How we're tackling Climate Change

On 18 June 2019, an Extraordinary Council meeting took place, during which Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) declared a Climate Emergency and pledged to make their operations carbon neutral by 2030.

MVDC is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and a number of significant achievements have been made in the last twelve months since declaring the Climate Emergency:

  • The 'Refill Mole Valley' scheme launched and promoted by MVDC has 68 partners across the District, enhancing the national movement to reduce the amount of single use plastic bottles in circulation.

  • Water bottle refill stations have been installed in Leatherhead and Dorking, to provide shoppers with access to free water in convenient town centre locations.

  • Two electric vehicle charging points have been installed in the Swan Centre Car Park and preparatory work has been undertaken in Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall Car Park, for the installation of ten electric vehicle charging points.

  • Two electric vehicles have been purchased for MVDC’s Joint Enforcement Team to use when conducting patrols and investigations, which primarily focus on environmental issues such as fly-tipping.

  • There has been a focus on improved communication with residents and partners.  New content has been developed for the MVDC website, there has been coverage of the MVDC Environment Forum in the local newspapers, and the Cabinet Member is working on developing a blog.

  • An ‘Only Losers Litter’ anti littering campaign was delivered which achieved a 50% reduction in reports of dirty streets in February and March.

  • The new post of Climate Change and Environment Manager was created to enable MVDC to develop and deliver its environmental objectives.

  • The Sustainability Officer role was extended to provide ongoing support for MVDC’s environmental objectives in the short term.

  • The Carbon Trust have calculated MVDC’s carbon footprint for MVDC’s own operations and those of our Contractors.  As part of this the Carbon Trust provided MVDC with the tools to calculate its own footprint in future years, for fundamental comparative purposes.

  • The Mole Valley Environment Forum was established, to bring together individuals and groups in Mole Valley who are working on environmental projects at a local, grassroots level.

  • MVDC has worked with partners across Surrey, including all local authorities and Surrey University, to establish a county wide approach to tackling climate change in the County.  As part of this we have challenged partners to aim for strong ambitions, in line with our own.

  • A new ‘green’ specification has been identified for energy supplies to MVDC from October 2020 which will provide energy from 100% renewable electricity sources and 76% renewable gas sources.

  • A wildflower campaign was launched to encourage and promote biodiversity across the District and promote the work already being undertaken by MVDC to increase biodiversity in parks and open spaces.

 

Our Carbon Footprint

As a key step in the journey towards our ambitious carbon reduction target, the Carbon Trust was commissioned to calculate MVDC's carbon footprint. Along with other Surrey Authorities we have adopted a baseline year of 2018/19 against which to measure progress.

The carbon footprint for 2018/19 was calculated as 4,162 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. 

  • Emissions from the Councils own buildings, predominantly from gas and electricity consumption, account for approximately 20% of the carbon footprint.
  • Buildings leased by the Council to third party operators: Leatherhead Leisure Centre, Dorking Leisure Centre and Meadowbank sports ground; account for 42% of emissions.
  • Emissions from procured good and services, such as waste collections and grounds maintenance, account for 32% of emissions. However, it should be noted that, with the exception of waste collections, the emissions for contracted services were calculated using industry specific emissions models and further work is required to produce more accurate emissions data for the contracts with high emissions.

You can read the Carbon Trust Report or the Accessible Carbon Trust Report.

 

Priority areas

In June 2020, it was agreed by Cabinet that the Mole Valley Climate Change Strategy will be based on the following strategic objectives:

  • Reducing emissions from MVDC’s estate and operations

  • Reducing energy consumption and emissions by promoting energy efficiency measures, sustainable construction, renewable energy sources and behavior change

  • Reducing consumption of resources, increasing recycling and reducing waste

  • Supporting council services, residents and businesses to adapt to the impacts of climate change

A strategy and action plan will be produced by September 2020.

 

In addition to work on this strategy, we are already discussing and developing potential projects, including:

  • Working with specialists to assess the costs and impact of implementing different energy efficiency measures in MVDC owned and operated buildings.

  • Working with specialists to assess the costs and carbon reduction impact of installing various alternative energy sources, including solar, ground source and air source heating.

  • Building on the work already undertaken with the Environment Forum and ensuring the group inputs into the development of the MVDC strategy.

  • Facilitating tree planting schemes in the District, through direct MVDC activities and supporting community initiatives.

  • Lobbying the Government to support the Local Electricity Report, which aims to help Councils and community groups generate and sell locally created renewable energy to the national grid.