What is the Council doing?

Derbyshire Dales District Council is committed to doing its part to tackle climate change. The Council resolved unanimously at its meeting on 30 May 2019 to:
  • Declare a Climate Emergency
  • Make Derbyshire Dales District Council carbon neutral by 2030
  • Call on the UK Government to provide the powers and resources to make the 2030 target possible
  • Work with partners across the county and region to deliver this new goal through all relevant strategies
At its meeting on 25 July 2019 the Council agreed to form a Climate Change Task Group, proposed to act as an advisory body to Council, to develop thinking and actions required to deliver upon the commitment to make the Council carbon neutral by 2030.

The members of the task group are: Cllr David Chapman, Cllr Richard Bright, Cllr Mark Salt, Cllr David Hughes, Cllr Peter O’Brien and Cllr Neil Buttle.

View a timeline of all of the Council’s decisions, actions and links to relevant meetings.

What does being carbon neutral mean?

In simple terms ‘carbon’ is often used as a shorthand for carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, and by extension for greenhouse gases as a whole. ‘Net zero’ or ‘carbon neutral’ refers to a situation where the total greenhouse gases produced (by an organisation, business or individual) are equal to those offset, removed or avoided.
(This is not the same as zero carbon, where no greenhouses gases are produced)

How can we become carbon neutral?

The Council has agreed a Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan to ensure we meet our carbon neutral target by 2030.

The Action Plan sets out a potential pathway to achieving this in terms of the District Council’s direct emissions and includes ambitious projects such as replacing the aging Matlock Town Hall boilers with a lower carbon alternative, installing roof-mounted solar PV on Northwood Depot and Bakewell ABC and switching much of the fleet to electric vehicles.

Our Climate Change Project Officer is now in post tasked with the delivery of the action plan and understanding the broader role the Council can take in supporting our local communities and businesses to reduce their carbon emissions.

You can direct any questions on our strategy to climatechange@derbyshiredales.gov.uk

What have we achieved so far?

Housing - Tacking energy inefficiency in housing and fighting fuel poverty

As part of an estate regeneration project the Council identified 46 non-traditional owner occupied homes that required improvement. These homes had EPC ratings of E/F and many of the owners were in fuel poverty. Heating bills were around £1400 per year.

In consultation with owners a £110K pilot project was developed to improve 11 of the properties and contractors were appointed using a framework agreement. The pilot progressed well and enabled a successful bid for Green Homes Grant funding of £760K, meaning a further 53 non-traditional homes could benefit from the scheme, along with 50 social housing properties and 6 almshouses.

Including match funding, the total investment in the project is now £1.3M, with 120 homes across the public and private sectors being improved. EPC ratings have improved from E/F to a minimum of C and average fuel bill savings for residents are around 40%. We believe carbon savings are around 90 tonnes pa.

The Council is investigating further streams of Green Home Grants funding to expand these programmes of work across owner occupied and rented properties.

Leisure - Reducing the carbon footprint of our Leisure Centres

The Council has invested £233,434 in energy saving measures at the several of its outsourced leisure facilities in order to reduce the carbon footprint and reduce energy consumption.
  • LED lighting upgrades to the Pool Halls, Sports Halls, Gyms & studios
  • Pool circulation controls upgrades and optimisation
  • Upgrades to wet side boilers and improved water control for example waste water recycling of pre-heated pool sample water
  • Water controls upgrades to include eco/low flow shower units and waste water recycling of pre-heated pool sample water
  • Upgrade of all four Centres gas and electric meters
  • Upgrades to air handling units
These upgrades have resulted in a saving of 114 tonnes of carbon in 7 months and an ongoing saving of 127 tonnes pa.

Through a further partnership with our leisure provider and following a successful bid to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, the Council are now working on a £734K scheme to decarbonise the heating, install solar PV and a building energy management system at Ashbourne Leisure centre. These works are predicted to deliver an annual carbon saving of 123.4 tonnes - around 56% of the current site emissions.

