Our Net Zero action plan

We are committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our own estate, operations and wholly owned traded services to net zero by 2030.

We are also one of very few local authorities in the country to have achieved the International Standard for Environmental Management (ISO14001) and have held this standard since 2009.

To reach our target we have developed a comprehensive Net Zero action plan (PDF, 127.2 KB).

We will monitor our progress towards the net zero target every 3 months with the data available in the quarterly performance report. More detail of our current performance can be found on our climate emergency performance page.

Action so far

Since 2010 we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 73%. This includes reducing emissions from:

  • highways lighting by 85%
  • buildings we own by 58%
  • fleet fuel by 71%
  • claimed business travel by 63%.

This latest set of data to June 2021, includes the reduction in emissions due to actions and investment by us and the changes in emissions from national energy supplies. This data also reflects the changes to the way we have been working during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with significantly less business travel and a reduction in the use of our buildings.

As we look to the future, we will continue to develop our plans for more flexible ways of working that continue to reduce our impact on the environment.

Emission type2010 (tonnes)To June 2021 (tonnes)Difference between 2010 and June 2021 (tonnes)
Highways lighting29,9284,478-25,450
Buildings we own19,9798,318-11,661
Fleet fuel3,396982-2,414
Business travel4,9071,819-3,088
Total58,21015,597-42,613

Our Traded Services have achieved a reduction of 31% in greenhouse gas emissions up to June 2021, compared to a baseline year of 2019.

We have an ambitious programme to reach our net zero target by 2030 and have been awarded over £20 million to deliver energy decarbonisation projects during 2021 to 2022. This includes:

  • solar parks
  • solar on our buildings
  • replacing oil and gas boilers with heat pumps
  • LED lighting
  • other energy efficiency measures.

We expect to reduce our emissions by a further 40% by completing these projects.

Our projects to reduce emissions

Energy efficiency

We have completed over 100 energy efficiency projects, from installing LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting and motion sensors, to boiler replacements, heating controls and draught proofing in our buildings and in schools. We have also converted almost 120,000 streetlights in Kent to energy efficient LED bulbs. More detail of these projects can be found on our climate emergency performance page.

Solar energy

We have an impressive portfolio of successful solar panel projects and a strong history of working with local schools to help them with their own solar installations. Our first ever solar project was at Hever Primary School in 2007 and was followed by 26 more installations over a 3 year period.

Between 2010 and 2020 we have installed over 2,000 solar panels on our buildings and in local schools and we have 6 more solar projects planned to complete by the end of 2021. Details of these projects and our energy generation from solar can be found on our climate emergency performance page.

Our projects have even been recognised nationally, in November 2020, Northfleet School for Girls won the Green Leaders Award for the best renewable energy project of the year. They installed 681 solar panels, one of the largest school solar installations in the country and will save £16,000 as well as reducing their carbon footprint, they will also save £4,000 a year by upgrading their light bulbs to energy efficient LEDs. Watch the video to find out more about the project.

Low carbon heat

We recognise the vital role that heat decarbonisation has to play in our net zero journey, with the heating of buildings accounting for approximately 30% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. With that in mind, we have set ourselves a target to convert at least 50% of our fossil fuel boilers to heat pumps by 2030. The first 2 projects are already in progress and will be finished by March 2022. Further details are on our climate emergency performance page.

Travel

We already have 36 hybrid vans in our fleet and several of our offices have electric vehicle charging points for staff and visitors to use. We plan to expand these facilities and continue to expand the rapid charging network in Kent working with our district and borough council partners.

We have commissioned Co-Wheels to give our staff access to electric hybrid vehicles during the working day,  to help travel to meetings and site visits in a more sustainable way, and allows staff to leave their car at home. We also take part in the government approved Cycle to Work Scheme, which helps staff buy a bike and safety accessories to encourage them to cycle to work.

Single use plastics

As part of our efforts to reduce single use plastics in Kent, we're cutting it out in our buildings.

We are taking action to reduce our disposable cup use as far as possible, and are moving away from bottled water supplies to mains supplies.

Some of our country parks now use compostable food packaging and have a keep-cup scheme to encourage the use of reusable items.

Our facilities management contractors have identified cleaning products where single use plastics are used and have started to transfer to alternative plastic free options. They have identified soluble tablet cleaning products and are replacing products supplied in plastic bottles with these plastic free alternatives.

Green guardians

We have a network of staff volunteers, our green guardians, who encourage economic use of office resources and good environmental practice.

Our green guardians have been involved with promoting Kent Green Action our campaign to connect people with nature, and inspire everyone to take action to improve our environment. Some of our green guardians have their waste turned into useful items such as planters and play equipment.

One of the most successful recycling schemes has been the crisp packet recycling scheme that has raised over £300 for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.