Appendix 8 – The Council’s progress in becoming carbon neutral


Between 2008-9 and 2021-22 the Council cut its scope 1 and 2 emissions by over 66% (see figure 1). This is due to a combination of factors, including national decarbonisation of the electricity grid - as coal has largely been replaced by gas and renewables - by investment in a number of measures that have reduced emissions, and by a reduction in the size of the corporate estate (eg. through the conversion of some schools to Academy status).    

Figure 1. The Council’s carbon reduction between 2008-9 and 2021-22.


The following are some of the measures that the Council has delivered:


1. Installed a number of energy efficiency measures in ESCC buildings and street lighting using part of the additional £9.9m budget agreed by Cabinet and using the £1.025m Salix invest-to-save fund and County Council maintenance budgets. The Salix fund, for example, has been used with nearly 300 projects worth £3.8m, generating annual savings of over £850,000.


2. Installed 1.4MW of renewable energy generation on buildings, with 26 on schools and 12 non-school sites which, in addition to reducing energy bills, generated a total income from the Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed In-Tariff of about £8,000 in 2021-22.


3. Changed the way we work. For example, our post Covid agile working programme enables staff to work flexibly from a range of sites, including home, and so enables a reduced number, and more efficient use of, buildings and enables a reduction in travel through staff and Members being able to be connected whilst working remotely.


4. Made our connectivity more energy efficient, for instance through moving to the Surrey Data Centre.


5. Encouraged behaviour change, for example by providing the ICT equipment, tools and support to enable Members and staff to work digitally and providing discounted bus travel and season-ticket loans to encourage the use of public transport.

6. Changed our approach to procurement to enable more goods and services to be delivered by local businesses, which reduces the transport impact of our supply chain.


7. Purchased electricity for buildings and street lighting that is supplied from renewable sources, independently certified through the Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin scheme (REGOs). This started from 1 April 2020 and will continue, subject to availability and price. This applies to corporate sites and has been offered to schools.The purchase of green electricity is not counted towards the Council’s carbon reduction target as this is not considered to be good practice as it does not directly increase the investment in renewable energy generation.


The Council has also delivered a number of programmes and projects that have reduced carbon emissions across the county, often in partnership with others. These include:


The corporate climate emergency plan for 2020-22 set out a 5 year carbon budget for scope 1 and 2 emissions covering the period 2020-25. Table 1 provides a summary of progress to date in cutting carbon emissions within this first 5 year carbon budget and figure 2 provides a summary of progress to date against the overall science-based target to get to net zero.


Table 1. Scope 1 and 2 target and actual emissions (2019-20 to 2024-25)



Target footprint (CO2e)

Actual emissions (CO2e)

Actual reduction (%)

Cumulative reduction (%)


Baseline year



































Figure 2. Five year carbon budgets, and actual scope 1 & 2 emissions to date (2020-50). 

Appendix 9 – Progress against the Action Plan for 2020-22



Description of action

Status (red/amber/green)

Framework (governance, leadership, communications, data, policy & partnership working):

Set up robust governance

Establish a senior Officer board to oversee delivery of this plan.


Develop a communications plan

Set out clear messages and comms routes, Member and staff engagement,  & integrate public engagement via the Environment Strategy

An initial comms plan was completed in 2021, which included carbon literacy training. An updated comms plan will be included with the new climate emergency plan for 2023-25.

Improve greenhouse gas baseline data

1) Update ESCC’s GHG data management plan and improve transparency by explaining the methods, data, processes, assumptions, estimates, changes and quality checks used.

2) Obtain more accurate GHG data for staff commuting, priority suppliers and renewables already installed at schools.

1) Completed

2a) A staff survey in autumn 2022 will provide data on staff commuting.

2b) Data have been obtained from our highways and waste contractors. Data will be required from key suppliers during reprocurement.

2c) An estimate of renewables installed at schools has been completed.

Review ESCC’s policies, strategies, programmes, projects and practice to align with the climate emergency

Policy should provide clear and stable direction and a simple set of rules that supports corporate climate change mitigation and adaptation

Options to take climate change into account in decision-making will be considered during 2022-23, learning from others.

Work in partnership with other organisations to share resources & good practice

1) Continue to work with all Sussex local authorities on developing organisational and area-wide carbon plans.

