Our Climate Action Strategy

In September 2019, South Kesteven District Council formally declared a climate emergency, reflecting the urgent need to accelerate carbon emission reductions.

As well as setting a target for reducing carbon emissions, the climate emergency declaration recognises the wider leadership role that the Council has in our communities.

By 2030, our vision for South Kesteven is that:

  • The district is firmly on track to becoming a low-carbon district

  • There is a strong low-carbon economy in our area

  • Loss of wildlife is reversed and existing habitats have been developed and protected

  • Waste is seen as a resource and less waste is generated overall

  • The district is more self-sufficient for energy and local opportunities are maximised

  • The district is well adapted to the impacts of a changing climate

Built Environment

Our ambitions

  • Lead local action to deliver high quality retrofit of domestic properties, across tenure types

  • Help to deliver new developments in South Kesteven in which low-carbon principles are embedded

  • Continue to decarbonise public sector owned buildings, including those owned by South Kesteven District Council

Buildings are responsible for 40% of global energy use, and one third of global greenhouse gas emissions. South Kesteven is in accordance with this global pattern; in 2020, domestic, industrial, commercial and public sector buildings accounted for 40% of overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Built Environment focuses on energy consumption in buildings and transportation requirements for existing and new developments through ensuring that environmentally friendly build materials with low embedded carbon are used.

Reducing carbon emissions in buildings is a significant task that must be undertaken to achieve the national net zero target. The energy used in buildings for various purposes, including heating, cooling, cooking, and hot water, must be carefully addressed to mitigate carbon emissions.

For more information on this Theme see pages 18 - 21 on our Climate Action Strategy.


Our ambitions

  • Identify and deploy renewable energy solutions where viable for SKDC properties

  • Drive partnership opportunities to support and encourage renewable energy generation in the district and unlock green growth

  • Support energy efficiency opportunities across the board to reduce overall energy demand

This Theme considers how we generate, store and consume power. The carbon intensity of the national supply of electricity has reduced by over 40% in the last 5 years, due to the integration of renewable energy.

National renewable energy generation capacity is now six times greater in 2020 than it was in 2010, thanks to the contribution of off and onshore wind, solar, bioenergy and hydropower. As a Council, it will be important to pursue opportunities at every turn to combat energy wastage and ensure energy efficiency is embedded.

The Council has installed solar PV on leisure centres in Grantham, Bourne and Stamford which provide energy used on site, reduce carbon emissions and generate income. There are also opportunities to expand renewable energy generation to other Council owned buildings.

The Council can have an important role in encouraging wider energy efficiency action, including through development that incorporates energy efficiency at the design stage and through co-ordinated engagement and communication with residents.

For more information on this Theme see pages 22 - 23 on our Climate Action Strategy.

Growing our green economy

Our ambitions

  • Provide a supportive structure for skills and training for low carbon and net zero businesses

  • Boost the number of low carbon businesses operating within South Kesteven, and work towards becoming a regional hub for low carbon business

  • Ensure Council procurement activity delivers local benefits for net zero

This Theme considers the interactions between the wider economy and reaching net zero for South Kesteven. In the UK alone, in order to reach net zero carbon across the country by 2050, nearly 28 million homes and the premises of 6 million businesses will need to improve their energy performance through a number of upgrades.

The ongoing transition towards a zero carbon economy can bring benefits to the economy as a whole, and also represents a clear path to levelling up regions across the country through increasing productivity rates within the workforce.

Mapping out how best the Council can support upskilling for the low carbon economy and implementing a programme of support for business will be crucial. Better understanding of the carbon impact of the Council's supply chain, as well as how to improve our procurement decisions to support and stimulate local low carbon businesses, is another important area.

For businesses, there are opportunities to take advantage of the move to net zero with investment in low carbon goods and services that cater to consumers rapidly shifting spending patterns.

For more information on this Theme see pages 24 - 27 on our Climate Action Strategy.

Natural environment

Our ambitions

  • Engage with partners to support projects boosting biodiversity and tree planting in South Kesteven

  • Manage Council owned green spaces to boost biodiversity

  • Embed Biodiversity Net Gain principles into new developments

This Theme considers the interaction of the natural environment with carbon reduction efforts and impacts of a changing climate on the natural world. Currently, our natural environment is facing a triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss that have led to the ongoing degradation of our environment.

