On 18 June 2019, an Extraordinary Council meeting took place, during which Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) declared a Climate Emergency and pledged to make their operations carbon neutral by 2030.
A Climate Change Strategy was produced and agreed in October 2020, to provide a clear plan as to how MVDC would build on its carbon reductions achievements to date and work towards the ambitious carbon neutral target.
Significant progress has since been made to both reduce the Council’s carbon footprint and in taking action to drive positive change across the District.
- £468,000 Government Grant secured for the installation of Air Source Heat Pumps and LED lighting in Pippbrook and Dorking Halls. This is expected to save up to 160 tonnes of carbon every year.
- Options for roof mounted PV panels and solar car ports at MVDC sites identified via detailed feasibility study, with work now progressing to develop a detailed business case for taking this forward.
- Mole Valley Community Lottery launched - over £17K raised to date for local good causes and Environment Fund income on course to reach over £7K in its first year. Money raised by the Environment Fund is being used to support climate change actions, such as tree planting.
- Energy supply for all Council buildings switched to a green tariff that guarantees energy from renewable sources.
- £4K grant funding awarded for planting a total of 52 trees on land owned by MVDC in Woodfield South, Ashtead, Dorking Cemetery and River Lane , Leatherhead, as well as creating a new hedgerow in River Lane.
- Communications and engagement campaigns were delivered to encourage residents and businesses to take action to become more environmentally friendly, including:
- Going Green web pages launched to provide information and tips on sustainable living
- Climate Change pledge initiative launched to encourage residents to commit to sustainable behaviours
- Spotlight on the Environment business e-newsletter distributed to over 1600 subscribers
- Encouraged residents to shop locally through the Mole Valley Together and the ‘Feel the magic of Mole Valley’ campaign.
- Supported the running of a Mole Valley Climate Hub in Leatherhead by the Dorking Climate Emergency group. Over a 9 week period, the group distributed over 2600 leaflets, and engaged directly with over 700 people.
- Promoted Green Jump Surrey (government Green Homes Grant scheme) which has so far helped 120 Mole Valley homes become more efficient, saving them an average of £249 per household per annum and over 180 tonnes of carbon per year across the District.
- Commenced preparatory work to install 90 electric car charging points in car parks
- Launched Mole Valley Life digital demand-responsive rural bus service (Connect) pilot in West Leatherhead, reducing the need for local private car journeys.
- Used only peat free compost in our parks and gardens, and commenced trials of glyphosate-free weed killers, which are continuing into next year.
- Increased our “no mow” areas, to include land in Lower Shott and Write Way, Bookham and land near Ashtead Recreational ground, allowing wild flowers to grow for the benefit of wild bees and other pollinators.
- Resolved to commit to reducing the extraction and use of fossil fuels and oppose further fossil fuel extraction in the District.
- Worked with Dorking Halls to remove single-use plastic from their operations – the introduction of reusable cups and the removal of bottled fizzy drink products will save ~40,000 single-use plastic cups and ~1500 plastic bottles from being used, every year.
- Joint Waste Solutions have been working with Clarion and Mount Green and have provided new recycling and food waste collections to 200 properties.
- The Refill Mole Valley initiative was showcased by the LGA at their COP26 exhibition stand, as an example of how local authorities are tackling Climate Change. Although the pandemic limited the opportunities to increase participation in the scheme, the number of Refill Stations is still steadily increasing and currently stands at 76.
- We are working jointly with SCC and Surrey D&Bs to develop a Climate Change adaptation strategy which will explore the core climate change risks affecting all authorities, to be adopted and modified as required to include risks and mitigations which are specific to each authority.
Other opportunities for joint working with partners including other Surrey Authorities were sought, in order to share resources and increase our impact in tackling climate change. Over the last 12 months, we have worked with partners to jointly deliver:
- Solar Together: A group buying scheme to help residents obtain highly competitive prices for solar technology on their homes. Over 1300 solar panels have been installed in Mole Valley so far, giving a projected carbon saving of over 100 tonnes per year across the District.
- Tree planting opportunities: Opportunities to increase the number of trees in MVDC and Surrey were identified, using GIS data to pinpoint the best locations for planting. Officers are now reviewing the data and drafting a Tree Planting Strategy for MVDC.
Our Carbon Footprint
As a key step in the journey towards our ambitious carbon reduction target, the Carbon Trust was commissioned to calculate MVDC's carbon footprint. Along with other Surrey Authorities we have adopted a baseline year of 2018/19 against which to measure progress.
The carbon footprint for 2018/19 was calculated as 4,162 tCO2e (tonnes of CO2 equivalent).
- Emissions from the Councils own buildings, predominantly from gas and electricity consumption, accounted for approximately 20% of the carbon footprint.
- Buildings leased by the Council to third party operators: Leatherhead Leisure Centre, Dorking Leisure Centre and Meadowbank sports ground; accounted for 42% of emissions.
- Emissions from procured good and services, such as waste collections and grounds maintenance, accounted for 32% of emissions. However, it should be noted that, with the exception of waste collections, the emissions for contracted services were calculated using industry specific emissions models and further work is required to produce more accurate emissions data for the contracts with high emissions. More information can be found in the Carbon Trust Report or the Accessible Carbon Trust Report.
- MVDC now calculates it's carbon footprint annually using the tool provided by the Carbon Trust.
- The calculated carbon footprint for 2019/20 was 3678 tCO2e and for 2020/21 was 3271 tCO2e.
Our Climate Change Strategy
In June 2020, it was agreed by Cabinet that the Mole Valley Climate Change Strategy should be based on the following strategic objectives:
- Reducing emissions from MVDC’s estate and operations
- Reducing energy consumption and emissions by promoting energy efficiency measures, sustainable construction, renewable energy sources and behaviour change
- Reducing consumption of resources, increasing recycling and reducing waste
- Supporting council services, residents and businesses to adapt to the impacts of climate change
The actions identified to achieve these objectives are periodically reviewed and updated.
To learn about the latest actions, please read the Climate Strategy Action Plan for 2022 - 2025.