Work so far
Progress since formally recognising the climate emergency
- December 2020: The East Suffolk Environment Task Group and Greenprint Forum wrote to Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, the Minister of State for Business, Energy & Clean Growth at BEIS; Rt Hon George Eustice MP, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government; and Rt Hon Grant Schapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport to continue the correspondence with Government commenced in August to press the Government to provide local councils with the correct framework, systems and resources to respond to the everchanging environment and deliver on its climate change commitments. Also copied into the letters were local MPs Therese Coffey, Peter Aldous and Dan Poulter. In December 2020 we received this response from the DfT and in February 2021 we received this response from MHCLG. As we receive further responses they will be uploaded here.
- November 2020: The Environmental Guidance Note has been produced to offer clear, concise information on a range of key environmental issues relating to the building industry, assisting those seeking to mitigate the contribution of construction to climate change and its impact on the environment by offering support and advice. It was endorsed by the Council on 25 November 2020.
- November 2020: Launch of a Small Grants Scheme for projects including those to develop active sustainable travel by the Community Partnership covering Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth and Surrounding Villages.
- November 2020: Launch of a Small Grants Scheme for environmental projects by the Community Partnership covering Kesgrave, Rushmere St Andrew, Marlesham, Carlford and the Fynn Valley.
- November 2020: The Environment Task group expressed its support for the Local Energy Bill, championed by Peter Aldous MP
- October 2020: Supporting a Zero Carbon Communities pilot project now running in Hollesley with Groundwork and Suffolk Climate Change Partnership with objective creating a net zero plan for Hollesley and developing a process applicable for other communities seeking to go Zero Carbon. The project was highlighted at a recent online event held as a fringe event during the Community Partnerships Virtual Forum which included a panel discussion on the role of zero carbon communities post-Covid which can be watched here.
- October 2020: Consultations launched on three draft planning documents relevant to environmental matters: a Draft Walking and Cycling Strategy; a Draft Statement of Community Involvement; and a Draft Recreational Disturbance Avoidance and Mitigation Strategy.
- September 2020: Supported a successful bid for funding led by the voluntary group Quiet Lanes Suffolk, which secured £235,000 from Suffolk County Council’s Suffolk 2020 Fund towards an ambitious project planned for 2021, to significantly expand the network of Quiet Lanes in Suffolk, to preserve the tranquillity of suitable rural lanes in the county and embolden residents and visitors to make use of them by active and sustainable modes of travel. East Suffolk Council had already allocated £40,000 to enhance the delivery of the project in our district, building on a mandate to pursue the project secured at the Greenprint Forum’s Travel Forum held on World Environment Day in June 2019.
- September 2020: commenced works at East Suffolk House to create an outdoor space to accommodate and promote biodiversity incorporating bird boxes, hedgehog shelters and insect hotels.
- August 2020: The East Suffolk Environment Task Group and Greenprint Forum have written to Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS), to encourage the Government to consider the unique opportunity of bringing about lasting changes to address climate change in its Covid-19 recovery plan. Also copied into the letter were local MPs Therese Coffey, Peter Aldous and Dan Poulter. In September we received the response from BEIS and we will continue the conversation with the Government.
- August 2020: Further replacements of diesel-fuelled vehicles with electric vehicles to the council’s fleet. Alongside this, the council has installed electric vehicle charging points at some of its sites including leisure centres and one of its public car parks.
- Summer 2020: established first 40 new Conservation Areas – where verges and public open spaces are managed in a way more sympathetic to nature to encourage wildflowers, benefit pollinators and promote biodiversity.
- May 2020: Launch of new Housing Enabling Strategy to ensure the building of more environmentally friendly homes to be built in East Suffolk.
- March 2020: Town and parish councils in East Suffolk are being encouraged to plant trees in their communities. Any town or parish council, or community group, wishing to plant trees is encouraged to contact their district councillor to determine whether there is any East Suffolk-owned land which would be suitable for planting. If land is not suitable for tree planting, it may be possible for the land to be allocated for rewilding or to become a wildflower meadow. Tree planting schemes can be supported through East Suffolk councillors’ individual Enabling Communities Budgets, with trees available through third party organisations.
- February 2020: A public Climate Change Forum was held on 3 February 2020, at Riverside, co-hosted by the East Suffolk Greenprint Forum and the Environment Task Group.
- November 2019: Launch of the East Suffolk Sustainable Business Toolkit to enable businesses to understand their own environmental impact and prioritise positive action.
- November 2019: Review of a report from Groundwork Suffolk on the council's work to reduce its carbon emissions. The report recognised the steps the council has already taken to reduce carbon emissions by just under 23% over the last three years, including moving to its new energy efficient buildings in Lowestoft, which benefits from solar PV at our Melton offices, which are heated by air-sourced heat pumps, and installing solar PV at the recently refurbished Deben Leisure Centre and Leiston Leisure Centre. The report identifies areas that the council will need to focus on to achieve its ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.