Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1AU. View directions
Apologies for absence
No apologies for absence were received.
The minutes of the Climate Change Cross-Party Member Working Group meeting held on Monday, 24 January 2022 were agreed and signed by the Chair.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were made.
The Assistant Director (IT and Transformation) introduced Saida Shaikh, Climate Action Delivery Manager to the Committee and advised that Saida would be attending future meetings of the Board to present Members with the Climate Change Action Delivery Plan
The Assistant Director (IT and Transformation) presented to the Committee the Climate Change Delivery Plan.
As part of the Climate Change Strategy, a high-level, strategic Delivery Plan was set out under three key workstreams:
· Gravesham Borough Council – the organisation Focusing on how the council can change its own operations, and those of its employees, wherever possible to reduce the level of carbon emissions its produces.
· Gravesham Borough Council – the housing provider Exploring opportunities to bring the council’s current housing stock up to a better level of energy efficiency standard where it is possible to do so; ensuring new council housing is built to a high level of sustainability and ensuring local planning policy reflects the need for the borough to consider energy efficiency in all developments moving forward.
· Gravesham Borough Council – the community leader It is clear that the council cannot directly affect all of the changes that are needed across the borough. However, in its role as a community leader, it can work with residents, community groups and partners to educate and support them in making changes which will have a positive impact on the level of carbon emissions in the borough.
The Assistant Director (IT and Transformation) highlighted the following to the Board:
· The working groups are going well; they meet each month and cover the three priority groups listed above.
· One area of feedback was a request for more challenging baseline data and the removal of “not applicable” where comparable baseline data could be provided; this has now been reflected within the Action Delivery Plan
· Carbon literacy and EV charging we will be covered later on in the meeting.
The Director (Corporate Services), Assistant Director (IT and Transformation) and Service Manager (Housing Operations) fielded questions from the Board and highlighted the following:
· The Council has worked with the Energy Savings Trust to create a booklet that advises residents on recycling, how to use lighting and heating efficiently. ‘Energy Champions’ have also been established
· The Green Doctors scheme was adopted by KCC under the household support fund and the fund has been extended into this year. KCC are working through how best to use the money with an emphasis on pensioners and fuel poverty. Some funding is likely to come to Boroughs. The Director (Corporate Services) agreed to look into this matter further.
· The Council has already reduced the use of gas boilers and has an air source heat pump being installed as well as a computer intelligent infrared heating system that will be put in at Gravesham Court. The Council is trialling and testing so it can make real decisions about what we do long term. The Heat source pump at Merston Court should control costs for people in housing scheme. This also provides a ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
The Director (Corporate Services) provided the Climate Change Advisory Board with an update on the progress of the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in forming their Sixth Assessment Report.</AI5>
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 and is the United Nations body for assessing the science relating to climate change. It provides policymakers with regular scientific assessments on the current state of knowledge about climate change.
The IPCC is currently preparing its Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). Assessments
Reports are prepared by the IPCC every 5-7 years and are drawn together from the
contributions of three working groups, formed of hundreds of scientists from across
· Working Group I – The Physical Science Basis
· Working Group II – Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
· Working Group III – Mitigation of Climate Change
The research findings of the three Working Groups will be synthesised into the final, Sixth Assessment Report which is expected to be completed later in 2022.
The Climate Change Advisory Board noted the contents of the report.
The Director (Corporate Services) provided Members with an overview of the training recently attended by officers and Members.
The Climate Change Management Delivery Plan contains an action to “Educate all council Members and officers on Climate Change so that they are able to have an awareness of the carbon dioxide costs and impacts of everyday activities, and the ability and motivation to reduce emissions, on an individual, community and organisational basis. Create opportunities and engagement activity to enable them to be actively involved in the council’s activity around Climate Change and become advocates for Climate Change in all council, business and community operations.”
The delivery of this training is to be coordinated by the Climate Action Delivery Manager. It is recognised that the level and content of training will need to be tailored to the nature of roles and decision-making responsibilities of individual attendees.
