The climate and carbon dashboard provides an overview of South Kesteven District Council’s operational carbon emissions for the 2021/22 period, alongside further information detailing carbon emissions from the wider district.
The Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change presented the report that covered the financial year (April 2021-March 2022).
Following the Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in September 2019, the Council were committed to a carbon reduction target of at least 30% by 2030. The scope of the commitment covered operational aspects of the Council’s activities around the levels of energy used in buildings and fuel used for Council vehicles.
The comparisons of figures set out in the report were produced against the baseline monitoring year of 2018-2019.
Key findings were discussed as set out within the dashboard.
In response to a question asked by a public speaker, the Cabinet Member highlighted that the energy and waste data from the closed Deepings Leisure Centre were included in the figures. It was responsible for reduction of 502 tonnes of carbon, this was equivalent to 62% of the total carbon reduction recorded across all leisure centres. Of the 25% reduction in leisure centres, 62% of the 25% was the reduction from Deepings Leisure Centre, with the majority of reduction being from fuel oil used for heating systems.
One Member questioned as to whether the three remaining leisure centres had reduced carbon emissions.
Queries in relation to electric charging points were raised:
· Whether electric charging points were being utilised throughout the District or whether the figure provided was an expected figure of use.
· The costings around utilising the Council’s electric charging points.
· Whether more electric charging points would be installed in the future.
· Whether the Council’s electric charging points were accessible on national Apps for people to establish locations of then.
The Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change informed the Committee that the expansion of electric charging points would be government-led in conjunction with local authorities and the business community. There were currently no firm plans to install any further electric charging points, however, this would be kept under review.
The Sustainability and Climate Change Officer confirmed that the Council continue to monitor the uptake of electric charging points installed in Council car parks. The cost of the Council’s electric charging points was 36p per kilowatt hour for customers and they would not be charged for parking where a vehicle is plugged in to charge. The car park that held electric charging points were visible on ‘Zap Map’, which was a principal way of electric vehicle users accessing the facilities.
One Member noted that urban authorities had implemented electric charging points free of charge for a limited amount of time.
It was queried as to whether the other leisure centres were more energy efficient. It was confirmed that only Deepings Leisure Centre used fuel oil and the other centres had mains gas and electricity. Two of the centres had combined heat and power units which generated electricity using gas and waste heat would be used to heat the facility.
One Member noted the absence of nature-based solutions for reducing carbons emissions in the report. It was suggested that the Council lead on the planting of trees.
The Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change suggested that the Council work in conjunction with the Woodland Trust on more projects. It was confirmed that the Council had put in a bid for funding with the Woodland Trust and they could provide guidance on other funding streams for the provision of tree planting. South Kesteven did not currently have a tree strategy, which meant the Woodland Trust were reluctant to work with the Council. Work was undergoing to implement a tree strategy.
Members welcomed the need for a tree strategy.
It was highlighted that the Council should consider further work around the protection of trees.
The Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change suggested a possible overlap with Planning Committee and whether the policy could be clarified around tree preservation orders and brought back to this Committee.
Members requested that the relevant Officer liaises with Planning Policy in relation to protection and planting of trees. It was clarified that if a tree isn’t in a conservation area or had a tree protection order on it, there is very little that could be done to prevent the tree being felled. It was requested that tree surveys take place when allocated sites and new developments are received to protect trees and hedges.
It was noted that the Council could be more ambitious in terms of increasing the biodiversity net gain.
The Sustainability and Climate Change Officer further clarified that when an electric vehicle was plugged in and charging, the owner would not be expected to pay for parking. They would only be expected to pay for the cost of charging the vehicle.
Members were encouraged to support the need for protecting trees in the District.
That the Committee:
1. Notes the reported carbon emissions for the 2021/22 period which cover operations from South Kesteven District Council.
2. Continue to support and develop initiatives to reduce carbon emissions from Council operations.