Integrating green infrastructure into urban environment brings a host of benefits beyond contributions to biodiversity. The links between health, wellbeing and access to high quality green spaces are increasingly recognised as being closely related.

New duties for local authorities to deliver Biodiversity Net Gain in new developments offers an important opportunity to reverse the loss of wildlife whilst providing opportunities to store carbon from the atmosphere in the longer term.

In order to maximise opportunities to boost local biodiversity, support ecosystems into the future and seek to naturally store carbon, it will be necessary to work closely with partners to develop jointly led projects, and provide a supportive role to wider opportunities for the district.

For more information on this Theme see pages 28 - 31 on our Climate Action Strategy.


Our ambitions

  • Support opportunities to reduce need to travel and unlock near term carbon reductions

  • Ensure South Kesteven has a high-quality network of electric vehicle charging points that meets the needs of residents, businesses and visitors

  • Work to embed public transport and active travel options for urban journeys

Transport fundamentally shapes our towns and countryside as well as our living standards and health. At the same time, transport is also the largest single contributor to national carbon emissions and air pollution.

Decarbonisation of transport has the potential to shape better places for us to live and work. It also represents a prime opportunity to increase economic growth and future prosperity through uptake of electrification of vehicles and sustainable low carbon fuels.

South Kesteven District Council has a number of roles to shape transport decisions, in our role as planning authority, and in our oversight of the declared Air Quality Management Area in Grantham town centre. We can also have a role through changing how we operate Council vehicles.

The Council has a part to play in ensuring that the transition to electric vehicles is not restricted by a lack of appropriate infrastructure in our area,  in tandem with overseeing a greater uptake of public transport, cycling and walking.

For more information on this Theme see pages 32 - 35 on our Climate Action Strategy.


Our ambitions

  • Reduce the quantity of waste produced in the district

  • Increase proportion of waste reused, recycled or composted to support the regional circular economy

  • Review Council procurement choices and opportunities including carbon reduction and embedding a circular economy approach

Resources relate to waste, water, as well as the wider use of materials throughout the economy. The way that we use materials and resources is a fundamental consideration for climate change. Moving towards a circular economy in the way we all use resources is vital and better management of waste is one way to support the transition to greater circularity of materials.

This Theme sets out the Council's plans to minimise household and commercial waste, boost understanding on waste and recycling, and reassess the management of natural resources within our district.

For more information on this policy area see pages 36 - 39 on our Climate Action Strategy.


Our ambitions

  • Lead on communications and engagement within the district on climate change, adaptation and carbon reduction

  • Engage with the South Kesteven community on the Climate Action Strategy and carbon reduction aspirations

  • Ensure that projects and policy from the Council addressing net zero provides a fair transition, ensuring that no resident is left behind

This Theme considers the twin considerations of ensuring the communities of South Kesteven are enabled to take action against climate change, and that vulnerable communities can adapt to the impacts of a changing climate at a local level. By understanding the impacts on residents, businesses, and other partners within South Kesteven of extreme weather events will allow for an improved response and better preparation.

The Council can have an important role in shaping and communicating what action on climate change looks like within South Kesteven in order to play our part in reaching net zero. Ensuring that all individuals and groups have the opportunity to input and to be involved is critical for success.

For more information on this Theme see pages 40 - 41 on our Climate Action Strategy.

Decision making

Our ambitions

  • Embed response to climate change and carbon reduction across all areas of the Council

  • Review capacity to raise finance to deliver key projects for the Council and district

  • Provide comprehensive training to #TeamSK staff and Councillors on climate change, carbon reduction and sustainability

It is important that South Kesteven District Council continues to make informed and effective decisions on the wide impacts of climate change.

The Council's Corporate Plan 2020-2023 provides the context for the Council's wider decision making, with one of its five key themes being Clean and Sustainable Environment. This sets out the Council's commitment to tackle climate change through reducing the Council's carbon footprint.

Since South Kesteven District Council's declaration of climate emergency in September 2019, regular reporting into the Council's Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee has taken place on the Council's climate change work. Given the extensive nature of climate action, different aspects of the Council's approach will be discussed across the committees of the Council and embedded into major decisions.

For more information on this Theme see pages 42 - 44 on our Climate Action Strategy.

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