Pledge to climate emergency declaration

How we'll aim to be a carbon neutral authority by 2030 in our pledge to the climate emergency declaration.

The Climate Emergency Declaration

On 21 March 2019 councillors at Suffolk County Council voted to declare a climate emergency.

Our pledge

We will:

1. Declare a climate emergency

This was declared on 21 March 2019.

2. Set up a Policy Development Panel (PDP)

Starting by September 2019, the PDP will investigate how we can cut Suffolk County Council's carbon and harmful emissions on a spend to save basis. Our ambition is to make Suffolk County Council (including all buildings, school and services) carbon neutral by 2030.

3. Work with partners across the county and region

This includes working with the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) and the public sector leaders, towards making the county of Suffolk carbon neutral by 2030.

4. Work with central government

We will work with government to: 

  • deliver its 25 year Environment Plan
  • increase the powers and resources available to local authorities in order to make the 2030 target easier to achieve

You can read the agenda and minutes from 21 March 2019.

Suffolk Climate Emergency Plan

All councils in Suffolk have:

  • acknowledged the climate emergency
  • committed to reducing their own carbon emissions
  • committed to working with partners across the county and region (including the LEP and the Public Sector Leaders) towards making Suffolk carbon neutral by 2030

Suffolk’s Local Authorities have been working together on county-wide climate change project work since 2007 through the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership (SCCP).

In Autumn 2019 a successful Transformation Challenge Award was made to the SCCP to support further delivery towards these joint commitments.

In particular, we wished to:

  1. Undertake analysis of existing data to provide a clear, evidence-based baseline for Suffolk partners on the current picture, including clarity on data and any current gaps.
  2. Identify areas of current and potential influence by Council policy and collaboration with partners to understand the extent to which we can reduce emissions identified by the analysis.
  3. Feasibility test options so that the focus is on actions that can deliver meaningful emissions reductions.
  4. Promote a specific public event (conference) and associated consultation activity to engage stakeholders and the wider community. Given that climate change is influenced by a global range of activity, it will be important to engage widely.
  5. Co-design and launch a delivery plan (including associated communication activity) that builds on the evidence base, feasibility options and community engagement.
  6. Provide project management to initiate delivery of the action plan.

Progress to date: Phase 1 complete

Ricardo Energy & Environment (REE) were selected and commissioned to undertake an authoritative, independent study covering parts a) to c) above. REE are part of Ricardo, a global strategic engineering and environmental consultancy that specialises in the transport, energy, and scarce resources sectors. This work has now concluded and you can read the study report (PDF, 1.73MB).

The report is an independently produced, technical background study which has been produced to support stakeholder engagement in advance of the creation of a Suffolk Climate Emergency Plan. It should be noted that opportunities for action by partners in support of the aspiration for climate neutrality across Suffolk by 2030 do not imply delivery commitment at this stage.

Phase 2: Stakeholder engagement and Suffolk Climate Emergency Plan drafting

Our stakeholder engagement will align with similar activity proposed in advance of the publication of air quality improvement and transport emissions reduction Plans within the Public Health and Transport Strategy areas. Feedback will be used to guide the drafting of a Suffolk Climate Emergency Plan, which we hope to make available for partner review and agreement in Autumn 2020. This work will support central government’s commitment to a green economic recovery in Suffolk as well as addressing the urgent need to deal with the climate emergency.

Additional information

Suffolk County Council aims to be a carbon neutral authority by 2030. Through practical action it aims to save money, generate income and reduce carbon emissions to net zero for its own operations and services.

Human activities emit CO₂ into the atmosphere. Along with other ‘greenhouse gases’, too much CO₂ in the atmosphere raises the global temperature.

This rise in temperature is driving changes to our climate will that will, if left unchecked, make our current way of life impossible on the planet.

The County Council has been running many projects to tackle climate change since 2007 when Lord Gummer (then John Gummer MP), initiated the Creating the Greenest County initiative for Suffolk.

All projects under this umbrella work with local communities and businesses to help them realise the economic benefits of reducing their energy consumption, adapt to climate change and enhance their natural environment. The Suffolk Climate Change Partnership co-ordinates activity across the county, which is published in the Suffolk Climate Action Plan.

Projects for Suffolk residents

Projects for businesses

Next steps

A Policy Development Panel at Suffolk County Council has been set up and first met in September 2019 - this is a cross-party group which is investigating how to further the record of investing to save and reducing the Council’s own carbon emissions with the aspiration of being carbon neutral by 2030. 

The current environmental policy and all related policies are currently being reviewed, to investigate ways to cut Suffolk County Council’s carbon and harmful emissions. 

Suffolk County Council is also actively working with the other local authorities in Suffolk to identify potential pathways to assist with the reduction of all emissions in Suffolk towards zero. We expect to be able to report on the progress of this work in Spring 2020 and will be seeking the public's view on potential ways forward.

  • Creating the Greenest County launched in 2007, this is an aspiration that involves the whole county in enhancing the natural and historic environment and responding to climate change
  • Suffolk Climate Change Partnership set up in 2006, this consists of Suffolk’s local authorities and the Environment Agency, working together locally with a number of other organisations including Groundwork Suffolk and the University of Suffolk
  • Suffolk Waste Partnership is a strategic partnership of the county, district and borough councils
  • The Suffolk Flood Risk Management Partnership (SFRMP) will be responsible for co-ordinating the implementation of any actions required as a result of the Floods and Water Management Act 2010 and the Flood Risk Regulations 2009
  • Suffolk Coast Forum takes a partnership approach to flood and coastal erosion risk management on the coast and estuaries and closely related issues in the context of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management approach