Councils across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire are planting trees, reviewing their own buildings and encouraging homes to become carbon neutral in a bid to tackle the climate emergency.
Local authorities across the city and county have revealed updates on their climate action plans, after the majority pressed forward with drastic changes to address their carbon emissions.
Their updates come ahead of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow next week, viewed as the most important meeting of global leaders in history when it comes to the issue of climate change.
Ahead of the summit seven out of nine local authorities provided updates on their plans to become net-zero or reduce emissions over the coming decade.
Gedling Borough Council and Bassetlaw District Council did not respond to the request.
Their responses are below.
Nottingham City Council
Nottingham City Council set a target of becoming the UK’s first carbon-neutral city when it declared its climate emergency in January 2020. It hopes to achieve this by 2028.
The council says it has reduced its city-wide carbon emissions by more than 44 per cent since 2005.
It has committed to planting 50,000 new trees by 2023, and has so far planted 16,700. Schemes are on offer to provide free trees to residents, to contribute to the initiative.
The authority has four working groups looking at climate action plans, and has so far seen progress in several areas.
These include making 30 per cent of its council fleet now ultra-low emissions vehicles (ULEV), owning several solar assets, supporting 1,200 homes in an energy efficiency retrofit scheme, and bringing several traffic-calming measures to the city’s roads.
This includes the new bus lane on Canal Street and the pedestrianisation of many parts of the city’s Southside.
There are separate walking and cycling infrastructures planned, while the council’s Linkbus fleet is now 100 per cent electric and a large proportion of taxis are ULEV.
Cllr Sally Longford, deputy leader of the council, will be representing the council at COP26 next week.
She said: “COP26 comes at a critical time for the planet.
“The world will come together to discuss and agree on actions to try and combat one of the most pressing crises humans have ever faced.
“We need to act together and take bold decisions for the lasting benefit of all. Nottingham is leading the way in many of the things that are needed to tackle climate change.”
The council has also invested in several other green schemes, including bringing about 80 electric parking spaces to the new Broadmarsh car park.
Nottinghamshire County Council
Nottinghamshire County Council declared a climate emergency in May 2021 as one of the first actions following May’s election.
The council has since commissioned a new greenhouse gas report to “pinpoint” where carbon emissions are greatest across buildings and services.
Once completed, the council will then put together a targeted plan to reduce its emissions.
The authority says it is also due to transfer its electricity supply to a green tariff, aimed at providing energy exclusively from renewables and avoiding fossil fuels.
It comes alongside plans to plant 250,000 trees on its own land and deliver at least 250 hectares of woodland over the next five years.
Cllr Mike Adams (Con), the council’s new climate champion, said: “We were already working towards carbon neutrality in our buildings, but the climate emergency declaration provided a clear signal of our commitment to Nottinghamshire’s environment.
“I’m going to be rolling my sleeves up to make sure we meet our promise to become carbon neutral by 2030 – it’s an opportunity we can’t miss.”
He added: “Our climate emergency declaration promised we would secure net-zero emissions in all our activities, but we want to go further and contribute to carbon neutrality across the UK.”
Ashfield District Council
Ashfield District Council committed to a “robust climate change strategy” in September 2019, and has been working with consultants to reduce its energy consumption.
A more recent strategy sets out a roadmap to reduce carbon emissions across the authority’s operations and services, the council said.
The authority planted its first community orchard in October 2019 and plans to plant more than 1,000 trees between now and 2023.
It has also invested in solar schemes on council-owned buildings, implemented “smarter working practices” in offices, and launched a working group to drive reductions across the district.
The authority says it is working to reach net-zero, or move as “closely to it as possible”, as quickly as it can.
Several bids have been put into the Government to reduce energy demands in its housing stock and assets, with £1.7 million allocated in the Green Homes Grant to target between 150 and 200 homes.
There are other plans to decarbonise social housing, with the authority setting a carbon reduction target by 2030.
It comes alongside the introduction of hybrid and electric vehicles in the authority’s fleet.
A spokesperson said: “Ashfield District Council recognises the scale and urgency of the global challenge from climate change and that local action on global warming can make a difference.
“Alongside reducing the council’s own emissions, Ashfield District Council recognises the importance of supporting the decarbonisation of the whole district.
“[This is] in line with the UK Government targets of achieving net-zero by 2050 and the international target of keeping global temperature rise well below 2C.
“This is a big challenge and Ashfield District Council intends to play its part in achieving this.”
Broxtowe Borough Council
A climate emergency was declared in Broxtowe in July 2019, with the borough council committing to becoming carbon neutral by 2027.
