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Principles for a New Climate Change Strategy 2021-2026 and Annual Climate Change Strategy Update Report

Meeting: 01/10/2020 - Environment and Community Scrutiny Committee (Item 28)

28 Principles for a New Climate Change Strategy 2021-2026 and Annual Climate Change Strategy Update Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB


Matter for Decision

The Council has had three climate change strategies since 2008, the most of recent of which covers the period from April 2016 to March 2021. The strategies 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 Officer’s report provided an update on progress in delivering key actions in the Climate Change Strategy during 2019/20.


It also set out a framework for a revised Climate Change Strategy covering the period from 2021-2026, ahead of public consultation in autumn 2020. It proposed a revised strategic approach that builds on what the Council has achieved to date but sets out new ambition for working with residents, businesses and communities in the context of the Climate Emergency.


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

Approved the proposed framework for the revised Climate Change Strategy for 2021-2026 for public consultation.


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.


The Committee raised the following queries in response to the report:

  i.  What is the view on our current 2050 net zero carbon target for the city?

  ii.  When would the City Council produce its own roadmaps to decarbonise the organisation, to help establish reasonable target timescales?

  iii.  What was the council doing about the issues around flood risk, rivers and chalk streams?

  iv.  Requested more detail regarding the aim of the public consultation, and to what degree that consultation would affect the overall strategy. The councillor asked whether the consultation is planned to be a public engagement exercise or may affect the detail of the strategy.


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

  i.  The aspiration was for the city to be net zero by 2050, broadly in line with UN goals. When declaring a climate emergency in 2019, the City Council called upon the government, businesses and stakeholders to take action to meet this target by an earlier date. Part of the strategy development would be to review that aspiration. they cannot currently commit to a date until returning to committee in March.

  ii.  We would be developing a new carbon management plan, relating to buildings, fleet and services, including how best to achieve a net zero carbon aim. This was part of a road map to decarbonise the city.

  iv.  The primary purpose of the public consultation and workshops would be to give residents the opportunity to comment and make suggestions on their expectations of the city council as part of the  Climate Change Strategy, but also to receive feedback on their expectations for other organisations, including Cambridgeshire County Council, GCP and the Combined Authority.  Additionally, asking for suggestions on how best to work collaboratively with residents and businesses. The Council was open to advice from experts such as Cambridge Zero, ARU and Cambridge environmental groups. Councillors could signpost people to contact through the consultation process. The intention was to be as extensive as possible by using digital channels.

  v.  The cost of retrofitting housing was being reviewed through the design guide. Details would come back to committee in the January 2021 meeting cycle. This would cover [possible] carbon reduction measures and costs [if they were not implemented, or we did not build to net zero standards now]. The Council was looking at setting high standards for its house building program.

  vi.  Officers were looking at when net zero housing policy for private homes could be adopted through the Local Plan, so the net zero standard could be applied to council and privately owned dwellings in the city.

 vii.  Central Government promised significant changes that could affect City Council policies in future.

viii.  The council was producing a greenhouse gas emissions report coving buildings it owned or paid the energy bills for. The council owned the fabric of its housing stock, but did not pay the energy bills for them, or commercial buildings, so they would not be covered by the report.


The Executive Councillor said in response to members questions:

  i.  The net zero strategy would be part of the engagement the council has with residents.  There were also options over how reductions were planned, whether a constant gradual reduction, or using carbon budgets and making larger changes sooner.

  ii.  Hoped something would come out of the Cambridgeshire Climate Commission related to the city and county that may set out how to achieve net zero.  Also as mentioned in the report, the council would be using Climate View to measure emissions from different sectors in the city, to see what projects can reduce those emissions and build up a picture of where we were and where to focus efforts.

  iii.  We do have areas of risk from flooding, though not to the same degree as other areas of the country, but we do have issues of drought and water shortage. Councillor Thornburrow established a cross party, cross boundary conference looking into water resource and particularly chalk streams. Water gathering from the aquifer has now been added to evidence gathering for the new Local Plan, to assess the extent of the problem.

  iv.  The Shared Planning Service were using the Local Plan to seek the highest possible sustainable standards from developments.


The Head of Corporate Strategy said in response to members questions:

  i.  The council would have had larger plans for public consultation had it not been for the coronavirus issue.

  ii.  The Climate Change Charter set out what stakeholders, residents and Central Government could do to mitigate climate change.

  iii.  Cambridge Zero and the City Council were working in an innovative partnership to share expertise.


The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation.


The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.


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

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.