Climate change is one of the most urgent issues to this day. Several recent studies show that acting quickly and decisively to address this challenge and shift our economy to clean energy will bring significant benefits.
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council are a part of the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership (HCCSP) which consists of all 10 districts and the county council, plus the Local Enterprise Partnership.
Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership (HCCSP)
Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership (HCCSP) is a strategic group which acts as the lead partnership organisation for partners to collaborate and identify joint work programmes on environmental, climate change and wider sustainability issues.
The Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership was formed in March 2020 with representation at Leader and/or Executive Member level, along with Chief Officers.
The collective work programme is supported by officers from each authority and the Local Enterprise Partnership who support the partnership via a number of subgroups focused on action planning and implementation in four key areas:
- Water Sustainability
- Carbon Reduction
By joining together to tackle wider issues outside of the direct control of each individual authority, the partnership is working collaboratively to deliver climate change action, to address the carbon reduction targets for Hertfordshire and to achieve lasting change.
HCCSP is working closely with the Hertfordshire Growth Board to seek interventions as part of the Growth Corridor Board programmes. The Partnership reports regularly to the Hertfordshire Leaders Group and maintains key strategic links with other groups across the county such as the Hertfordshire Infrastructure Planning Partnership (Executive Members and Heads of Planning) and the Hertfordshire Planners Group.
HCCSP seeks to engage across Hertfordshire with community groups, the voluntary sector, residents and businesses to stimulate and facilitate behaviour change around climate change and to achieve shared carbon reduction goals across the county.
Councillor Graham McAndrew is the Chair of the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership. He is the Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability at East Herts District Council and also Bishop Stortford Rural Division member for Hertfordshire County Council.
All 12 partner organisations that form the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership are listed below, along with the relevant link for information about specific climate change and sustainability action in that local authority area.
- Broxbourne Council – Environment
- Dacorum Borough Council – Climate change and sustainability
- East Herts District Council – Environmental Sustainability
- Hertfordshire County Council – Sustainable Hertfordshire
- Hertfordshire LEP
- Hertsmere Borough Council – Climate Change and Sustainability
- North Herts District Council – Climate Change
- St Albans City and District Council – Sustainability
- Stevenage Borough Council – Sustainability
- Three Rivers District Council – Climate Change
- Watford Borough Council – Sustainable Watford
- Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council – Climate Change Strategy
The Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership was established to achieve the greatest impact by working collaboratively. The four key themes which the Partnership is currently focussed on are: Water Sustainability, Biodiversity, Carbon Reduction and Transport.
These areas are supported by National policy and HCCSP is uniquely placed to work in partnership to create greater opportunities to realise national policy objectives for local and countywide impact. To take work forward, officer sub groups were formed for each topic and partner representatives sit across the themes and focus on identifying the work areas and supporting delivery.
Each sub group is developing a Strategic Action Plan and these will be uploaded once complete.
Hertfordshire is in one of the driest regions of the country and is also amongst the highest water users nationally. The impacts of climate change on our water supply make it an even scarcer resource in the dryer months, whilst flooding can be a serious issue during the wetter months.
As well as water supply, there is the issue of wastewater and the need for suitable infrastructure to support growth across the county. One particularly unique feature that needs to be protected in Hertfordshire are chalk streams, which are an attractive feature of the Chilterns and a rare habitat globally.
The 25 Year Environment Plan and reports from Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust outline the decline of nature across the UK and in Hertfordshire. For example, protected species have declined by 60% over the last 50 years. There are significant opportunities to preserve and enhance the existing natural environment of the county, as well as to deliver new natural habitats.
In order to meet the national target of a net-zero county by 2050, it is likely that some carbon off-setting will be required, along with requirements via the Environment Bill to deliver biodiversity net-gains for all new developments.
Carbon reduction is central to approaches for tackling climate change, and by identifying a collective carbon footprint HCCSP can work collaboratively to reduce emissions and provide off-sets for those that it is not be possible to avoid. To determine local emissions a consistent framework to calculate carbon production is required and the Partnership is working to achieve this.
HCCSP is developing initiatives to address carbon reduction and to agree targets for reducing emissions. The potential for joint initiatives working with businesses and the private sector will enable green growth and ensure successful delivery of our carbon reduction agenda.
The biggest contributor to carbon emissions across the county arise from transport, which also has a significant impact on air quality. There are 33 air quality management areas (AQMAs) due to road transport emissions in Hertfordshire.
There is a national push to decarbonise the transport system, coupled with a wish to promote active travel which would help reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and benefit community health and wellbeing. Issues such as the roll out of electric vehicle infrastructure, transport policy and encouraging active travel are among those being addressed.
Welwyn Hatfield Climate Strategy
The Council declared a climate change emergency in 2019 and set itself five ambitious objectives:
- To reduce carbon emissions from our own estate and operations to net zero by 2030, or a justification for a later date if the review finds this unachievable.
- To comply with statutory obligations to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
- To work with, support, encourage and engage residents, communities, businesses and other partners in initiatives to reduce carbon emissions.
- To embed climate change mitigation and adaptation into our plans, strategies and policies.
- To reduce carbon emissions across the borough by promoting energy efficiency measures, sustainable construction, renewable energy, sustainable transport and behavioural change.
The Council will use the Climate Change Officer Group and Climate Change Member Group to monitor and deliver actions.
- The Council will monitor the objective to be zero net carbon by 2030 by aiming for an average reduction of 250 tonnes (10%) per year, although this may vary on a year-by-year basis.
- The Council will use the Climate Change Officer Group and Climate Change Member Group to monitor and deliver actions.
- The Council will engage with the community on climate change issues.
- The Council will maintain an up-to-date understanding of international and national agreements, plans, strategies and other climate change information.
- The Council will use annual BEIS data to identify whether the borough has reduced its carbon emissions.
- The Council will carry out an annual appraisal of its own carbon emissions to check whether they have reduced and regularly audit this process to ensure we are using the correct data and methodology.
- The Council will monitor the rates of recycling achieved in fortnightly waste collections.
- The Council will monitor the use of energy and water in our own buildings.
- The Council will monitor the use of energy and water in council houses.
- The Council will monitor the use of paper and printing in our own buildings.
- The Council will monitor the hectarage of woodland and the number of street trees it plants and fells.
- The Council will monitor the borough’s biodiversity baseline.
- The Council will monitor the success of the Environment Bill’s biodiversity net gain policy once it is enacted.