Derbyshire Dales District Council is committed to doing its part to tackle climate change. The Council resolved unanimously at its meeting on 30 May 2019 to:
- Declare a Climate Emergency
- Make Derbyshire Dales District Council carbon neutral by 2030
- Call on the UK Government to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible
- Work with partners across the county and region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies
At its meeting on 25 July 2019 the Council agreed to form a Climate Change Task Group, proposed to act as an advisory body to Council, to develop thinking and actions required to deliver upon the commitment to make the Council carbon neutral by 2030.
The members of the task group are now: Cllr David Chapman, Cllr Richard Bright, Cllr Mark Salt, Cllr David Hughes, Cllr Peter Slack and Cllr Neil Buttle.
View a timeline of all of the Council’s decisions relating to climate change.
What does being carbon neutral mean?
In simple terms ‘carbon’ is often used as a shorthand for carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, and by extension for greenhouse gases as a whole. ‘Net zero’ or ‘carbon neutral’ refers to a situation where the total greenhouse gases produced (by an organisation, business or individual) are equal to those offset, removed or avoided. This is not the same as zero carbon, where no greenhouses gases are produced
How can we become carbon neutral?
The Council has agreed a Climate Strategy and Action Plan to ensure we meet our carbon neutral target by 2030.
The Action Plan sets out a potential pathway to achieving this in terms of the District Council’s direct emissions and includes ambitious projects such as replacing the ageing Matlock Town Hall boilers with a lower carbon alternative, installing roof-mounted solar PV on Bakewell ABC and switching much of the fleet to electric vehicles.
The Council has a dedicated Climate Change Project Officer to provide resource to keep these projects on track and apply for the relevant funding.
An update on progress towards our target can be seen in the timeline of all of the Council’s decisions and actions
You can direct any questions on our strategy to
What have we achieved so far?
Housing - Tacking energy inefficiency in housing and fighting fuel poverty
As part of an estate regeneration project the Council identified 46 non-traditional owner occupied homes that required improvement. These homes had EPC ratings of E/F and many of the owners were in fuel poverty.
In consultation with owners a £110K pilot project was developed to improve 11 of the properties. The pilot progressed well and enabled a successful bid for Green Homes Grant funding of £760K, meaning a further 53 non-traditional homes could benefit from the scheme, along with 50 social housing properties and 6 almshouses.
Including match funding, the total investment in the project was £1.3M, with 120 homes across the public and private sectors being improved. EPC ratings have improved from E/F to a minimum of C and average fuel bill savings for residents are around 40%. We believe carbon savings are around 90 tonnes per year.
The Council has since been successful in applying for a further round of funding including most recently £907,500 through a new Government scheme 'Sustainable Warmth'. The primary purpose of this funding is to raise the energy efficiency rating and therefore reduce the emissions from low income and low EPC rated homes - both on and off the gas grid.
The principles of this new phase are the same as previous projects – we will be looking to target homes with low energy efficiency ratings in the owner-occupied and private rented sector.
Leisure - Reducing the carbon footprint of our Leisure Centres
The Council has invested £233,434 in energy saving measures at the several of its outsourced leisure facilities since 2018 in order to reduce the carbon footprint and reduce energy consumption.This has included:
- LED lighting upgrades to the Pool Halls, Sports Halls, Gyms & studios
- Pool circulation controls upgrades and optimisation
- Upgrades to wet side boilers and improved water control for example waste water recycling of pre-heated pool sample water
- Eco/low flow shower units
- Upgrade of all four Centres gas and electric meters
- Upgrades to air handling units
These upgrades have resulted in a saving of 127 tonnes of carbon per year.
Through a further partnership with our leisure provider and following a successful bid to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, the Council has almost completed a £734K scheme to decarbonise the heating, install solar PV and a building energy management system at Ashbourne Leisure centre. These works are predicted to deliver an annual carbon saving of 123 tonnes - around 56% of the current site emissions.
