve a revised and updated Climate Change Strategy and Carbon Management Plan for the period from April 2021 to March 2026.

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The Officer’s report presented a revised Climate Change Strategy covering the period from 2021-2026 for approval, following public consultation in autumn 2020. The revised strategy set out the Council’s approach to: reducing its own carbon emissions; supporting residents, businesses and organisations in Cambridge to reduce their emissions; and helping the city adapt to the predicted changes in climate. The revised strategy builds on what the Council has achieved to date, but sets out new ambitions in the context of the Climate Emergency, including working more with residents, communities, businesses and institutions.

 

The report also presented a new Carbon Management Plan for 2021-2026 for approval. The Carbon Management Plan set out in more detail how the Council would reduce its direct carbon emissions from its corporate buildings and fleet vehicles towards net zero carbon.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Climate Change, Environment and City Centre

  i.  Approved the Council’s Climate Change Strategy for 2021-2026.

  ii.  Approved the Council’s Carbon Management Plan for 2021-2026.

 

Agreed to:

  iii.  Commit to ensuring that all future reports aid understanding of carbon emissions by providing: both percentages of total emissions and the absolute denominator in ktCO2; a definition of the scope of the emissions referred to; and a clear visual representation of the scope of emissions referred to.

  iv.  In addition to presenting data on carbon emissions that are within the Council’s direct influence, explore the feasibility of quantifying the emissions contained within Council’s policy influence and report to Scrutiny Committee in October 2021.

  v.  Explore the feasibility of measuring the impact of the Council’s future activity on emissions within its direct influence and its policy influence and report to Scrutiny Committee  in October 2021.

  vi.  The council will prepare a list of existing for gas fired heating systems under council control and their remaining expected service life.

a.  Scope: All gas consumers included in Appendix 4 Figure 10 (page 123 of reports pack)

b.  Target date: Next committee cycle

 vii.  In addition, the committee notes the already recognised need to complete an asset management plan for all the council’s corporate building, and additionally recommends that the council ensure the plan addresses the following points:

 

For all systems with less than 5 years life remaining prepare a report on the:

a.  Extent of insulation, heating system or other work required to ensure feasibility of low carbon heating 

b.  Current gas consumption 

c.  Estimated combined costs of remedial work and low carbon heating system

 

Output: Prioritised (by tCO2/£) list of urgent works required to avoid future replacement of existing heating systems with gas fired boilers at end of life

 

Target time frame: 12 months

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Strategy and Partnerships Manager.

 

Opposition Councillors made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  The Council needed to do more to mitigate/address climate change.

  ii.  Needed to take more meaningful action as a city and wider area, to do more than the city could on its own.

  iii.  The city should take action and set a good example for other organisations to follow.

 

The Strategy and Partnerships Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The Council had a target to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

  ii.  The intention was to reduce direct emissions from buildings and the transport fleet first. Technology options to achieve this were being reviewed eg through the Carbon Management Plan.

  iii.  It was not possible to fully decarbonise all buildings with current technology eg the Council had a gas powered crematorium.

  iv.  The Council was investing in energy efficient measures for housing.

  v.  A report was due in April 2020 looking at how 7,000 council homes could be retrofitted (to various levels) to decarbonise them. (See Housing Revenue Account under remit of Housing Scrutiny Committee).

  vi.  Officers were working with ‘Climate View’ to visualise citywide emissions to break them down into different sectors and then address.

 vii.  Community engagement and work with partners was needed to achieve net zero.

viii.  The Council bid for funding where available to undertake work, but would take action regardless. It would use its resources efficiently as work took high levels of capital investment.

  ix.  The Council planned to use passivhaus standards from 2021 and net zero from 2030. This was phrased as ‘where possible’ in the Strategy as there were constraints on sites the Council proposed to use.

 

The Strategic Director said Housing Scrutiny Committee would review passivhaus standards as it fell under their remit.

 

  x.  The Strategy recognised the Council needed to do more regarding off-setting carbon emissions.

  xi.  Depending on what vehicles were available and most practicable, the Council aimed to use electric and ultra-low emission vehicles in its fleet.

 

The Executive Councillor said:

  i.  The Strategy was work in progress and could be added to over time. A report would be brought back to committee. Consultations and workshops had been undertaken to develop the Strategy.

  ii.  Green investments were separate to off-setting actions.

 

Councillors requested a change to the recommendations. Councillor Summerbell proposed to add the following recommendations (shown in bold) to those in the Officer’s report:

 

Recommendations

The Executive Councillor is recommended to:

1. Approve the Council’s Climate Change Strategy for 2021-2026.

2. Approve the Council’s Carbon Management Plan for 2021-2026.

 

In addition:

 

Amendment 1 for item 6 to read as follows:

 

1.  Commit to ensuring that all future reports aid understanding of carbon emissions by providing: both percentages of total emissions and the absolute denominator in ktCO2; a definition of the scope of the emissions referred to; and a clear visual representation of the scope of emissions referred to.

2.  In addition to presenting data on carbon emissions that are within the Council’s direct influence, explore the feasibility of quantifying the emissions contained within Council’s policy influence and report to Scrutiny Committee in October 2021.

3.  Explore the feasibility of measuring the impact of the Council’s future activity on emissions within its direct influence and its policy influence and report to Scrutiny Committee  in October 2021.

 

Amendment 2 for item 6 to read as follows:

 

The council will prepare a list of existing for gas fired heating systems under council control and their remaining expected service life.

 

Scope: All gas consumers included in  Appendix 4 Figure 10 (page 123 of reports pack)

 

Target date: Next committee cycle

 

In addition, the committee notes the already recognised need to complete an asset management plan for all the council’s corporate building, and additionally recommends that the council ensure that plan addresses the following points:

 

For all systems with  less than 5years life remaining prepare a report on the:

 

2) Extent of insulation, heating system or other work required to ensure feasibility of low carbon heating 

3) Current gas consumption 

4) Estimated combined costs of remedial work and low carbon heating system

 

Output: Prioritised (by tCO2/£) list of urgent works required to avoid future replacement of existing heating systems with gas fired boilers at end of life

 

Target time frame: 12 months. 

 

The Committee unanimously approved these additional recommendations.

 

The Committee resolved to endorse the recommendations as amended by 5 votes to 0 with 3 abstentions.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

 

Councillor Smith asked for it to be asked for it to be noted that she had been unwell at the Strategy and Resources Committee (and had informed the chair of that but didn't want to make a fuss by broadcasting it more widely), and this had prevented her from giving as effective an answer as she would have liked at that point.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

 

Publication date: 11/10/2021

Date of decision: 25/03/2021