Climate emergency statement
We recognised the UK climate emergency at a County Council meeting on 23 May 2019.
We recognise the UK environment and climate emergency and will continue to commit resources and align its policies to address this. Through the framework of the Energy and Low Emissions Strategy, we will facilitate the setting and agreement of a target of Net Zero emissions by 2050 for Kent and Medway.
We will, by May 2020, set an accelerated target with associated action plan for its own estate and activities including those of its traded companies using appropriate methodologies. In addition, we will deliver a Kent and Medway Climate Change Risk and Impact Report and develop and facilitate adoption of a subsequent Kent and Medway Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plan by the end of March 2020.Kent County Council
You can read the meeting minutes (item 145a).
You can read about the causes and impacts of climate change at GOV.UK.
Learn more about our current performance and our projects and plans to get to Net Zero by 2030.
What is Net Zero?
Net Zero is cutting our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as close to zero as possible. This means reducing our emissions to avoid adding to the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Not all emissions can be reduced to zero, so any that remain can be offset by removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Examples of ways to do this include planting trees, renewable energy generation and by trading in carbon units.
We will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our own estate and activities to Net Zero by 2030.
We are also committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the whole county to Net Zero by 2050.
Action so far
Our services and buildings
Since 2010 (up to March 2023) we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 79%. This includes reducing emissions from:
- highways lighting by 87%
- buildings we own by 67%
- fleet fuel by 76%
- claimed business travel by 40%.
Our traded services have also achieved a reduction of 33% in greenhouse gas emissions up to March 2023, compared to a baseline year of 2019.
This latest set of data to March 2023 includes the reduction in emissions due to actions and investment by Kent County Council and the changes in emissions from national energy supplies.
(Please note, the data in the Kent County Council quarterly performance report data excludes actions from energy suppliers, known as 'grid reductions').
Working with Medway Council and all 12 district and borough councils, we published the Kent and Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy in autumn 2020.
The strategy sets out how we will work in partnership to respond to the UK climate emergency, reduce fuel poverty and eliminate poor air quality, whilst supporting clean, sustainable economic recovery across the county.
Our Net Zero action plans are focused on direct emission reductions. However, we will also offset some emissions with significant renewable energy generation.
We are also exploring the benefits that nature-based solutions can provide to our own projects. This approach is known as carbon ‘insetting’, and means we will invest in, and develop carbon offset opportunities within our own county and estate. Two examples of this are our commitment to plant 1.5 million new trees, and our Old Chalk New Downs project, which restores and re-creates chalk grasslands.
A multi-benefit approach of nature-based solutions in Kent could provide a response to some of the challenges of climate change, and also an opportunity to improve the health of our biodiversity too.
We have also published our climate change risk and impact assessment for Kent, this describes the changes Kent might face as our climate changes, and the potential risks to Kent’s society, economy and environment.
Read more about our climate change adaptation projects.
We continue to work on our existing climate and environmental plans, strategies and framework which include: