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Climate change

In 2019 North Herts Council declared a climate emergency. Here's our response: we have given away 10,000 trees to North Herts residents; changed grass verge cutting regimes to allow more plant species to grow; run food waste awareness and waste reduction programmes; continued to replace council vehicles with Ultra Low Emission Vehicles; commissioned the Herts Energy Advice Tool app to help residents increase energy efficiency at home; installed solar panels on the roof of the council offices. We will provide more electric car charging points in our car parks; explore opportunities for community solar schemes; create more wildflower areas across the district; explore opportunities for the sustainable heating of swimming pools; ensure new developments are designed to encourage walking and cycling; work towards building a better cycle network in North Herts.

Climate change emergency

On 21 May 2019, the council passed a climate emergency motion.

This declaration asserted the council’s commitment toward climate action beyond current government targets and international agreements. This is currently pursued through our Climate Change Strategy 2022-2027.

Join our Climate Hive

We aim to be net zero in our operations by 2030 and for North Herts to be net zero by 2040. We can help make this happen, but we need your help too.

That’s where our Climate Hive comes in. We want to build a hive of ideas and activities that can help us reach our climate targets. The Climate Hive is a space to share your ideas with us and each other about how we can tackle the Climate Emergency.

The Hive will also feature news and updates on what the council is doing to address climate change. You can sign up to be notified about updates.

Climate change strategy

Our Climate Change Strategy was reviewed in 2022 to align the strategy with latest research regarding the impacts of climate change, to take into account the importance of adapting to climate change and to review gaps in the action plan.

This strategy's action plan has three priorities: Taking Action, Enabling Carbon Savings and Inspiring the Community.

The key objectives outlined within our Climate Change Strategy are:

  • achieve Carbon Neutrality for the Council’s own operations by 2030
  • ensure all operations and services are resilient to the impacts of climate change
  • achieve a Net Zero Carbon district by 2040
  • become a district that is resilient to unavoidable impacts of climate change

Appendix A highlights our Action Plan and indicates which actions have been added as a result of this latest review. Appendix B highlights progress towards each of the actions from the 2021 version of the strategy.

Biodiversity Duty

In line with the strengthened biodiversity duty introduced by the Environment Act 2021, the council has undertaken an initial review of the actions it can take to conserve and enhance biodiversity. A list of policies and objectives arising from this review will be published in due course following formal agreement. The council will periodically publish a report detailing progress on the actions identified. The first report is scheduled for publication in 2026.

For more information on the biodiversity duty, see the government guidance: Complying with the biodiversity duty

For more information on Biodiversity Net Gain, see the Local Government Association resources: Biodiversity Net Gain FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Cabinet Panel on the Environment

The Cabinet Panel on the Environment is an advisory panel chaired by the Executive Member for Environment and Leisure, and Recycling and Waste alternately.

The panel meets approximately six times per year. Any person or body is welcome and able to participate at meetings.

Plastic Free North Herts

In 2018, we passed two motions with the aim of encouraging residents, businesses and council staffs to reduce, reuse and correctly recycle plastics.

The first motion passed declared the council’s support of the principle of an initiative entitled "Plastic Free Letchworth", which is committed to supporting plastic free alternatives. This pilot project has now been extended to the rest of the district.

The second motion passed declared the council’s commitment to minimising its own use of plastics and to eliminate the use of single use plastics and replace with sustainable alternatives by 2022. It also requested that all of the council's suppliers and contractors remove single use plastics from their products and packaging as soon as possible.

Monthly climate change briefing 

The Corporate Policy Team provide a monthly update of actions that support our aim to reduce our impact on the environment. The most recent of these are available below.

Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessment 

As part of the climate emergency declaration, when council policies are reviewed, specific consideration is given to how the policies and related decisions and actions affect our contribution to climate change, and where necessary, these policies are updated to reduce our impact where possible.

The inclusion of an environmental implications section within reports and delegated decision templates ensures that impacts and mitigation measures and risks are identified at an early stage. The Cumulative Environmental Impact Assessment summarises the environmental impact analysis of key council decisions in the last civic year.

Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership

North Herts Council is a Partner of Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership, a strategic group which acts as the lead partnership organisation for local authorities and the LEP to collaborate and identify joint work programmes on environmental, climate change and wider sustainability issues.

Working in partnership with other district and borough councils, the county council and the Local Enterprise Partnership, HCCSP works to coordinate action across the county across six themes:

  • Adaptation
  • Behaviour change
  • Biodiversity
  • Carbon reduction
  • Transport
  • Water

Coordinated actions include supporting and progressing aligned activity across procurement, planning, comms, licensing, parks and contract management departments.

Specific successes include county-wide coordination on Clean Air campaigns, Energy Saving App for residents, Solar Bulk procurement for residents, coordinated comms calendar, working to align a low emission taxi licensing policy, coordinated training on adaptation, climate change and idling action, working to align EV infrastructure role out, coordinated funding applications and stakeholder engagement with community and third sector groups through events and communications.  

What you can do

For more information on actions you can take to help the environment and live more sustainably, visit Sustainable Hertfordshire.

If you are interested in local activities and groups that are taking action on climate change and the environment, visit: #TeamHerts Volunteering: GoVolHerts to find out how you can get involved in different volunteering opportunities.

Stay updated

You can stay updated on our work on climate change by subscribing to our Recycling and Environment email bulletin.

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