Climate Change Board - Thursday, 10th December, 2020 10.30 am

Proposed venue: Microsoft Teams

No. Item




The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.




There were no apologies for absence.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 274 KB


It was noted that Alex Swainson (Energy Manager) had left the Council.


The standing items for the agenda were close to being agreed.


A glossary of terms had been drawn up and attached to the Board’s Terms of Reference and would be circulated. It was noted that the Glossary would explain the concept of ‘net zero’ but would not, at this stage, explain how the Council was applying the definition of net zero in relation to the Climate Emergency Declaration. This conversation would continue.


Prior to Alex Swainson leaving the Council, it had not been possible in the timescale to commence with any strategic work with local business. However, the Climate Change Officer had been working with the Local Economy Manager to structure some questions to be included in a survey of local businesses across the Borough. The questions would inform on what barriers local business was experiencing in making adaptations and taking mitigating actions as well as gauging the level of support there was within the business community to become a part of a green economy network. The Surrey Chambers of Commerce and local business networks locally were also being approached.


The Local Economy Manager had been a part of an event organised by Business South (the ‘Future of Sustainable Growth’) which had featured some valuable and informative guidance.


Contact had been made Cambridge Cleantech that was a network of green Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).


The Local Economy Manager would provide the Board with a strategic overview within the coming two or three weeks. This overview would be closely linked to the Council’s existing proposals for economic recovery and be informed by the responses coming from the business questionnaire. There was potential for a press release communication to set out how the Council was engaging with local business on this matter.


It was noted the Leader of the Council and the Managing Director had been convening a series of meetings with local businesses and key employers that included discussions about sustainability.


The Chairman would be taking forward the idea of an in-house video made by councillors for councillors and staff.


The minutes of the meeting held on 15 October 2020 were agreed.


A copy of the Glossary is at Appendix 1 of these minutes.



Climate Change Board Climate Change Motion Report (Progress update)


A petition from a member of the public requesting the Council convene a Climate Change Assembly had been received by the Council earlier in the year and consideration of this had been delayed by the pandemic.  On 6 October this year the Council  considered the petition and at the same time agreed to take urgent action to minimise the impact of climate change. In summary, by the implementation of policies concerning the Council’s own activities including its assets and buildings. Also, to assess the carbon footprint of planning applications and utilising its role as Planning Authority to embed planning and policy requirements on all new buildings throughout the Borough. Council required the Climate Change Board to report back on progress in three months. In compliance, a draft report was being drawn up and would be circulated to the Board prior to submission to Council on 10 February 2021.


Although the Board had been required to gather the information, it was noted that the Board had an advisory role and was not a decision making body in itself, neither did it have its own budget. Decision making authority lay with the Council, the Executive, lead councillors and senior officers represented on the Board via the Council’s Scheme of Delegation. Therefore, the report submitted to Council would be that of the lead councillor and the lead officer (Cllr Jan Harwood and Marieke van der Reijden)


The Board also heard that the Council had been meeting with Surrey County Council resulting in more positive conversations and partnerships across Surrey were developing.


The full wording of the motion and resolution can be found at Appendix 2 of these minutes.



Energy Project Update


The Board received a presentation from the Climate Change Officer setting out the April 2019-March 2020 Green House Gas Emissions: high level findings.


The presentation was based upon the findings of APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) which had been commissioned to calculate the emissions produced by the Council itself over the previous 12 months. This was an initial overview and the in-depth report would be to follow, probably early in the New Year. It was hoped that in future such calculations would be produced in-house to provide information more quickly and to be more responsive.


Gross emissions were separated into Scope 1, direct emissions (heating and biomass, fuel and vehicles) amounting to 60%; Scope 2, imported energy (purchased gas and electricity) amounting to 31%; and Scope 3, indirect emissions (transmission of fuels, transport of those travelling to the council etc.) amounting to 9%. Overall, the gross emissions amounted to 8613 tCo2e. Procurement was not included at this stage as it was currently very difficult to capture. The largest emissions from one single source for the Council was the Spectrum Leisure Centre.