Ahead of designing the internal training for the council, the Local Government Association (LGA) provided access free of charge for its Members to externally facilitated Carbon Literacy Training for Senior Officers and Members in late February / early March 2022. Gravesham were fortunate to secure a number of places for senior officers and Members. The feedback received from those attending these sessions was very positive and has particularly highlighted the usefulness that awareness of carbon impacts can play in our position as policy and decision makers.
Attendance at the training has reinforced the need for training to be targeted at the following Groups:
· Members in key roles – Cabinet Members, Shadow Cabinet Members and Chairs of Council Committees and Boards (including the Climate Change Advisory Board).
· Senior Officers – officers who form part of the council’s Wider Management Team.
· General awareness training to all other officers and Members of the Council.
It was proposed that the Climate Change Advisory Board considers a recommendation to Cabinet that Carbon Literacy Training be mandated for all Senior Officers and Members in key roles, as set out in paragraphs 2.5.1 and 2.5.2 of the report. It was proposed that this training is funded from the Climate Change Reserve.
As per the Climate Change Management Delivery Plan, a programme of general awareness training will be developed using the Carbon Literacy Project local government toolkit, with the intention that this will be supported by an internal delivery team, trained to facilitate the training across the organisation.
The Board discussed the training in detail and considered who the training should be aimed at and when it should be delivered.
Resolved that the Climate Change Advisory Board recommends to Cabinet that Carbon Literacy Training be endorsed for Members in key roles and Senior Officers, with general awareness training provided for all Members and Officers. Officers be authorised to proceed with developing the training offering, subject to sufficient budget being available and taking into account the Member Induction and Development programme which is currently being prepared.
The Assistant Director (IT and Transformation) provided Members with an update on progress with Electric Vehicle charge points and highlighted the following:
· To date, delivery of charge points in the borough have been achieved through funding provided by the Office of Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) and the On- Street Residential Charge point Scheme (ORCS).
· On 25th March 2022, the government published the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure
Strategy which specifies access to local on-street public charging as essential. As a result, a package of measures are being made available to support local
authorities and transform local on-street charging. This includes uplifting the new Local EV Infrastructure (LEVI) Fund with £400m of capital and £50m of resource funding. And, the continuation of the On-Street Residential Charge point Scheme with £20m allocated for 2022/23.
· Within the Climate Change Management Delivery Plan, we have committed to
explore the provision of EV charging points within council owned assets and
implement actions where a sound business case can be provided.
· Milton Place car park and Parrock Street car park both now have one dual
connector fast charger (can charge 2 vehicles at once) and one ultra-fast EV
charge point. Both chargers are operated by BP Pulse.
· In addition to the above, BP Pulse will also be installing an additional 10 x dual
connector 7kW EV charge points in Parrock Street car park using ORCS funding.
This is to provide charging opportunities for town centre residents who do not
have access to off street car charging at home.
· Gravesham have also secured OZEV funding under the Kent600 programme with
Connected Kerb to install additional EV charge points at more council owned car
parks. Details of these are contained in the table below.
· Sufficient electrical grid capacity within the borough has proved to be a recurring problem with the Distribution Network Operator (DNO), which has resulted in some sites being more viable than others and grid connection costs varying between the feasibility and ordering stages.
· The provision of a rapid EV charge point for use by taxi’s in the town centre has taken longer than expected due to cost and capacity issues with the DNO. We are now exploring an option in Parrock Street which we hope will be viable.
· A bid is being made to National Highways as part of their Designated Funds, Lower Thames Crossing for additional EV charge points in North Kent. This funding could help deliver to locations that are otherwise not possible due to connection cost. A second taxi EV charge point has been included in this, for which the preferred location is Rathmore Road (at ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
The Assistant Director (IT and Transformation) provided the Climate Change Advisory Board with an update on UK Energy Security Strategy and highlighted the following:
· Immediate support on energy bills
- The government acknowledges the pressures people are facing with the cost of living and hence announced a £9.1 billion package of support, including a £150 energy rebate in April (for eligible households in Council Tax bands A-D), and a £200 energy bill discount in October to cut energy bills quickly for most households.
- The Warm Home Discount will increase to £150 in October and extend its coverage to assist 3 million people.
- £500 million investment in Household Support Fund for local authorities to use in supporting the most vulnerable with food and utility bills.
· Energy efficiency
- £450 million Boiler Upgrade Scheme to be launched this April.
- Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition in 2022 worth up to £30 million to reduce demand for gas.
- Over £6 billion of investment is planned to decarbonise the country’s homes and buildings and this would save the lowest income families around £300 a year on their bills.
- By 2025, around 700,000 homes will be upgraded, and by 2050 all our buildings will be energy efficient with low carbon heating.
· Solar and other technologies
- The aim is to see the current solar capacity to grow up to 70GW by 2035.
- Government to consult on amending planning rules to strengthen policy in favour of solar development.
- VAT on solar panels for homes has been removed and working on low-cost finance options with retail lenders to help households install rooftop solar.
- Design performance standards to further encourage renewables, including solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, in new homes and buildings.
- The UK government is doubling the ambition for low-carbon hydrogen production and is aiming to reach 10GW capacity by 2030, with at least 50% coming from electrolytic projects.
- This fuel will not only provide cleaner energy for vital British industries to move away from fossil fuels, but will also be used for storage, trains, heavy equipment, and generating heat.
- The UK government is also aiming to design new business models for hydrogen transport and storage infrastructure by 2025 to boost the hydrogen economy.
· Networks, storage and flexibility
- Anticipating need and hyper-flexibility are the 2 key features to be prioritized to reduce energy wastage which could help to bring down costs by up to £10 billion a year by 2050.
- UK to undertake a comprehensive Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA) with high-level options for reform set out this summer to ensure fit for purpose retail market for all consumers to benefit.
- Smartening up the system with more flexible pricing, through Time of Use tariffs and battery storage through electric vehicles.
- Ensuring all new homes are designed so that smart meters can be fitted from the outset, in advance of the Future Homes and Building Standards by 2024.
- of billions of private ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
· the assessment of the council’s climate change plans, as conducted by Climate Emergency UK in September 2021.
· the outcomes of self-assessment conducted by council officers in February 2022 against the assessment criteria used by Climate Emergency UK.
The Director (Corporate Services) highlighted the following:
· In September 2021 Climate Emergency UK undertook, for the first time, an assessment of all UK councils’ written climate action plans and created Climate Plan Scorecards for each authority. The assessment was based on climate action plans that were published online before 20 September 2021 (and written after 2015) and was conducted by a team of over 120 volunteers, trained and overseen by Climate Emergency UK.
· Climate Emergency UK are a not-for-profit campaigning organisation which exists to support local authorities in delivering on their climate ambitions by providing accessible information about best practice and providing a network where local authorities, activists, NGOs, business and local communities can work together.
· More than one in five of the UK’s 409 local authorities have no published plan
(84 in total)
· Gravesham Borough Council achieved a total score of 54% (the average score was 46%). Appendix One to the report provides further information on how this score was achieved over the nine assessment areas and also sets out the scores achieved by other Kent district and borough council’s alongside the highest scoring district council in the UK, Somerset West and Taunton Council.
· To take into account the actions of the council since the assessment was
conducted, a self-assessment against the criteria has been conducted and is
attached at Appendix Two for information. As summarised below this indicates
that, based on current arrangements, a score of 75% would currently be achieved
by the council which would place it 6th in the county and the best performing
council in Kent. Appendix Two also sets out action to further develop the council’s arrangements against the assessment criteria used for this assessment.
These actions will be taken forward through the Climate Change Officer Group.
Following questions from the Board; The Director (Corporate Services) highlighted the following:
· The Council is part of the Kent & Medway Environment Group and its associated structure which allows us to collaborate and learn. The Carbon Literacy training has also provided the Council with key contacts in this field (e.g., the Climate Change Network)
· Feedback has been provided to Climate Emergency UK. GBC will continue to monitor and feed into the process in order to make sure it’s fair and equitable.
The Climate Change Advisory Board noted the outcomes of self-assessment conducted by council officers in February 2022 against the assessment criteria used by Climate Emergency UK.