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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 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 by March 2025
  • Favourable or Unfavourable Recovering condition status is achieved on 10 Sites of Special Scientific Interest units managed by Nottinghamshire County Council
  • Added environmental value is achieved from Council contracts.

In 2023-24, to achieve this, we will deliver the following actions:

Embed considerations for hybrid working within the delivery of our Property Rationalisation Strategy, which will bring forward recommendations for the future use of our key buildings, including County Hall.

Develop a staff travel plan to encourage and support staff to use active travel, public transport and reduce business miles. This action will support the delivery of the Hybrid Working Strategy.

Support our partner organisations in the development and implementation of their climate change targets and carbon reduction plans, so that they can reduce their own carbon footprint across Nottinghamshire in line with the Council’s reductions and we can tackle the climate emergency together.

Develop renewable energy capacity across the Council’s estate to reduce our reliance on purchased energy and grid capacity, and to further the Council’s progress towards achieving our ambitious carbon neutral target by 2030.

Publish a Joint Waste Local Plan with Nottingham City Council and submit for examination, so that up-to-date planning policies are eventually adopted to enable applications for recycling and waste facilities to be considered positively, whilst protecting the environment of Nottinghamshire and treating waste as a resource instead of simply disposing of it.

Finalise the strategic review of the recycling centre network and identify opportunities to improve recycling performance across the County.

Enhance the natural environment through the creation of new green space at the former Willey Wood farm (Trees for Climate woodland creation programme) and the completion of habitat restoration works at No Man’s Land, near Clipstone (Miner2Major). This will help to improve the biodiversity of Nottinghamshire through the creation or enhancement of priority habitats.

Progress with our tree planting programme, with the aim to plant 250,000 by March 2025. This will allow biodiversity to be enhanced, with carbon captured in areas which provide new places for people to access woodland.

Certify and enforce petroleum storage and dispensing requirements and conduct environmental searches, so that those who keep and dispense petrol and operate on historic petrol sites do not cause risk to the public or the environment.

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.

Develop a plan to minimise food wastage within our school and college catering estate so that we reduce our environmental impact and improve our cost effectiveness.

To find out more about what we’ve got planned for the current year, you can read our full Annual Delivery Plan 2023-2024 [PDF].

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