Some emissions were offset by the Council’s solar panels and the hydro-electric generating facility on the River Wey reducing overall gross emissions to 8586 tCO2e. It was noted that the hydro generator had been affected by the break in the weir upstream illustrating the need to have multiple energy provision options. However, it was noted that it was better to reduce emissions overall rather than to offset.


The trend had been of steady decline of the Council’s emissions since 2008 which was the baseline year. Compared to the baseline year emissions were down 45%. However, the net emissions actually increased by 2% from the previous year.


The reason for this increase was an increase in both gas and electricity consumption. The gas consumption had increased by 7% and electricity consumption had increased by 10%. The increase in gas consumption appeared to be due to the year being colder overall and with this difference removed it was suggested the consumption would have been very similar. With regards to electricity, the impacts of this increase were not fully felt due to a reduction in the carbon intensity of grid electricity, meaning that the associated emissions increase was lower than the consumption increase. The reasons for this increase in electricity and further analysis of the causes of the emissions would be a key area of focus for the future and more detail would come from the final report.


An additional forthcoming report would have site specific analysis and interventions, information on trends and detailing further the footprint of the Council and a mapping exercise on achieving net zero by 2030. The Council would not await the report before progressing or starting projects considered to be contributing to reducing emissions. The report would be a baseline upon which the Council would begin to measure and record progress. Once received, the findings of the report would be presented to the Board along with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Infrastructure Project Update


The Board received a presentation from the Senior Planning Policy Officer setting out the Renewable Energy Sites Study.


The climate emergency had been declared by the Council after the adoption of the Local Plan, although it was set out in the Local Plan that site for renewable energy developments would be sought.  The Local Plan was an examined plan and such development would also be subject to examination.


An APSE study had been commissioned to consider standalone renewable energy developments. It was explained that the study was not complete and that the presentation was an update on progress.


The issue and options consultation of part two of the Local Plan (Development Management issues) had just been completed. This was an opportunity to consider standalone renewable energy developments. The preferred option was to allocate one or more sites for renewable and low carbon development in appropriate locations.


The commissioned study sought to establish if there were a viable or a number of viable sites in the borough. Should a private property site be found to establish a site this would count toward a lower carbon borough. If Council land was to be considered as a site it would support its net zero objective (carbon saving) and to provide an income.


The APSE study was currently underway to identify and consider feasibility for sites within the borough. Grid constraints, costs and viability were considerations. The planning aspects would be covered by the Council process. The Chairman set out the challenges that might be faced in terms of planning for the establishment of such sites. Discussions were also in place with local authority and key partners.


The final report was expected before the end of the year and the Board would be informed.


The presentation slides are at Appendix 4 of these minutes.



Business and Communities Project Update


The Climate Change Officer and the Communications Officer were working together on an overall communications strategy for the council with climate change as a work stream. The Strategy would be ready to share at the next meeting of the Board. It was reported that recent training with parish council colleagues had been well received and further engagement would be welcome.


It was noted that the Guildford Environment Forum consultation had set up conversations with parish councils that had been delayed by the pandemic. It was planned these would resume and the Board noted the value of the partnership message.



Date of Next Meeting


The next meeting would be held via Teams on Thursday 11 February at 10.30am.


Any Other Business


The Green Jump Surrey, green homes grant was mentioned remind those present to make aware Guildford residents. This should be shared with all councillors (Appendix 5)


Scope 3 emissions. The Council should record as best as is possible what is being reported under this category so as to enable a consistent and comparative understanding of the emissions.


It was important that those who had attended the APSE carbon literacy training submit feedback to ensure the Council get the carbon literacy ward.


In between meetings of the Board there would be a short talk in January about solar energy – all borough councillors and parish councillors would be invited.


Appendices pdf icon PDF 316 KB

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