Agenda item

Climate Change Action Delivery Plan

Minutes:

The Climate Action Delivery Manager presented the Board with the Climate Change Delivery Plan for consideration and outlined the following key points from the report:

 

Priority 1: GBC - The Organisation

 

·         The Cascades Leisure Centre was granted planning permission last month. The approved proposal included high sustainability standards, support for sustainable travel options with 23 spaces in the car park for the charging of electric vehicles, and 35 cycle parking spaces and active open space.

·         There was work taking place to commence a Fleet Replacement Programme, which focused on the decarbonisation of smaller fleet vehicles.

·         Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCVs) made reference to the vehicles being fuelled by low-carbon methods, and batteries were not the most effective means for this type of vehicle. There was development underway of new technology to operate these vehicles, such as hydrogen fuel and e-fuels, but these were not currently on the market.

·         The Sustainable Travel Policy included the Cycle-to-Work scheme. They had recently signed a contract with Halfords, and this scheme would be launched on the 01 May 2023. To date, 11 members of staff had registered early interest.

 

Priority 2: GBC – The Housing Provider

The Project Surveyor (Energy & Sustainability) outlined the following key points from the Priority 2 working group.

 

·         The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund – Wave 1 was progressing well. Since June 2022, 350 (out of 400) properties had been surveyed, with 200 of those receiving insulation.

·         A bid had been submitted for Wave 2 of the fund but, unfortunately, was unsuccessful. Feedback on why the bid was unsuccessful had not yet been received.

·         Water-saving initiatives within the housing stock had been explored with a water-saving consultant. The highest water usage was recorded at temporary accommodation, but with the proposed water-saving systems, a yearly sum of 292,000 litres of water and 9,840kWh of energy would be saved.

·         The use of solar panels to power communal areas in the housing stock had been explored. Two blocks had been completed (Chantry Court and Carl Ekman House), saving a combined 9.5 tonnes of carbon.

 

Priority 3: GBC – The Community Leader

 

·         Officers had been working to engage with local schools. The Council received letters from pupils of Springhead Park Primary School concerning climate change. The Mayor and a Council officer visited the school and addressed their queries, and awarded them as Climate Champions.

·         Solar Together phase two scheme had saved 50 tonnes of Co2 within the first year from completed installations. The scheme was in such high demand that phase three of the scheme was launched in the last week of March 2023, and Gravesham was partnering with them once again.

 

The Climate Action Deliver Manager, the Assistant Director (Transformation & IT) and the Project Surveyor (Energy & Sustainability) fielded questions from members of the board and explained the following:

 

Priority 1: GBC – The Organisation

 

·         It was made clear that Value Engineering did not mean cutting back on key principles or the sports and leisure offer but was making it more efficient and focused on elements such as office planting and roofing elements to reduce carbon emissions.

·         The budget costs would be paid back over a number of years, and with good energy efficiency included within the build, the running cost goes down and makes it easier to pay back.

·         Ground source heat pumps were being investigated as a method of heating the Leisure Centre. It was considered whether this could be filtered from the Lower Thames Crossing, should it proceed, to maximise the benefits for the local residents.

·         Discussions were taking place with the Assistant Director (Operations) regarding research into the use of hydrogen fuel for RCV’s, but there were issues to be overcome with this. They were still researching a suitable alternative fuel.

·         Refuse Vehicles require replacement every 7 to 8 years. Within that time, there will be new technology for consideration.

·         Another issue with replacing larger vehicles before 2028-29 was related to government changes to refuse collection. The requirements were not currently known and could change our requirements for new vehicles.

·         The leading RCV companies (such as DAF and Dennis Eagle) were those manufacturing electric variants of the vehicles.

·         Smaller vehicles in the fleet were already being replaced with electric vehicles.

·         The Hybrid-Working Policy allowed staff to work from home 3 days a week and to be in the office for 2 days. However, this varies depending on the needs of the service and the preference of individual staff, but the limit remained at 3 days. There was a mixture of staff who were required to be on-site full-time. There were no members of staff working at home full time, which was due to a mixture of isolation effects, interactions with colleagues and the sharing of ideas. It was felt that this flexible approach was the best way to maximise the benefits of the Council.

 

 

 

Priority 2: GBC – The Housing Provider

 

·         Officers received positive feedback from residents at Merston Court and Hermitage Road and have had their continuous support.

·         There were 22 heat pumps within the housing stock and a number of air source units for integration once a boiler came to its natural end.

·         In reference to action item 2.2.5, it stated that the LED programme for 2022/23 had been completed. However, phase two of the scheme was due to start, and there was a programme of housing stock listed for phase two, which included Pegasus Court.

·         The Climate Action Delivery Manager agreed to amend the Delivery Plan to specify that there was a phase two of the LED programme, as well as amend the timescales to represent an accurate timeline.

·         There was no indication of the total financial savings for the water-saving system, as the payback period was three years. After this, they would receive the total figure.

·         The advice given by the water-saving consultant was great value for its money, and this will be rolled out long term.

 

 

Priority 3: GBC – The Community Leader

 

  • We can only use our position of leadership and advocacy with the wider community, and engagement was taking place to connect with them to encourage changes at home to promote net zero and reduce the cost of living.
  • The Climate Action Delivery Manager agreed to circulate the progress report of other councils in the Kent region of the Solar Together Scheme.
  • In reference to action item 2.8.3 – The Gravesend-based charity was Ellenor Hospice.
  • A wider management team group were leading on a community engagement project which will deliver in-person and digital resources for residents via a range of channels, such as the website and permanent/pop-up locations throughout the borough and linked to the events programme.

 

The Board noted the report.

 

Supporting documents: