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Climate Change - Action Plan 2021-2025


Staffordshire County Council recognises that climate change is the biggest environmental challenge facing the world today and has reflected this by identifying climate change as one of five key priorities in the council's Strategic Plan. Staffordshire County Council committed itself to this agenda by declaring a climate change emergency in July 2019 to also achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Strategic Development Framework released in February 2021 sets out how the authority will work towards achieving its carbon emissions target.

The county council has identified a range of actions to stop or significantly reduce the council’s carbon emissions. These actions also recognise we need to develop ways to remove carbon that is already in the atmosphere (sequestration). In achieving these actions, the authority will play its part in the global effort to reduce the impact of climate change and meet its net carbon zero target. The council will monitor its carbon emissions each year, to track the success of these actions. Between 2018 and 2022 we have reduced our carbon emissions by 50%.

This is the third revision of the 2021-2025 action plan. This plan shows the completed actions over the last two years, presents reviewed actions and timescales and introduces a few new actions. Next year we will start work on a new action plan in combination with developing a climate change Adaptation Plan.

Simon Tagg - Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Change

Key themes

Theme 1 - Carbon Reduction

Theme 2 - Air Quality

Theme 3 - Natural Environment

Theme 4 - Waste

Theme 5 - Behavioural Change


Carbon Reduction

The Carbon Reduction theme has the most amount of actions within the plan. These actions cover internal staff training, resource use and efficient operation of services as well as starting to change the way that we work. The actions also look to include climate change thinking in policy and Governance processes.

Ref: CR-01

Ensure climate change and sustainability impacts are considered in decision making, including land disposals and budgets.

Actions and proposed timeline

April 2024 - Directorates to ensure that impacts on climate change will be considered and incorporated into business plan templates

October 2024 - Obtain corporate commitment for procurement processes to include considerations on climate change


Ref: CR-02

Continued liaison with Districts and Boroughs to discuss how planning considerations can include climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

Actions and proposed timeline

Ongoing - Provide advice to encourage Local Plan policies to have high regard to climate change mitigation and adaptation


Ref: CR-03

Review the Staffordshire County Council Policy Position to encourage renewable technologies in appropriate locations. 

Actions and proposed timeline

September 2024 - Review the Staffordshire County Council policy position on renewable generation and identify renewable opportunities. 


Ref: CR-04

Make better use of Home to School transport by maximising use of every seat. 

Actions and proposed timeline

June 2025 - Roll out monitoring app to allow Smart Pass monitoring for contracted services

June 2025 - Evaluate results of Smart Pass use and consider if any service changes can be made


Ref: CR-05

Maximise efficiency of the home to school and Special Education needs transport (SEN) services.

Actions and proposed timeline

April 2024 - Investigate options for reducing the number of vehicles and the mileage travelled. 


Ref: CR-06

Increase the number of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points.

Actions and proposed timeline

December 2023 - Develop a 2 year countywide EV charging implementation plan

August 2024 - Complete a feasibility study to better understand Staffordshire County Councils EV demand and capacity for charge points

November 2024 - Work with Amey to roll out EV charging across highways depots where spare electrical capacity is available


Ref: CR-07

Transition fleet to alternative fuels or more carbon efficient where appropriate by 2025. 

Actions and proposed timeline

April 2024 - Implement HVO fuelling to all suitable Highways vehicles, plant, machinery and equipment

November 2024 - Develop a costed plan for full EV transition within Staffordshire County Council fleet


Ref: CR-08

Prioritise sites to have Building Energy Management systems (BEMS) installed. 

Actions and proposed timeline

Annually - Achieve 7 BEMS installations per year


Ref: CR-09

Identify opportunities for carbon reduction of the corporate estate

Actions and proposed timeline

June 2024 - Work with Strategic Property to identify priority properties for decarbonisation plans

October 2024 - Quantify carbon savings achieved through maintenance work


Ref: CR-10

Improve energy efficiency of highway infrastructure and equipment

Actions and proposed timeline

March 2025 - Continue delivery of Street Lighting LED retrofit programme

Annual - Deliver annual Traffic Signals refurbishment/LED upgrade programme


Ref: CR-11

Improve understanding of embedded carbon in Highways activities to enable carbon reduction or mitigation. 

Actions and proposed timeline

April 2024 - Participate in pilot project with FHRG to develop a standardised carbon reporting tool for highways


Ref: CR-12

Emissions monitoring. 

Actions and proposed timeline

Annual - Continue to monitor and report the council’s annual carbon emissions


Ref: CR-13

Identify and understand Staffordshire's net zero skills gaps and explore the levers and opportunities

Actions and proposed timeline

October 2024 - Develop a short to medium term roadmap for the transitioning of the Staffordshire supply chain to net zero

October 2024 - Complete a Staffordshire green skills academy feasibility study


Ref: CR-14

Better understand emissions relating to the staff commute

Actions and proposed timeline

March 2024 - Complete a survey of the staff commute to work, to evaluate potential for modal change. 

Air Quality

The council aims to improve air quality by encouraging active travel and working with vehicle operators within the county to introduce efficient engines and use of low carbon fuels.

Ref: AQ-01

Investigate the impact of introducing a standard requirement for Euro5 or better for home to school transport contracts. 

Actions and proposed timeline

June 2024 - Market test feasibility (cost & availability) of including Euro5 as a standard requirement. 


Ref: AQ-02

Agree Bus Service Improvement Plan with interested local bus operators with an agreed transition path to low emission buses

Actions and proposed timeline

October 2024 - Secure funding to work with local bus operators to improve the energy efficiency of public transport in Staffordshire


Ref: AQ-03

Deliver against objectives of the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP)

Actions and proposed timeline

October 2024 - Deliver and review active travel schemes in Stafford, Burton, Cannock, Lichfield, Newcastle and Tamworth

Ongoing - Work with the District and Boroughs to support bids for sustainable travel delivery

Natural Environment

The natural environment is key to removing carbon out of the atmosphere, through carbon sequestration. The focus of this theme is to maximise the benefit the council’s land holding has on the climate. New land management opportunities will be identified to further enhance the positive carbon impact of county land with additional benefits of enhanced biodiversity.

Ref: NE-01

Deliver Zero By Nature Project proposal to sequester carbon through tree planting and land management modifications on Staffordshire County Council land based on completed carbon study.

Action and proposed timeline

March 2024 - Agree principles and approach through democratic process. 


Ref: NE-02

Review policies that impact on our management of habitats

Action and proposed timeline

January 2024 - Review land management policies and consider options to lower carbon intensity and/or improve biodiversity.


Waste management forms a significant part of the council’s footprint. This section considers how we can reduce the amount of waste being generated and how we can change our waste management processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Ref: W-01

Plateau growth in waste to 0% by 2025, using 2019 pre-pandemic tonnage as the baseline.

Action and proposed timeline

August 2024 - Deliver 4 campaigns to target reduce, reuse, recycle and home composting. Aim for 1000 residents to purchase discounted compost bins and 5% increase in donations for reuse at the HWRCs. 


Ref: W-02

Evaluate the potential for transitioning to alternative and low carbon fuels for the Recycling centres service

Action and proposed timeline

December 2023 - Complete HVO trial and transition HWRC plant and outsourced vehicles to low carbon alternatives where feasible. 


Ref: W-03

Develop a Staffordshire Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) to reduce haulage requirements

Action and proposed timeline

August 2024 - Begin development of Strategic business case for long term management of dry mixed recycling in Staffordshire with support of local waste partnership. 


Ref: W-04

Investigate options for using closed landfill sites for climate change mitigation. 

Action and proposed timeline

August 2024 - Identify suitable technologies or changes to land management on closed landfill sites which could assist with climate change objectives

Behavioural Change

Climate change is a problem that is facing everyone. To tackle the issues it will need everyone to make changes to their daily lives. The council plan to work with business and other councils within Staffordshire to produce a joined-up approach to tackling climate change that reaches beyond just the actions of the Authority.

Ref: BC-01

Offer community funding for small scale climate change related projects. 

Action and proposed timeline

Annual: Offer an annual fund for climate change projects for schools, parish councils and the local community


Ref: BC-02

Raise awareness of climate change and encourage behavioural change through communication campaigns

Action and proposed timeline

July 2024 - Aim for 100% of Members and 1500 staff to complete the internal climate change training

August 2024 - Increase climate change awareness of Staffordshire residents. Direct 5000 people to work out carbon footprint and run 2 campaigns or events to help residents understand and reduce carbon footprint.


Ref: BC-03

Engage with communities to raise awareness and highlight opportunities for local action for waste and climate change. 

Action and proposed timeline

Annual - Hold a Climate Change & Waste Conference


Ref: BC-04

Consider implications and how the changing climate of Staffordshire can be managed and mitigated. 

Action and proposed timeline

August 2024 - Develop an Staffordshire County Council Adaptation Plan. 


Ref: BC-05

Work with businesses to raise awareness and reduce their carbon footprint. 

Action and proposed timeline

October 2024 - 80 businesses to complete carbon literacy training

Ongoing - 30 businesses to complete the Carbon Tracker tool per year


Ref: BC-06

Reduce the number of pupils travelling to school in private vehicles

Action and proposed timeline

December 2025 - Establish 15 new regular walking bus routes

Completed actions

Carbon Reduction

2021/2022 - Revise the Cabinet Report standard template to include a section on climate change

2022/2023 - Identify the resources required to progress the climate change agenda across the council

Ongoing - Climate change team to provide expertise and support to business areas to develop ideas and to deliver innovation

2021/2022 - Consider the outcome of the Renewable Energy Audit

Incorporated within Natural Environmental action for land management - Outline options and make recommendations for offset projects

2021/2022 - Ensure climate change is a standing agenda item for Staffordshire Development Officers Group

Monitoring ongoing - Monitor driver behaviour and provide efficient driving information to staff

2021/2022 - Issue all school children with a Smart Pass to monitor usage to identify any inefficiencies in the system

2022/2023 - Develop an EV charging infrastructure strategy in partnership with the Districts and Boroughs

Incorporated within action for EV feasibility study development - Investigate the potential to upgrade electricity supply in SCC building stock to facilitate EV charging in retained property portfolio and identify sites requiring upgrade.

2022/2023 - Develop a Highways AMEY fleet plan for phasing in of EVs where suitable vehicles are available

2022/2023 - Take a phased approach to complete a review of all SCC owned or leased buildings

2022/2023 - Identify opportunities for change through the development of Business Asset Plans

2022/2023 - Collate data on running costs, energy usage, type and condition of lighting, boilers and insulation

2022/2023 - Develop a programme of work incorporating lower carbon and energy efficiency considerations as part of capital maintenance programs

2021/2022 - Review SCC owned equipment and usage and replace with battery operated plant and tools where possible

2021/2022 - Establish potential for battery operated tools to be specified in future ground maintenance contracts and apply if possible

Natural environment

2021/2022 - Engage with consultants to produce a review of land/habitats in Staffordshire (including carbon impact, carbon storage benefits, potential opportunities, other benefits ie social and GIS data)

2021/2022 - Develop guidance and instructions for staff on GIS


2022/2023 - Present an options appraisal for cabinet approval

2021/2022 - Investigate options for a single food waste procurement contract to encourage the Districts and Boroughs to introduce separate food waste collections ahead of proposed legislative changes

2022/2023 - Complete procurement for a countywide food waste treatment contract

Supervisor vehicles now fall under fleet management. Site vehicles incorporated within HVO trial action - Where feasible transition site and supervisor vehicles from diesel to a lower carbon alternative. 

Behaviour change

2022/2023 - Develop a Countywide Adaptation Strategy

2022/2023 - Staffordshire Business Environment Network (sben) to encourage and provide assistance to install 25 solar PV on businesses

2021/2022 - sben to roll out carbon calculator for businesses

2021/2022 - Board to set a countywide strategic direction in ways of working to support the transition to Net Zero


Discontinued actions

Funding unsuccessful

Deliver DfT/ADEPT Live Labs 2 project (subject to funding approval) to consider opportunities for reducing carbon emissions in certain highways tasks

Not proceeding on business land

sben to work with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust to promote small scale funded tree planting projects with a total of 120 trees across 20 businesses. 

Programme funding

£3.5 million over 6 years has been made available, specifically for sustainability projects to support the climate change agenda from the council funds.

Each year the council applies for, and is successful in achieving external funding. This has secured several million pounds to boost our own internal funding. Some projects have climate change as the core aims while others include it as an element alongside other important service delivery objectives. Some of these funding awards are highlighted in the climate change annual report each year.

County Council Climate Change Investment / MTFS Budget - internal funding

2020/21 - £690,000

2021/22 - £585,580

2022/23 - £596,700

2023/24 - £571,160

2024/25 - £590,070

2025/26 - £ 546,700

Total investment: £ 3,584,21


Programme roadmap

The council has declared a commitment to be net carbon zero by 2050. Whilst our aspirations are high to reduce this as much as possible we acknowledge we can not reach net zero without some carbon sequestration or offsetting. This also forms a key role within the plan.

Our roadmap shows the projected reduction in Staffordshire County Council’s operational emissions. The reduction is based around targets and legislative changes that have already been or will soon to be set by Central Government through consultations, industry developments and economic drivers. The authority understands that there will potentially be further changes to mechanisms the drive decarbonisation across the energy and transport sectors. 

Printable version

A printable version of this information is available below. 

Climate Change Action Plan - printable version (1.38 MB)

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