Issue - meetings

Scrutiny Review of Becoming a Carbon Neutral Council

Meeting: 26/11/2021 - Place Scrutiny Committee (Item 21)

21 Scrutiny Review of Becoming a Carbon Neutral Council - Progress report pdf icon PDF 959 KB

Report by the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport and the Chief Operating Officer.

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21.1     The Director of Communities, Economy and Transport introduced the report and outlined that the report provides an update on the progress in implementing the thirty-seven recommendations that were agreed as part of the scrutiny review, which are linked to the actions detailed in the action plan in appendix 2 of the report. Work is progressing on the 37 recommendations, with 5 completed, 28 are ongoing and 4 have yet to be started. The report and appendices set out what has been achieved and the progress that has been made since the Council started work on reducing carbon emissions and outlines the use of the funding that has recently been allocated by Cabinet (appendix 3).

21.2     The Environment Team Manager summarised the background to the report. The report focusses on what the Council is doing about its own emissions and does not cover what it is doing externally on issues such as transport and waste. The Council is working towards a science-based target of reducing carbon emissions by an average of 13% per year. This target is the rate of change that is required across the County in order that it contributes towards the target of limiting climate change to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius compared with pre-industrial levels.

21.3     Organisations break down their carbon emissions into a number of categories, which for the Council includes scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 emissions. Scope 1 and 2 emissions are those broadly from activities the Council controls directly such as the energy used to heat corporate buildings. Scope 3 emissions are from any other sources which are mainly from supplies and services the Council buys.

21.4     Work has focussed firstly on scope 1 and 2 emissions as the Council has much better data on them and has more control over them, which means there is a greater ability to achieve reductions. The work also recognises how important it is to tackle scope 3 emissions as they represent a larger proportion of the Council’s overall emissions. Although the Council is at the start of its work on scope 3 emissions, more work is being undertaken such as:

·         The work being undertaken across the Orbis Partnership to increase expertise and capacity in reducing emissions from procurement.

·         Beginning to build in specific carbon reduction requirements into the Council’s contracts, such as the Highways Maintenance contract re-procurement where the contractor will be required to reduce emissions by 13% per annum in line with the corporate target.

·         For smaller, local suppliers who may need support to meet contractual requirements to reduce emissions, the Council is offering free energy audits and energy efficiency grants over the next 18 months.

21.5     This represents a mix of measures across the Council’s supply chain in order to help them take as much action on emissions as they can. Although work has started to reduce scope 3 emissions from the supply chain, due to the scale and complexity of the supply chain it is going to take some time.

Progress  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21

Meeting: 26/01/2021 - Cabinet (Item 39)

39 Scrutiny Review of becoming a Carbon Neutral Council - Report of the Place Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Report by Assistant Chief Executive

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39.1     The Cabinet considered a report by the Place Scrutiny Committee and a joint report by the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport and Chief Operating Officer with observations on the Scrutiny Committee’s report.


39.2 It was RESOLVED to:


1) note and welcome the report of the Scrutiny Committee; and

2) recommend the County Council to welcome the report of the Scrutiny Committee and to agree the response of the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport and Chief Operating Officer  to the recommendations and their implementation as set out in the action plan attached as Appendix 1 to the Director’s report; and

3) agree to moving the annual report to full Council on progress in delivering the climate emergency plan from May to October each year.



39.3 The Scrutiny review has been welcomed as it provides an opportunity to review the climate emergency plan.

Meeting: 25/11/2020 - Place Scrutiny Committee (Item 15)

15 Scrutiny Review of Becoming a Carbon Neutral Council pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Report by the Review Board.

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15.1     Councillor Martin Clarke, Chair of the Review Board, introduced the report. The review is structured around the Council’s Climate Emergency Plan examining the actions necessary for the Council to become carbon neutral in its own operations. The Review Board makes a number of recommendations which fall into three categories:

  • Recommendations where the Council has direct control to make the necessary changes;
  • Recommendations for specific projects to show what can be done and to act as examples of best practice; and
  • Recommendations where the Council can influence others, or to lobby for policy changes and resources to tackle climate change.


15.2     The Review Board is conscious of the financial pressures the Council is under and the cost implications of implementing the recommendations should be assessed through the Council’s Reconciling Policy, Performance and Resources (RPPR) budget setting process where the long and short term economic, social, environmental and carbon impacts can be taken into account. The Chair of the Review Board thanked the witnesses and officers involved in the review and the Lead Members for their comments on the draft report.


15.3     The Committee discussed the report of the Review Board. The Committee commented that there are fast moving changes in technology and policy in this area, and it will be important that the outcomes of the review allow flexibility in response to these changes.  The review is one of the first to be undertaken using remote meeting technology which worked really well, enabling the Review Board to speak to a wide range of witnesses and cover at lot of material in a short space of time. It was noted that where the Council is seeking to move away from the use of fossil fuels for heating and vehicles, there is some overlap with the requests the Council receives to divest the East Sussex Pension Fund from investments in fossil fuels.


15.4     The Director of Communities, Economy and Transport commented on the fast moving policy environment and drew the Committee’s attention to the Government’s recently announced Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution which echoes some of the topics explored in the review.  The Ten Point Plan covers areas such as:

  • Advancing the development of off-shore wind power;
  • Driving the growth of low carbon hydrogen;
  • Stopping the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030;
  • Investment in green public transport, cycling and walking;
  • Greener buildings; and
  • Protecting the natural environment.


15.5     The Committee commented that it welcomed the report of the Review Board and wished to endorse it.


15.6     The Committee RESOLVED to endorse the report of the Review Board, and make recommendations to Cabinet for comment, and County Council for approval.