Climate change has triggered dramatic changes to our world, from increased frequency of severe heatwaves and rising sea levels, to downpours and flash floods. We all have a very important part to play in helping to combat the climate emergency, both globally and locally, and we need your help.

In January, the council took a key step forward in the fight against climate change by officially adopting a Climate Emergency Initial Action Plan, which set out a carbon reduction target of 10% year-on-year until 2025 for the Chichester District. We have developed this plan and are now asking for your views on the actions we have included.

The first part of the plan outlines the steps we are taking as a council to cut emissions within the work that we do. However, this addresses just a small part of the district's emissions as a whole, and so we have included a crucial second section that sets out ways in which we can bring people and organisations together to help them reduce emissions in their homes, their workplaces, and in other aspects of their lives.

For more information and background, we have developed a range of Frequently Asked Questions, which you can find on this page.
 

Have your say

To have your say, please take part in our  survey  before midnight on 6 November 2020. Your voice matters and the feedback you give us will help us to shape the next stage of the plan.

 

View the Climate Emergency Detailed Action Plan

You can find the full draft Climate Emergency Detailed Action Plan here, along with a seperate document containing further technical information.


Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is climate change?

A. The Earth's average temperature is about 15 degrees Celsius, and while there are natural fluctuations in the climate, scientific evidence shows that temperatures are now rising faster than at many other times. This is linked to greenhouse gases being emitted into the atmosphere, trapping more energy and increasing the temperature. This BBC video  is a very helpful explanation.

 

Q. What is a greenhouse gas and what do you mean by carbon reduction?

A. A greenhouse gas traps heat, preventing it from leaving the Earth's atmosphere and passing into space. This has led to global warming, which in turn causes other aspects of the climate to change.

Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas, but there are others. Although these are emitted in much smaller quantities, they are more powerful than carbon dioxide so we must still account for them.

To stop climate change getting worse, we need to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that we put into the atmosphere. So, organisations and governments set greenhouse gas reduction targets and estimate the amount of greenhouse gases produced by an activity. This is sometimes called a 'footprint'.

As carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas, sometimes the word 'carbon' is used instead of greenhouse gas e.g. 'carbon reduction target' and 'carbon footprint'. However, the numerical data in the Climate Emergency Action Plan sets out a deliberate distinction between carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gas emissions. Sometimes the figures given just cover carbon dioxide or CO2; sometimes they cover carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, in which case you will see a little 'e' at the end, for example: CO2e.


Q: What is a Climate Emergency Detailed Action Plan?

A.
This plan is about climate change mitigation, which means reducing climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. It outlines out how the council will reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions and sets out ways in which we can involve individuals and organisations of every kind to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the district.

The plan does not cover climate change adaptation, which is about learning to live with the effects of climate change, for example adapting homes to cope with flooding. For more information about climate change adaption, see the National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy for England on the Government's website.

 

Q. Why has the council produced this plan?

We know that climate change is something our residents, workers and visitors are very passionate about, and we are too.

In our role as a district council, we are committed to taking whatever steps we reasonably can to address climate change within the work that we do, and to help others — from individuals to large organisations — to do their bit too.

 

Q. What is the council already doing to help combat climate change?

A. Carbon reduction is already a key focus in many areas of the council's work.

The council offices have solar panels on the roof, which generate electricity and hot water using energy from the sun. This helps to cut down on the use of electricity made by burning gas, oil and coal (fossil fuels) in power stations. Pay-and-display parking machines also have their own solar electric panels.

As more and more of the electricity we use comes from renewable sources, using electricity instead of fossil fuels helps to cut greenhouse gas emissions. That is why any new car or van that we buy in future will be an electric vehicle, unless there is a strong reason not to. Our Parking team already have two electric vehicles and the council has installed 18 electric vehicle charging points in its car parks across the district.

Another way to cut emissions is by switching from fossil fuels to biomass, which is fuel made from plant material such as wood and straw. The Novium Museum has a biomass boiler, for example.

The council's Air Quality Action Plan also aims to reduce carbon emissions through the development of a new Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan for Chichester City and the surrounding area.

