FOI Disclosure Log

Customer Request Details

15 February 2022

We have carried out some preliminary research of the East of England region in relation to these two areas and note that East Hertfordshire Council made a climate emergency declaration on 19 July 2019, pledging to reduce its net carbon emissions to zero by 2030, and has produced a Climate and Environment Strategy and Environmental Sustainability Action Plan to work towards this goal. We note the publication of the updated Action Plan on a regular basis and appreciate the substantial work that the Council has put into addressing climate change and making this work transparent.

 

Further to the information available on your website, we have set out a few questions which we would be grateful if you could provide in accordance with the provisions of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

 

  1. We note that the Climate Change Motion of July 2019 commits to reducing the Council"s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, and this is reiterated in the "Our aim" section of the website where the Environmental Sustainability Action Plan sits, but the Climate and Environment Strategy 2020-25 sets a less ambitious target, that of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050 aligning with national government targets. Could you please clarify the status of the target, and if the target has indeed been changed to 2050, outline the rationale behind this change?

 

  1. We note per the report under the Environmental Sustainability Action Plan (https://www.eastherts.gov.uk/about-east-herts-0/environmental-sustainability/sustainability-get-involved) that East Herts Council"s net emissions have reduced from 2800t CO2e in 2019 to 2,565t CO2e in 2022, and that in 2023 East Herts Council will have achieved carbon neutrality. Can you outline the planned actions that will lead to this neutrality?

 

 

In relation to land use planning:

 

 

  1. We note the District Plan 2018 sets out policies around ensuring that new developments should minimise their environmental impact, and that the Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document adopted on 2 March 2021 expands on this, requiring applicants to submit a sustainability checklist as part of their planning application. Please provide a note of all planning applications since the adoption of the SPD that have been refused primarily on the basis of climate change concerns.

 

  1. Please provide a note of all planning applications since the adoption of the SPD that have been granted because they will, or should, be securing significant carbon reduction in the locality.

 

In relation to community engagement:

 

  1. We note the establishment of a multi-agency/stakeholder Environmental and Climate Forum meeting every two months, and appreciate the public availability of updates on these meetings. Please can you provide details of how this engagement feeds into the Council"s work more broadly in the area of climate and carbon reduction?

 

  1. In the Council’s opinion, is there any additional support from central government that could assist local authorities in meeting their carbon neutral targets?

 



East Herts Council Response

11 March 2022

Thank you for your request for information, this has now been processed and the information that we hold is enclosed.

  1. We note that the Climate Change Motion of July 2019 commits to reducing the Council"s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, and this is reiterated in the "Our aim" section of the website where the Environmental Sustainability Action Plan sits, but the Climate and Environment Strategy 2020-25 sets a less ambitious target, that of reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050 aligning with national government targets. Could you please clarify the status of the target, and if the target has indeed been changed to 2050, outline the rationale behind this change?

 

ANSWER: We are not clear what “Climate and Environment Strategy 2020/25” you are referring to, or indeed where this reference originates. To confirm, the targets as set out in the Climate Change Motion passed by East Herts Council in July 2019, which are reiterated in the Environmental Sustainability Action Plan are correct, namely the Council aims to achieve carbon neutrality for its own emissions by 2030, and to do everything we can in supporting the whole of East Herts District to become carbon neutral by 2030.

 

  1. We note per the report under the Environmental Sustainability Action Plan (https://www.eastherts.gov.uk/about-east-herts-0/environmental-sustainability/sustainability-get-involved) that East Herts Council"s net emissions have reduced from 2800t CO2e in 2019 to 2,565t CO2e in 2022, and that in 2023 East Herts Council will have achieved carbon neutrality. Can you outline the planned actions that will lead to this neutrality?

 

ANSWER: Unfortunately, the statement you refer to contained a couple of typographical errors and is no longer on the website. The reference to achieve carbon neutrality for East Herts Council’s own emissions by “2023” should have read “2030”; and for clarity the year “2019” should have read “2019/20” and “2022” should have read “2020/21”. We apologise for any confusion this may have caused.

  1. We note the District Plan 2018 sets out policies around ensuring that new developments should minimise their environmental impact, and that the Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document adopted on 2 March 2021 expands on this, requiring applicants to submit a sustainability checklist as part of their planning application. Please provide a note of all planning applications since the adoption of the SPD that have been refused primarily on the basis of climate change concerns.
  1. Please provide a note of all planning applications since the adoption of the SPD that have been granted because they will, or should, be securing significant carbon reduction in the locality.

ANSWER: We are unable to extract this information as to do so would require a manual check of  every application submitted since 2nd March 2021 which would be above the time limits imposed by the act. All applications are however available to view on our website

 

  1. We note the establishment of a multi-agency/stakeholder Environmental and Climate Forum meeting every two months, and appreciate the public availability of updates on these meetings. Please can you provide details of how this engagement feeds into the Council"s work more broadly in the area of climate and carbon reduction?

 

The establishment of the Environmental and Climate Forum is an intrinsic element of the Council’s agreed Climate change motion. The Forum meets every two months and is ***** to all. We see attendance from local councillors; parish representatives; local businesses; individuals; community groups; and, climate change groups. At each meeting the Council provides an update on the Environmental Sustainability  Action Plan and also on wider work occurring across Hertfordshire. Generally, we also consider in more detail one particular topic, for example domestic energy efficiency, biodiversity etc. During breakout rooms, often detailed discussion on these topics arises, which we look to include within the Action Plan in terms of development of future actions and initiatives to work towards our carbon neutrality aspirations. In addition, we believe the Forum is enabling us to develop a close working relationship with the various climate change groups located within our District, allowing them a forum for their ideas and thus helping us to work together to develop practical community action on climate change.

  1. In the Council’s opinion, is there any additional support from central government that could assist local authorities in meeting their carbon neutral targets?

This question calls for an opinion rather than for data held and is outside the scope of a freedom of information request

 

If you are unsatisfied with the way the Council has handled your request please let us know in the first instance so that an internal review can be carried out. Additionally,  If you have any queries about the processing of your request please do not hesitate to contact me.

For re-use of information and conditions on the use of personal data  please see

https://www.eastherts.gov.uk/about-east-herts-0/information-requests/re-use-council-information

Alternatively for more information on the Freedom of Information Act contact the Information Commissioner at:

Information Commissioners Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF

Telephone 0303 123 1113

https://ico.org.uk/

 

It is important that you include the above FOI reference number on all correspondence related to this request.

 

Thank you for your request.