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Ambition 9 Protecting the environment and reducing our carbon footprint

We're committed to protecting and enhancing Nottinghamshire's environment over the next four years and, by 2030, it’s one of our top priorities to make all Council activities net carbon neutral.

In 2021 we declared a climate emergency. We pledged to combat climate change and drive greener growth at a local level, to support the UK's 2050 Net Zero national target.

Our Environmental Policy and plan sets out how we’ll enhance Nottinghamshire’s natural habitats and landscapes, while reducing the Council’s impact on the environment. We’re making good progress, and since 2014-15 we have already reduced carbon emissions from energy use across our highways and properties by 69%. But, we know we need to do more. With that in mind, we’re planning to:

  • further reduce emissions across our transport fleet, properties and highways
  • support and improve biodiversity
  • reduce waste and increase recycling
  • improve air quality
  • promote greener travel.

We are committed to working towards these goals for all our communities, but especially those where a greener environment would most benefit health and wellbeing.

The Big Notts Survey

  • Just under 1 in 4 (23%) people saw reduced pollution as one of the top positive changes that they would like to see continue after the pandemic. A slightly higher proportion of young people agreed (28%).
  • 1 in 5 (19%) people named less pollution/better air quality as one of the top factors that would make Nottinghamshire a better place to live and work. A similar number of young people agreed (20%).
  • Over 1 in 10 (15%) named climate change as one of their top concerns in the near future, with this rising to almost 1 in 5 (19%) among young people.

Over the next four years we will:

We’ll make our properties more energy efficient and use less carbon. We’ll boost the amount of renewable energy we produce, so our land and buildings become more energy efficient.

We’ll reduce energy use at our offices through our Energy Strategy [PDF], and will achieve a 5-10% energy and water reduction each year. We’ll finish converting all street lighting to energy efficient LEDs by 2026.

We’ll ‘green’ all of our vehicles by 2030, and half of them by 2025, including those used for business travel and carrying out Council services.

We’ll keep improving how we manage waste in an environmentally and financially sustainable way through our Household Waste and Recycling centres. We’ll reach our target of recycling 52% of all domestic waste by 2025 and will keep the amount of waste we divert from landfill above 95%. We’ll reduce our use of paper and overall waste right across the Council, and we’ll stop using single-use plastic.

We’ll supply training and toolkits to ensure Council Members, employees and partners carry out good environmental practices at work, like hybrid working and making buildings more energy efficient.

We’ll help local transport providers cut emissions by converting to electric vehicles, and will encourage people to choose walking, cycling and public transport to get around Nottinghamshire. We’ll also provide green, safe and convenient travel options between rural locations.

We’ll deliver our Waste Local Plan, Minerals Plan [PDF] and Air Quality Strategy [PDF]. This will reduce the harm caused by air pollution, particularly in our disadvantaged communities.  We’ll also develop and roll out a carbon reduction plan for all Council activities.

We’ll carry out more Natural Flood Management schemes across the County, support watercourse owners with their responsibilities and work with partners to reduce the risk of flooding to homes and businesses. We’ll also ensure that our work in reducing our climate impact doesn’t unintentionally cause a loss of biodiversity.

We’ll enhance and protect 46 Local Wildlife Sites, and our County’s Sites of Special Scientific Interest, working to achieve ‘favourable condition’ status across five. We’ll also work to eradicate harmful non-native species of plants.

We’ll plant a quarter of a million trees on Council land and set up five new local nature reserves to restore our green spaces. We’ll also create a Greener Highways Plan to enhance trees, green corridors and road verges. Finally, we’ll work with partners to create a new ‘national forest’ in Sherwood, benefitting wildlife and our residents.

We’ll make sure we use our purchasing power for good, positively impacting the environment and ensuring our investments, services and goods are environmentally responsible.

Success means:

  • Carbon emissions are reduced in Nottinghamshire, in line with the national average or faster
  • More of the County’s waste is recycled
  • The County Council is net carbon neutral in all its activities by 2030
  • All street lighting is converted to LEDs by 2026
  • Energy and water used by the County Council is reduced by 5-10% each year
  • Five new local nature reserves are created
  • A quarter of a million trees are planted on Council land
  • ‘Favourable condition’ status is achieved at five Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • Added environmental value is achieved from Council contracts.

In 2022-23, to achieve this, we will deliver the following actions:

We will publish our Greenhouse Gas Emissions report to set a baseline from which to reduce our carbon emissions to carbon neutral by 2030. We will also publish a Carbon Reduction Plan to set out how this will be achieved.

We will develop a staff travel plan to encourage and support staff to use active travel and public transport alternatives. The travel plan will support the new Hybrid working strategy.

We will develop a plan for Zero Food Waste to eradicate the food waste generated at Council offices.

We will develop and roll out training for all staff and Councillors about Climate Change and Carbon Literacy
to provide an understanding of climate change, the challenges we face and how individuals can make a

We will carry out habitat management works on Local Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), to produce management plans to inform future works. This will improve biodiversity and reduce the level of non-native invasive species in the County.

We will plant 170,000 trees through the Trees for Climate Change programme.

We will develop and implement a Greener Highways Plan, covering the management of trees, green corridors, and road verges so that we support the reduction in pollution, help alleviate flooding, increase biodiversity, enhancing the environment for both people and wildlife.

To find out more about what we’ve got planned for the current year, you can read our full Annual Delivery Plan 2022/23 [PDF].

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