What have we done so far?

Our first Environment and Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan (EnvPlan) highlighted the steps put in place to help the Council reach its goal of being a ‘carbon net zero’ authority, with a list of 20 commitments.
We have already taken huge strides towards the goals outlined for 2020/2021, including the approval of both the Climate Change and Natural Environmental Supplementary Planning Documents, making the area’s environmental aims a formal consideration in future planning decisions.
As mentioned above, we have also created and set out our actions for 2021/2022. These actions can be found on our what are we going to do? page.

Previous actions from the Council

We know we can and must do more. But we should not dismiss the good work and action we have already completed and begun prior to completing the first EnvPlan, such as:

  • A District wide review of bus services to inform a detailed plan, which aims to increase the number and frequency of services, which has been submitted to the Combined Authority in its county wide bus review;
  • Development of an East Cambs Strategic Cycle/Footpath Network, identifying gaps in the current network, and seeking funding opportunities to improve the network over time;
  • Thanks to our residents, achievement of one of the highest recycling rates in the country, leading to a new target of 65%; we stand ready to make further improvements in line with the Government’s emerging Resources and Waste Strategy;
  • Through planning policy we favour sustainable development, we secure energy and sustainability measures on all developments of 5 dwellings or more and we seek BREEAM ‘very good’ build standard on non-domestic developments greater than 1000m2 ;
  • We seek to secure landscaping, tree planting and biodiversity improvements in new developments;
  • Our Tree Strategy and Conservation Area policies are helping to protect and improve the tree stock across the District;
  • We work with wildlife groups to increase habitat and biodiversity;
  • We have established wildflower habitats on some of our own open spaces;
  • Our Purge on Plastics campaign and action plan is helping to reduce the Council’s use of single use plastics and to encourage others across the district to do the same;
  • Ely Markets’ Bring your Own Campaign is helping to raise awareness and reduce the use of single use plastic by market traders and customers;
  • We are signed up to and supporting the Doubling Nature campaign and the Local Nature Partnership;
  • Our free energy advice service helps residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes;
  • Participation in the Energy Company Obligation Flexible Eligibility Scheme is helping to reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty;
  • Together with Cambridgeshire County Council, we are developing ideas to design an energy system to deliver net zero carbon emissions from energy use in East Cambridgeshire by 2050. This will require shifting transport, gas and oil use to electricity and to grow the electricity network to cater for the change;
  • We are working with Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust and Cambridgeshire County Council to secure funding for the low carbon Swaffham Prior Community Heat Scheme;
  • Kennett Community Land Trust has been designed using Garden Village principles;
  • We are building new homes at Haddenham Community Land Trust to high energy efficient standards;
  • 2 rapid electric vehicle charging points were installed at The Hive car park;
  • Grant applications to the Council are asked to explain what steps are being taken to make a project environmentally sustainable.

But we recognise the need to build on this positive work, to further embed positive environmental thinking, behaviours, and action throughout our organisation and to seek to influence partners and others to do the same.