Please see the next FAQ for more detail about our plans.
 

Q. What's in the plan?

A.There are two parts to the plan. The first focuses on what the council is doing to reduce emissions in delivering council services, and the second outlines what the council proposes to do to help others (individuals and organisations) in the district to reduce their emissions.

The council is:

  • improving the energy efficiency of council buildings and vehicles
  • investigating installing electricity-generating solar panels on more council buildings, and
  • factoring climate change into all decisions, including what equipment is purchased and how services are delivered.
     

The council wants to work with individuals and other organisations to:

  • promote lifestyle changes, such as energy reduction and the use of renewable energy sources
  • identify opportunities for increased tree planting
  • work to reduce food waste, and
  • promote sustainable transport.


You can read the full Climate Emergency Detailed Action Plan on this page, and we are keen to hear your views on these proposals as part of our consultation.


Q. How will you involve local communities and organisations to help them reduce their carbon footprint?

A.Reducing emissions in the district will rest on decisions taken by individuals and organisations on what happens in their homes, workplaces, and many other areas of their lives.

The plan sets out three ways in which we plan to engage and involve individuals and organisations at the earliest stage:

1. A Citizens' Jury, which will be set up to make recommendations to the council (please find further information about this in the next FAQ).
2. Use of working groups made up of different organisations, to facilitate the development of greenhouse gas mitigation projects.
3. A public behaviour change campaign with opportunities for people to feed back to us so that we can gather people's views and suggestions, and respond to these.

We are keen to hear your views on this as part of the consultation.


Q. How long does the plan last?

A.The plan contains two targets for 2025. The short timescale means that actions cannot be put off. However, the plan needs to look beyond 2025 and how the district will contribute to meeting the government's national target of the UK being net zero by 2050.

Net zero means that any emissions of greenhouse gases are balanced by schemes to remove an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, such as planting trees or using technology like carbon capture and storage, which locks carbon dioxide away so it does not reach the atmosphere. You can read about the government's net zero target on the Office for National Statistics website.

 

Q. Is there a glossary of terms used in the Climate Emergency Detailed Action Plan?

A.Yes, you can view some commonly used terms in our glossary.

 

Please find further FAQs below explaining some of the concepts and suggestions discussed in the Climate Emergency Detailed Action Plan.

 

Q. What is a Citizens' Jury?

A. A Citizen's Jury is a group of people (usually around a dozen), made up of members of the public with a broad range of experiences and backgrounds and who closely reflect the demographics of the district.

The group will come together over two to three days to learn about climate change from experts. They will then make recommendations to the council which will help inform decision-making. Jurors do not volunteer to participate because of an interest in climate change — instead they are asked to participate because they represent particular sections of the community by virtue of their own characteristics.
 

Q. Why is tree-planting important?

A. Plants take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere when they grow. Many plants die back over winter. As the plants rot, the carbon dioxide that they have taken in is released back into the atmosphere. However, some plants, such as trees, hedges and wetlands, do not die back completely, so a lot of the carbon dioxide they have taken in remains locked away. Trees, hedges and wetlands in our district take in surprising amounts of carbon dioxide, but we still need more of these long-term stores. Although trees are usually the focus, we shouldn't neglect other natural stores of carbon dioxide.
 

Q. Why is food waste important?

A. Cutting food waste helps to save money. The average family of four can save just over £60 a month by reducing food waste. Cutting food waste is also a big step in the battle against climate change.

Greenhouse gas emissions are released at every stage of food production, from farm to fork, so cutting food waste means less of these emissions are released unnecessarily. Greenhouse gas emissions are also created as a result of food waste. Food rotting can lead to carbon dioxide being produced, but if the rotting food is underground — where there is little oxygen — a more powerful greenhouse gas is produced called methane. This is what happens when food ends up in landfill.

However, methane can be useful too. It can be burnt to provide energy and can substitute for fossil fuels. If food waste is separated from the rest of the rubbish, it can be allowed to rot in a container with very little oxygen in it. This is known as anaerobic digestion. The methane supply that is produced is usually contaminated with traces of other gases such as carbon dioxide, but it can be cleaned to produce bio-methane. The word 'bio' is added to show the methane comes from dead plants and animals and is not a fossil fuel.