Solar PV panels at Ashbourne Leisure Centre
The Council has also been successful in securing £123k from the Low Carbon Skills Fund to develop heat decarbonisation plans for the Arc Leisure Centre in Matlock, Wirksworth Leisure Centre and Bakewell Leisure Centre. These plans will set out the options and costs for reducing emissions from the centres.
Events - Matlock Bath Illuminations – saving cost and carbon
The Council organise the popular Matlock Bath Illuminations. Following discussions with a local climate change group the Council reviewed the climate change and environmental impact of the event.
Subsequently the Council approved that £15k of the 2018 profits (£27k) would be reinvested into the event. This investment was used in the first phase of upgrading the lights used for the event and to improve the energy consumption levels.
Through the light replacement project the Council were able to demonstrate a 91% reduction in energy consumption with a carbon saving of 1.9 tonnes per year.
The Council have also challenged the impact of our suppliers through the tendering process and during the 2019 event only compostable cups were offered by the bar.
Parks - Idling ice cream vans
Council officers have worked with local Parish/Town Councils to explore the feasibility of requiring all ice cream vans standing on Council owned land to operate electrically rather than idling engines to power refrigeration and machinery.
The Council committed to investing £35k to install electric points for all 9 of its current van locations. Acknowledging the value of these contracts the decision was taken to only allow vans to stand on land owned by the Council if they have the ability to operate electrically from August 2023.
As part of this project officers are working closely with the vendors to support them to make the change from conventional vehicles to electric vehicles. Taking into account the average age of the vehicles it’s estimated that this initiative will save 28 tonnes of carbon a year.
Organisation - Agile working – looking to the future
The Council, like many organisations and businesses, has been forced to change the way we work during the pandemic. Recognising the potential benefits to both employees and the environment of home working the Council has embraced an agile working policy. We have invested in laptops to allow more remote working, Zoom accounts so people can continue to attend meetings and £30k to introduce a new long term internet based telephony system.
Acknowledging the impact that staff commuting has on carbon emissions, as well as offering more flexibility to work from home, the Council allow employees to access an increased amount of £2k from the cycle to work scheme.
Transport - Electric vehicle infrastructure
We have EV charging points in car parks in our main towns of Matlock, Wirksworth, Ashbourne and Bakewell. A further roll out is planned when technical feasibility studies have been undertaken. More details can be found in approved Interim EV strategy
Sustainable Procurement - reducing the impact of what we buy
The Council has Sustainable Procurement Policy that sets out how we support and challenge our suppliers to consider the climate change impacts of the supply of goods and services. The policy looks to embed good practice in sustainable procurement in day to day working as part of the procurement process and makes specific commitments to:
- Build a requirement for carbon reduction into the specification of certain contracts, where appropriate. This should include steps to reduce the carbon emissions of business activities as well as in the goods and services provided
- Ask and support suppliers in setting ambitious targets to carbon reduction through the life of relevant contracts, and set out clear ways for measuring and reporting these impacts
- Ask suppliers to take steps to ensure that the goods and services that they provide do not increase the District's vulnerability to the negative impacts of climate change
- Encourage suppliers to reduce waste and promote re-use, re-manufacture and recycling at every level of the supply chain
Planning - new development
One big public concern is the impact of new built development on the climate and environment. Our approved Climate Change Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) provides additional guidance to applicants in the following key areas: green infrastructure, water including managing flood risk, energy, transport and building design.
The Council is also reviewing the Local Plan - a very important document, as it sets out the overall vision, objectives, and policies for the future development of those parts of the Derbyshire Dales that lie outside the Peak District National Park.
Biodiversity - open spaces and verges
Climate change is a significant cause of biodiversity loss. Biodiversity can support efforts to reduce the effects of climate change. Conserved or restored habitats can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as well as reducing the disastrous impacts of climate change such as flooding and storm surges. The Council has set up a Biodiversity Working Group looking at ways in which the Council can increase biodiversity in the road verges and open spaces it manages.