So far, the authority says it has planted 5,041 trees between 2019 and 2021, with a further 2,500 trees planned in this financial year. These are due to be planted next month.
However, the council says it has planted more than 112,000 trees since 2009/10, when it introduced its first carbon management plan, which it says equates to one tree per resident in the borough.
The authority’s climate change document states it will be reducing emissions in its own buildings, assets and other services, whilst also encouraging and assisting households, businesses and schools to “strive towards the same goal”.
A new environment and climate change committee was set up following the climate emergency declaration, alongside an officer-led climate change working group.
A council spokesperson said: “The green agenda at Broxtowe has never been a higher priority as we strive to become carbon neutral for our own operations by 2027.
“The council’s vision for Broxtowe is ‘a greener, safer, healthier Broxtowe where everyone prospers’.
“This includes actions such as reducing our own carbon emissions, investing in our parks and open spaces and increasing recycling and composting.”
Mansfield District Council
Mansfield District Council said this month it is beginning to draft its carbon reduction action plan, aimed at making Mansfield ‘cleaner and greener’.
The authority declared a climate emergency in 2019 but the plan has been delayed by the pandemic.
However, the council says it has built council homes to a “higher energy efficiency” during this period, alongside taking other actions to “promote a greener way of life”.
Now the council plans to mirror Ashfield and focus on social housing decarbonisation, to use Green Homes Grants from Government, to support residents in private properties with insulation, and to introduce ‘pocket parks’ within the town centre.
Other planned projects include buying four new electric vans, installing electric vehicle charging points, and identifying three sites for woodland planting across the district.
This comes alongside rechargeable and green equipment for teams maintaining the crematorium and increasing the number of allotment plots.
Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams said: “It’s our ambition to make Mansfield cleaner, greener and healthier.
“It isn’t just talk – we are determined to turn words into action to do our bit to reduce Mansfield’s carbon footprint and improve our environment to help make our residents’ lives healthier.”
Newark and Sherwood District Council
Newark and Sherwood District Council estimates it has planted more than 10,500 trees since July 2019, when its climate emergency was declared.
A further target of 10,000 trees by 2023 was set during last year’s planting season, with 5,997 already planted.
The authority plans to be carbon neutral by 2035 and wants to reduce emissions by 2,165 tCO2e, which is the equivalent of a diesel car driving 12.99 million miles.
Electric charging points are also being installed across the district, while more cycling is going to be encouraged district-wide.
The authority also plans to reduce the carbon footprint of its leisure centres and other council buildings.
In total, the council has spent £33,800 on its climate emergency strategy, with a further £30,000 allocated to work on its buildings’ carbon footprint.
The authority also invested £64,000 to replace two petrol vehicles with electric vans, used by community protection officers.
A council spokesperson said: “By declaring a climate emergency in July 2019, Newark and Sherwood District Council formally recognised the urgency and significance of our environmental ambitions for the Council as an organisation, but also for the wider district.
“After announcing the climate emergency, the council worked with the Carbon Trust for a year to define its carbon footprint.
“From planting trees to improving the infrastructure to support electric vehicles and carbon-neutral forms of transport, the district Council is implementing a number of exciting new initiatives to meet their target of being carbon neutral by 2035.”
Rushcliffe Borough Council
Rushcliffe Borough Council has set up ‘Carbon Clever’ projects alongside its climate change strategy to “thoroughly review” its buildings and assets, its fleet of vehicles and its own policies.
This, the authority says, has helped to save “thousands of tonnes of carbon” ahead of its 2030 carbon-neutral target date.
The authority set the target when declaring a climate emergency in 2019.
The council says it has invested more than £500,000 since before that date, including on a free tree scheme which has led to more than 8,000 trees being planted since 2018. A further 800 are due to be distributed to residents in early 2022, the authority says.
In total, 67 actions in its wider carbon management plan have seen 10 electric vehicle charging sites introduced, more than £100,000 spent on LED lighting, the distribution of more than 90kg of wildflower seeds, and the creation of a £1 million climate action reserve.
It comes alongside the new Bingham Arena and Enterprise Centre, opening next year, which will use £367,000 worth of carbon reduction technology.
Rushcliffe Oaks Crematorium will also use a greener, electric-powered cremator, lowering CO2 emissions by up to 90 per cent.
Cllr Rob Inglis, portfolio holder for environment and safety, said: “The environment is a cornerstone among our four key corporate priorities and we have made significant strides since declaring our action around a climate emergency in 2019, setting a carbon neutral target to be achieved across our operations and sites by 2030.”