Climate Change

Becoming a carbon neutral council by 2030

We declared a climate emergency in February 2020, recognising the need to take urgent action to reduce or halt climate change, to avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage.

We have produced a Climate Change Action Plan, which explains how we will cut our environmental impact and outlines the steps we will take to become a carbon neutral council by 2030.

What if we all don’t do our bit?

Failing to take action to address climate change is simply not an option and could lead to:

  • More severe weather, including more frequent heat waves, increased risk of more frequent and heavier rain and snowfall, which could lead to flooding or wildfires and droughts.
  • Harmful effects on our health, with smoke inhalation and air pollution causing significant health risks.
  • Harm to our plants and animals.

What are we doing to tackle climate change?

Our Climate Change Action Plan sets out the steps we’re taking to become carbon neutral by 2030. This is a long term piece of work and the adoption of this plan is only the start of this vital work.

We’ve taken forward a number of priority actions since we declared the emergency, including:

  • Better managing our greenhouse gas emissions by switching our electricity supply to a green tariff in September 2021, ensuring we use energy from renewable sources.
  • All reports taken to our committees now include discussion on climate change implications.
  • Taking steps to ensure all new council housing stock is carbon zero.
  • Working to ensure all council vehicles are powered by electric or other low carbon alternatives by 2030, while investigating installing electric vehicle charging points across the district.
  • Making climate change a key consideration when we procure goods and services and review all future planning applications.
  • Working closely with other councils in the south east to make sure our plans are aligned to support the delivery of carbon neutral targets.

One change can make a big difference

There’s a number of things we can all do to help tackle climate change and make our lives better, whether it’s something big or small. Making just one change to reduce emissions can really help make a big difference, which could be:

  • Walking, cycling or taking public transport, instead of driving.
  • Switching to a low-carbon energy provider.
  • Insulating your home and installing solar panels.
  • Putting on an extra layer and turning the heating down in your home.
  • Replacing light bulbs to LED or other low energy lights.
  • Planning your weekly meals and packed lunches to reduce food waste.
  • Eating less meat and dairy.
  • Switching to an electric car, if you can. More information on electric vehicles in available on Surrey County Council’s website.
  • Planting a tree.
  • Reducing, reusing and recycling your food waste and packaging.
  • Shopping, eating and relaxing locally.
  • Choosing energy efficient appliances.
  • Cutting back on air travel.

Help our businesses become net zero

In November 2022 we hosted an interactive Go Green event for local businesses, to help them find out what they need to do to become net zero. The event, which was sponsored by Love Oxted and run by Surrey Chambers of Commerce, provided local businesses with:

  • Tips on reducing their carbon footprint.
  • Advice and guidance on becoming more sustainable.
  • Case studies from other local businesses already on their net zero journey.

We hope to run similar events to support our businesses, which we will publicise in our business e-newsletter, which you can subscribe to on our website.

Southern Building Control Partnership

The Climate Change and Building Control webpage includes resources and guidance for homeowners on how to make their homes greener.

Building Regulations play a key role in tackling climate change and the government calculates that heat and buildings are responsible for approximately 17% of the country’s Total Carbon Emissions.

Details on Changes to the Building Regulations to support climate change can be found on their website.