Climate Change Strategy
The Council has identified 9 nine priorities for action to tackle climate change and under each of these, we have a number of projects or activities which will all help us to deliver our strategic objectives for climate change and the end goal to be a net zero borough.
These are cross cutting priorities which include a programme of activity across a broad range of themes including the environment, air quality and nature recovery, transport, waste and recycling, policy, behaviour change and the built environment.
Below is an overview of each of our priorities:
Priority One - Embed climate change in everything the Council does from policy to decision making
Chorley Council is committed to understanding and assessing the impacts for climate change in every decision we take and that for all of our activities, from development to waste collection and to our events, we maximise opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint.
Priority Two - Deliver the decarbonisation of Council owned assets and improve the sustainability of the Council's fleet
It is crucial that as a community leader and asset manager of a portfolio of buildings and areas of land across the borough, we are an exemplar for the greening of our buildings and the vehicles we use, ensuring our open spaces and natural habitats are managed to promote nature recovery and biodiversity.
Priority Three - Develop robust planning policies to deliver adaption and mitigation
The future of our built environment is shaped by our planning policies, from the location of future growth to the design, materials and impact assessments and more than ever, these policies will enable us to future proof development creating spaces which enhance nature and add resilience to the environment.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) sets out the process for decision making and plan-making and we must comply with this when preparing our local policies and making decisions about planning applications. Our current policies are included within the Central Lancashire Core Strategy (2012) and the Chorley Local Plan (2015). Work is well underway to produce a new Central Lancashire Local Plan for 2023-2038. This will be a single plan for Central Lancashire which will seek to ensure that all future development is:
- benefits nature and our biodiversity
- carbon neutral (or delivers equivalent in carbon off-setting)
- promotes new forms of energy for heating homes and for transport
- does not worsen our air quality
- reduces the need to travel by private car and promotes active travel, our health and wellbeing
- ensure new developments are well designed and 'future proofed'
Through the development of this plan, we will have a suite of policies which help us mitigate and to adapt to changes which are already happening and cannot be reversed, such as rising sea levels and changes in extreme weather events.
Priority Four - Provide safe spaces for walking and cycling, promote sustainable public transport and greener private and commercial vehicles.
The largest sector of fossil fuel use and carbon emission is transport. Vehicles emit gases and substances which not only have a considerable greenhouse gas effect, but also impact on human health and wellbeing. These air pollutants include nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and methane.
Sustainable transport options include private motor cars which are electric or hybrid but also includes sustainable public transport as well as more active modes such as cycling or walking. By enabling the change to alternative modes of transport including enabling and or provision of infrastructure for electric vehicle charging, buses, trains, cycling, and walking, coupled with communications to raise awareness and promote behaviour change, we can relieve traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and bring added benefits to physical health and wellbeing.
Priority Five - Work with housing providers, landlords, developers, and businesses to promote and encourage energy efficiency and decarbonisation of buildings.
The heating of private homes produces a significant amount of carbon emissions and many of our older properties are inefficient to heat which can impact on health, particularly in the colder months and cause fuel poverty. We need to find ways to bring our existing homes up to a standard of energy efficiency including delivery of a programme of switching to more sustainable methods of energy such as air source heat pumps and away from gas or oil, improving the insulation of our homes to prevent heat loss and encouraging higher sustainable standards in new homes such as BREAAM.
Priority Six - Promote low carbon incentives and enable access to government funding within the Borough for low carbon technology.
There are increasingly more opportunities for grant funding for Councils to access to deliver decarbonisation of homes, business, and transport and its vital the Council maximises these opportunities in what is a growing an emerging sector.
Priority Seven - Improve the Borough's recycling rates and work with partners, residents, businesses, schools, community groups and internally to reduce the volume of landfill waste produced in the Borough
Reducing waste is an important factor with regard to climate change and sustainability and promoting the ideals of a circular economy. The advantages of recycling and reuse compared to producing new materials and objects from natural resources can result in lower demand for virgin material, meaning fewer quarries and mines are needed to extract finite reserves of metal ores, and less energy is needed for recycling, resulting in a reduction of GHG emissions, and the amount of waste that is disposed of to landfill is minimised. Recycling is easy and has a huge impact in the fight against climate change:
- recycling 1 tonne of paper saves 19 trees from being cut down, which helps capture carbon dioxide
- aluminium can be recycled repeatedly, saving around 95% of the GHG emissions compared to extraction
- recycling in the UK saves around 18 million tonnes of CO2 a year, which is the same as almost 17 million of us switching from petrol to electric cars
The new Resources and Waste Strategy for England has set a much higher national recycling rate of 65%. Chorley Council provides a waste and recycling collection service to 53,000 households with a recycling rate of 46.6% and we know we can do better together.
Priority Eight - Influence behaviour change by sharing knowledge, best practice and promoting debate around climate change across all groups and ages.
Human behaviour is a significant contributor to climate change and we need to win the hearts and minds of our residents, businesses and visitors to encourage more sustainable ways to go about our daily lives which cumulatively will drive down carbon emissions and have the biggest impact.
Effective communication between the Council and our local residents, businesses and other organisations is essential to raise awareness and share ideas for change, which can be big or small.
We have a variety of communication channels available to us that allow us to reach different audiences with messages about climate action, which maximise the use of digital channels and social media platforms, as well as physical events such as youth debate events and business summits.
Regular communication has provided opportunities to inform residents of the Council's ongoing climate change initiatives, to gather residents' feedback (e.g. through public consultations), to get residents involved and share tips and advice regarding sustainability.
Priority Nine - Deliver investment and improvements in the natural environment including waterways, areas of open space, natural habitats to deliver an increase in the biodiversity of Chorley.
Chorley is a semi-rural Borough with a wealth of habitats, from public parks to waterways and the highest % of ancient woodland in Lancashire. For future generations to be able to enjoy the benefits of wild animals and plants, we must safeguard their habitats and the natural environment as a whole. The environment provides for our educational, recreational, mental wellbeing and cultural activities as well as material needs such as water, fuel, air, and food. Nature and biodiversity have become a major focus of attention for all sectors of our community. As trends in data show a reduction in the diversity of our species and loss of natural habitats, rising temperatures and sea levels, and carbon emission levels, a joined-up effort is required to take steps now to protect and nurture the natural environment.
Chorley Council have a track record of working with our partners such as the Environment Agency,Lancashire Wildlife Trust, the Canal and River Trust and United Utilities to deliver environmental projects which include; the creation of wildlife areas in many of our parks and open spaces, the establishment of mini meadows and wildlife corridors along our roads, the creation of a tree nursery and the planting of sapling trees, the creation of ponds for great crested newts and new wetland areas, achieving green flag status for seven of our parks and the management of nature reserves across the Borough.
The Council will continue to co-ordinate action to conserve, manage, and enhance Chorley's wildlife and habitats ensuring an increase in the quality of biodiversity.
Chorley Council works towards creating an inclusive community between the Council, partners, and the residents of the Borough.
Effects of climate change are expected to impact all of Chorley's residents in different aspects of life and it is essential that they are factored into, considered, and involved during decision making and supported where necessary. Work with the community regarding the natural environment is already taking place within the Council. Work has included: community education regarding climate change, support regarding environmental action, free community use of litter pickers and equipment and includes free collection of waste, community clean up days, environmental community grant scheme, providing grants and support to businesses which are working towards becoming more sustainable and ecological, and a school uniform swap scheme.
The residents of Chorley have shown passion and commitment to helping the mitigation of climate change effects and supporting nature and biodiversity of the borough. The Council is committed to ensuring the protection and enhancement of the borough's natural environment. This enhancement, however, is not an offsetting measure for the borough's carbon emissions.
With community support and community engagement it will further the joint goals of a healthy and sustainable environment and community. A great example of this collaborative approach to tackling climate change is the borough's tree planting programme. The Council committed to planting 116,875 trees in 2019 and the Local Community have embraced the opportunity to help grow saplings and participate in tree giveaways, a programme which is estimated to capture approximately 38,000 tonnes of CO2 over the next 100 years as well as promoting biodiversity and visual benefits to our places.