2) Work with SE7 partners on the same.

1) An East Sussex wide climate emergency road map has been produced with partners.

2) Good practice is shared with a number of organisations and partnerships (eg. the LGA, ADEPT,  East Sussex District and Borough Councils).

Produce an annual progress report

Report to County Council on progress and identify additional resources that may be required


Emissions from buildings:



Behaviour change programme – corporate


Develop an engagement plan to create an energy-aware culture amongst staff and Members & develop a network of climate emergency champions to accelerate change

A communications plan was developed in 2021, which has included delivering a number of carbon literacy training sessions, and an updated plan will be included in the Council’s climate emergency plan for 2023-25

Behaviour change programme - schools

Update & disseminate the energy saving guide for schools.



Planned Maintenance & Capital programmes

1) Establish a robust process for identifying, prioritising and delivering projects.

2) Prepare an annual programme of energy efficiency projects linked to the maintenance and capital programmes.

3) deliver a pipeline of whole-building energy efficiency projects.

1) Completed

2) a number of energy efficiency projects were delivered in 2020-21 and 2021-22, and this year the plan is to complete 10 LED lighting projects, 10 solar PV projects and 1 heat decarbonisation project.

3) a prioritised list of whole-building heat decarbonisation projects has been developed and external funding is being assessed to support delivery.

Install low carbon heating in buildings to replace gas boilers

Review boiler replacement programme and assess options for replacing with heat pumps


New build

Ensure the 2008 ESCC sustainable buildings policy is being implemented and report on its effectiveness


The 2016 Sustainable Buildings Policy will be reviewed during 2022-23 in light of changes to the Building Regs, planning policy and good practice.

Emissions from street lighting:



Improve energy efficiency –street lighting

1) Install energy efficient LED lights.

2) review dimming and switch-off policy.

1) Completed

2) The policy will be reviewed in 2022-23.

Emissions from transport, including commuting:


Grey fleet review

Commission review by the Energy Savings Trust.


Develop and implement a staff travel plan

To cover both business mileage and commuting.

A survey of staff travel patterns will be carried out in autumn 2022 to help a Ladder to Leadership team to develop a staff travel plan.

Install EV charge points

Identify where to locate which types & number of chargers, and delivery mechanism, for staff & visitor use

Charge points are currently planned to be installed at County Hall by Christmas and other sites will be assessed during 2022-23.

Emissions from water & waste:



Reduce waste

1) Consider requiring all sites to sign up to the same waste contract.

2) Set up food waste collections from kitchen areas.

1) Completed

2) Food waste from the County Hall canteen is being composted.

Reduce water usage

Install water efficient fittings in all appropriate toilets, urinals, taps & showers

Water efficiency improvements are delivered as part of building maintenance works.

Emissions from procurement:



Engage priority suppliers

1) obtain scope 1 & 2 GHG footprints of transport & construction contracts above >£1m p.a.

2) embed low carbon outcomes into new contracts.

1) Completed

2) the highways re-procurement includes a stringent carbon reduction target. A list of procurements due over the next 2-3 years has been drawn up where opportunities to require carbon reduction will be explored.

Offer practical support to all other suppliers

Provide energy audits and grants to local SMEs in the supply chain (e.g. via LoCASE) and eco-driver training for transport providers

The LoCASE offer has been promoted, and will continue to be promoted, to local suppliers.





Improve data on school installs

Obtain data on renewables installed at schools


Identify opportunities to install PV and other renewables on buildings & land

Commission viability assessment of renewables on buildings & land

A programme of solar PV schemes has been on-going for a few years (eg. at County Hall). A further 10 schemes are due to be installed during 2022-23.




Explore carbon off-setting

Work with the Sussex Local Nature Partnership to explore options and costs for off-setting with natural capital benefits

The Council is leading a SELEP-funded project to understand the science, the availability of carbon offsets, the costs and the risks. The project will complete in 2022-23 and recommendations made to the Council during Q2 of 2023-24.

Grid flexibility:



Assist integration of low carbon technologies into the national grid

Review ESCC estate for opportunities to provide Grid Flexibility services such as Demand Side Response and Battery Storage

The Council has installed battery storage with some of its solar PV schemes and will continue to do so where appropriate.