We have been ranked in the top 21 unitary authorities in the country for our work to tackle climate change.
According to data released last week (27 January) by Climate Emergency UK, we scored 71 per cent in our Council Climate Plan Scorecards, scoring above the 50 per cent average for similar councils in the UK. The average score for Scottish and English councils was 46 per cent.
Our action plan has been ranked 21st out of 182 unitary local authorities.
All UK councils Climate Action Plans that were published online before 20 September 2021 (and written after 2015) were assessed by a team of over 120 volunteers, trained and overseen by Climate Emergency UK. The 28 questions they asked included: whether the climate actions are costed; do the actions have a clear goal; are local residents being engaged with climate action; does the Plan include strategies to decarbonise waste, planning, homes and other services that the council is responsible for; does it go beyond cutting the council’s own emissions and plan to work with others to cut the whole area’s emissions, and does the Plan cover areas such as re-skilling the workforce, climate education, governance and funding for climate action.
We received full marks in three categories - measuring and setting emissions targets, co-benefits and education, skills and training.
We declared a Climate Change emergency in 2019 and since then we have been developing an action plan and working hard to achieve our target of becoming carbon neutral in Medway by 2050.
Last year we adopted a Climate Change Action Plan which sets out how the area will respond to climate change.
The action plan is currently being refreshed and will include new actions such as engaging with harder to reach communities and integrating actions into HR processes.
The plan will be reviewed each year and local partners, and the wider community, will be able to have their say.
During COP26 we held a number of events including a community climate change conversation which encouraged residents to discuss climate change and start to identify a community action plan. We will continue to work with communities across Medway on actions everyone can undertake in their daily lives to tackle climate change together and is in the process of setting up a Community Climate network.
We have also published tailored information to residents, businesses, community organisations, landlords, schools, universities and visitors on our website which explains what they can do to help lower their carbon footprint and the support that is available to help them.
We have made significant progress since declaring a Climate Change emergency including:
- Continuing to expand and improve Medway’s cycle routes. Medway has 81 miles of cycle ways and has seen a 20 per cent increase in cycling since 2020.
- A £12million energy efficiency programme in council buildings.
- Planting 13,842 trees across Medway thanks to funding from the Urban Tree Challenge Fund and establishing a Medway Tree Fund.
- Creating 30 miles of wildflower verges to allow a wider diversity of wild grass and flowers to thrive.
- Producing an animated video to raise awareness of air quality, its effects and what can be done to reduce the impacts, which has been promoted in schools across Medway.
- Continuing work on an ambitious £11million LED street lighting replacement programme.
- Developing an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging point survey which will inform a new five-year EV strategy.
- Installing 34 EV charging points in three council-owned car parks
- Supporting Solar Together Kent, a scheme which allows residents and small business to install solar panels on their homes and businesses at an affordable price. Residents are currently able to register their interest for the second round of the scheme by visiting medway.gov.uk/solartogether
Committed to doing everything we can to tackle climate change
Cllr Howard Doe, Deputy Leader of Medway Council, who is leading on Medway’s Climate Change agenda, said: “We are delighted to be ranked 21st out of 182 unitary local authorities across the country for our Climate Change Action Plan. We are committed to doing everything we can to tackle climate change but we cannot do it alone. This is why we are continuing to work with partners, including residents and local businesses, on our pathway to achieving net zero carbon across Medway by 2050.”