Events - Matlock Bath Illuminations – saving cost and carbon

The Council organise the popular Matlock Bath Illuminations. Following discussions with a local climate change group the Council reviewed the climate change and environmental impact of the event.

Subsequently the Council approved that £15k of the 2018 profits (£27k) would be reinvested into the event. This investment was used in the first phase of upgrading the lights used for the event and to improve the energy consumption levels.

Through the light replacement project the Council were able to demonstrate a 91% reduction in energy consumption with a carbon saving of 1.9 tonnes pa.

The Council have also challenged the impact of our suppliers through the tendering process and during the 2019 event only compostable cups were offered by the bar.

Parks - Idling ice cream vans

Council officers have worked with local Parish/Town Councils to explore the feasibility of requiring all ice cream vans standing on Council owned land to operate electrically rather than idling engines to power refrigeration and machinery.

The Council committed to investing £35k to install electric points for all 9 of its current van locations. Acknowledging the value of these contracts the decision was taken to only allow vans to stand on land owned by the Council if they have the ability to operate electrically from August 2023.

As part of this project officers are working closely with the vendors to support them to make the change from conventional vehicles to EV. Taking into account the average age of the vehicles it’s estimated that this initiative will save 28.6 tonnes of carbon pa.

Organisation - Agile working – looking to the future

The Council, like many organisations and businesses, has been forced to change the way we work during the pandemic. Recognising the potential benefits to both employees and the environment of home working the Council has embraced an agile working policy. We have invested in laptops to allow more remote working, Zoom accounts so people can continue to attend meetings and £30,000 to introduce a new long term internet based telephony system.
Acknowledging the impact that staff commuting has on carbon emissions, as well as offering more flexibility to work from home, the Council allow employees to access an increased amount of £2,000 from the cycle to work scheme.

Further work needs to be undertaken to understand the impact of ongoing flexible working but initial estimates suggest that with 134 office employees the Council could reduce carbon emissions by 33 tonnes pa if they spend half their working week from home.

Parks - Boating lake – reducing emissions and improving public health

A successful grant application was submitted by Matlock Boats who operate the boating lake in our award winning park. The Council have worked closely with the operators to implement electric charging points to reduce the carbon emissions of the boats which were previously petrol powered. Over recent years the Council have received numerous complaints due to the fumes near the play area and the effect this is having on the environment, especially where children are playing.

The Council supported the funding application, granting the operators a longer term lease of the land and providing contractors to install the charging points. This project will look to extend to the train becoming electric too in the near future.

Transport - Electric vehicle infrastructure

We now have 27 EV charging points in our main towns of Matlock, Wirksworth, Ashbourne and Bakewell. A further roll out is planned when technical feasibility studies have been undertaken. The Council also intends to develop a wider low emission vehicle infrastructure strategy, working with colleagues across Derbyshire to ensure a joined up approach.

What else can the Council do to tackle climate change?

There are lots of other initiatives across the Council that are already underway making positive contribution towards reducing emissions and improving biodiversity in land we manage. We know there are many more ideas and opportunities to explore. Not least we need to look at what are known as ‘Scope 3 emissions’ – these include emissions from our suppliers of purchased products and services as well as staff commuting.

One big public concern is the impact of new built development on the climate and environment. In February 2021 parish and town councils, neighbouring authorities, developers and landowners were urged to have their say on a new Climate Change Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). When approved this will provide additional guidance on the following key areas: green infrastructure, water including managing flood risk, energy, transport and building design. The Council will also shortly begin the process of reviewing the Local Plan - a very important document, as it sets out the overall vision, objectives, and policies for the future development of those parts of the Derbyshire Dales that lie outside the Peak District National Park.

Climate change is a significant cause of biodiversity loss. Biodiversity can support efforts to reduce the effects of climate change. Conserved or restored habitats can remove CO2 from the atmosphere as well as reducing the disastrous impacts of climate change such as flooding and storm surges. The Council has set up a Biodiversity Working Group looking at ways in which the Council can increase biodiversity in the road verges and open spaces it manages.

Climate change and biodiversity