Issue - meetings

Guildford Climate Change Action Plan

Meeting: 23/02/2023 - Executive (Item 92)

92 Guildford Climate Change Action Plan pdf icon PDF 90 KB

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1.     To note, as set out in paragraph 6.2 of the report, that the indicative forecast of the cost to achieving net zero across Guildford Borough Council for Scope 1 and 2 emissions (as calculated by consultants APSE Energy in July 2022) is £58.6 million and the total annual savings achieved by 2030 would be the equivalent of £962,900 per year.

2.     To ask officers to explore how these costs can be met in the short (0-2.5 Years), medium (2.5–5 Years) and long term (5–7 years) and to bring forward further proposals in this respect as part of GBC Annual Budget processes (for example through direct funding, match funding, invest-to-save proposals or borrowing).

3.     To adopt the Climate Change Action Plan attached as Appendix 1 as the Council’s high level strategic plan for responding to the climate emergency.

4.     To note that the delivery of the actions within the plan will be contingent on identifying and securing the requisite funding and resources and on the development of further detailed plans and feasibility studies; and

5.     To request annual updates on the plan in terms of progress and any recommended changes to the structure or content of the plan brought forward by officers or the Climate Change Board. 


The action plan enabled the Council to progress the climate change programme in accordance with Council strategic priorities and the declared climate emergency of 2019.

Other options considered and rejected by the Executive:

Option 1. Take no action – GBC does not adopt a climate change action plan.

Details of any conflict of interest declared by the Leader or lead councillors and any dispensation granted:




An updated preface to the Action Plan and comments arising from the Joint Executive Advisory Board meeting held on 13 February 2023 were set out in the Supplementary Information Sheet. The lead councillor confirmed the report had been updated in response to those comments. The draft Action Plan had been considered by the Council’s Climate Change Board on many occasions. The Climate Change Board was an Executive working group that included external specialist advisers as well as other councillors.

On 23 July 2019, at a meeting of Full Council, Guildford Borough Council formally declared a Climate Emergency that required urgent action. Amongst a number of commitments made by the Council to tackle climate change was to develop a clear action plan and timescale for being net-zero carbon across all Council operations.

The Lead Councillor for Climate Change and Organisational Development  introduced the report that proposed a programme of actions to enable the Council to achieve net zero by 2030 in accordance with the Climate Emergency Declaration. The draft Action Plan included the development of programmes to encourage and facilitate a reduction of borough-wide carbon emissions, aiming to achieve net-zero by 2050, in accordance with the Climate Change Act 2019. The draft Action Plan included actions to develop programmes in response to current environmental changes caused by climate change and improve environmental resilience across the borough.

The draft Action Plan was the result of four years of work resulting in a blueprint setting out the scale of the challenge, clear definitions of terminology, and it extended the remit to embrace biodiversity and air quality which were not included in the original declaration. Whilst awaiting the Action Plan, the Council had continued to act simultaneously to reduce its carbon emissions across all portfolios.

The draft Action Plan covered all operational areas of the Council and was described as a ‘living document’ that would be broken down into SMART[1] targets to be implemented in consideration of the financial capacity of the Council and external funding opportunities. The Action Plan would be reviewed frequently to ensure it remained up to date and relevant.

The Executive was asked to pause and consider the scale of the climate change crisis alongside the disruption, harm and cost that was being incurred that would only worsen if action were not taken. Although the crisis was global, the impacts were being felt locally with increased incidents of flooding and severe heatwaves. The draft Action Plan was ambitious which was necessary and would include hard choices to reach the Council’s declared goals.  Going forward, as technology improved and funding opportunities came on stream, more of the most challenging objectives could be achieved. The Executive heard that those with the authority to make change should do so in the interest of future generations.

It was estimated that the Council itself through its operations was responsible for just 1% of emissions across the borough. The necessity for extensive partnership working was set out in the draft Action Plan. Leadership and engagement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92

Meeting: 13/02/2023 - Joint Executive Advisory Board (Item 71)

71 Guildford Climate Change Action Plan pdf icon PDF 124 KB

Additional documents:


The Joint Executive Advisory Board (JEAB) considered the Borough’s Climate Change Action Plan, which sought to respond to the Council’s Declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019, together with a covering report introduced by the Lead Councillor for Climate Change and Organisational Development.  The Executive Head of Organisational Development made some further introductory comments before the Action Plan was presented by the Climate Change Officer to inform the JEAB’s deliberations.


The covering report explained that, at a meeting held on 23 July 2019, the Council:


·             Formally declared a Climate Emergency that required urgent action.

·             Called upon the Government to provide the powers, resources and funding support to enable local, in addition to national, action against climate change.

·             Committed to working with partners across the Borough to evaluate and determine how and when the Council could become carbon neutral, with a target goal of 2030 for reaching net zero emissions.

·             Undertook to working towards rendering the Council’s activities net zero carbon by 2030.

·             Committed to introducing the necessary governance structures, investment plans and officer resources in order for the Council to build a strong foundation to deliver progressively ambitious carbon reductions across its operations.

·             Agreed to establishing a Borough-wide Climate Change Partnership consisting of representatives from all stakeholders across all sectors.

·             Committed to developing, within 12 months, a clear Action Plan and timescale for becoming net zero carbon across the Council’s operations by 2030, commencing with a review of what had already been achieved and plans already instigated.

·             Undertook to providing a joint member-officer training programme to enable a shared understanding of how to deliver the above commitments, commencing in September 2019.


The presentation covered the following points:


o      Global climate change and its local implications.

o      The legislative background relating to climate change.

o      Carbon emissions categorised into Scope 1 (direct emissions), Scope 2 (indirect emissions) and Scope 3 (other indirect non-Council emissions).

o      Gross emissions data relating to each Scope.

o      The amount of emissions per Scope.

o      The percentage by source of greenhouse gas emissions across the Borough in kilotonnes of carbon dioxide as at 2019.

o      The Council’s role in tackling climate change.

o      Action Plan example and prioritisation.


The following points arose from the ensuing discussion, comments and questions for forwarding to the Executive:


1.           A non-JEAB councillor expressed the view that, although the Action Plan represented an excellent review of the Council’s current position with regard to climate change, it was overly lengthy and resembled a ‘wish list’ of projects and undertakings that would be beneficial to achieve without any particular prioritisation of importance or delivery.  However, the Lead Councillor was of the view that the Appendix to the Action Plan outlining the actions, which extended to 32 pages, was not excessively lengthy and shortening it would result in excluding some important detail.  The structure of the Action Plan document had been modelled on other similar well received climate change action plan documents.

2.           Further to the reference to strategic priorities within the Action Plan,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71