We are tackling food waste in action 13 of the draft Climate Emergency Detailed Action Plan and we are also investigating opportunities for diverting food waste to anaerobic digestion in action 14.
 

Q. What is a 'Cycle to Work' scheme?

A. Employers buy bikes or e-bikes through Government-supported Cycle to Work schemes. They pay less for the equipment through a route approved by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs that reduces National Insurance contributions for the employee. Some Cycle to Work schemes include finance packages that allow the cost of the purchase to be spread. Employees also pay less for the cycle or e-bike and safety gear. This is because repayments are taken from their pay before their tax payment is calculated. The cost of repayments is also spread out. Sustrans is a charity that promotes walking and cycling and it has a really clear explanation of how the scheme operates on the Sustrans website.


A tool called SCATTER has been used in the Climate Emergency Detailed Action Plan to give an idea of the scale of the task ahead of us. Further information about this can be found in the following FAQs.


Q. What is SCATTER and how does it work?

A.SCATTER is a modelling tool for local authorities. It estimates the greenhouse gas emissions for individual local authorities and then models the effect of different measures to reduce those emissions.

Local authorities can select from a pre-set list of numbered measures. While it is designed to help local authorities map a pathway to net zero by 2050, you can use the data to see how to reach other targets, such as the one for the Chichester District.

In general, the higher the number assigned to a measure in the pre-set list, the more ambitious it is. These numbers are shown in the plan. This is with the exception of the heating and cooling interventions for 'Domestic Buildings' and 'Commercial & Institutional Buildings'. Here 13 different technology mix scenarios are given for space heating and hot water. They are not listed in order of lowest to highest reduction impact on emissions. In trying to create a picture of what interventions would enable the district to meet its 2025 target, the chosen technology mix includes those that are commercially available today and favoured by the Government in its Future Homes Standard consultation. However, this choice can be changed and has been made just to give people an idea of what needs to be done and at what scale.

SCATTER saves individual local authorities months of highly technical work and enables them to quickly see the challenges they face. However, it does not fully capture local circumstances, so the output given in the Supporting Technical Information section of the Climate Emergency Detailed Action Plan must not be seen as specific steps that we need to take as a district, but as an outline. We need to do more work to tailor the interventions to our local circumstances. For example, the Citizens' Jury, the working groups and the dialogue established through the public behaviour campaign will show what actions are favoured by people and organisations in the district and may not match the choices made in SCATTER. This underlines its role in the action plan: to provide a sense of the scale of action required rather than detailed steps.
 

Q. The SCATTER action for heating and hot water demand in new homes refers to the Association of Environment Conscious Building standard and the passivhaus standard. What do they mean?

A.These two standards promote high levels of energy efficiency in homes. The AECB standard is significantly more stringent than the current 2013 Building Regulations for new homes and passivhaus is even more stringent. The standards are described on the  AECB website and the passivhaus website.
 

Q. The SCATTER action for heating and hot water in existing homes refers to medium-level retrofit and deep retrofit. What is medium and what is deep?

A. 'Medium' refers to adding deep inner wall insulation and 'deep' refers to adding deep outer wall insulation.

 

The following FAQs relate to next steps and further information.


Q. What happens next?

A. Once the consultation finishes, we will analyse all of the results and read all of the comments we have received. We will then use this information to inform any updates needed to the climate emergency action plan. This will then be considered by the council's Environment Panel on 17 November this year.

 

Q. Where can I find more information?

A. For an overview of climate change and the Chichester District, please see our Climate Change pages.

For more information on waste and recycling in the district, see our Waste and Recycling pages.

Some glossary terms are based on descriptions from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard and Scope 2 guidance, which can be viewed on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol website.  


Q. I want to take part in the survey but would like a paper copy. How do I get one?

A. People can request a paper copy of the questionnaire by emailing letstalk@chichester.gov.uk