Agenda item

Climate Change Action Plan and Medway Net Zero Carbon Baseline Report

In April 2019, the Council declared a Climate Change Emergency and committed to establishing a clear action plan for Medway to deal with climate change, setting out an achievable and clear timeline.  The Climate Change Action Plan was adopted by Cabinet on 8 June 2021.


This report provides:


  • an update on the Council’s response to the declaration of a Climate Change Emergency and presents the Climate Change Action Plan setting out the activities required to adapt and mitigate against climate change.


  • an overview of the Medway Net Zero Carbon – Baseline & Pathway Report which has been commissioned so that the Council can understand its current carbon footprint and how it can reduce its emissions by 2050.  It provides the evidence base which underpins the draft Climate Change Action Plan, setting out a series of interventions to reduce the Council’s emissions by 95% by 2050.



The Committee considered a report that provided an update on the Council’s response to the declaration of a Climate Change Emergency and presented the Climate Change Action Plan. The report also gave an overview of the Medway Net Zero Carbon – Baseline and Pathway Report which provided the evidence base which underpinned the Action Plan.

Members thanked officers for the recent Member Briefing on Climate Change. It was suggested that a good topic for a future Task Group would be to explore electric vehicles for transportation, particularly the taxi fleet. This might include incentives for operators using electric vehicles such as a longer licensed life and exclusive use of charging points. Officers agreed to consult the Licensing team to explore ideas. Other suggestions included the provision of e-bikes and an app for reporting polluting vehicles.

It was suggested that the target of net zero by 2050 was not ambitious enough and that the £170K allocated in the core budget was inadequate to tackle the climate emergency and deliver the Action Plan quickly enough.  The view was expressed that air quality in particular needed to be improved by the introduction of taxi and bus fleets of ultra-low emission vehicles and that the 34 new charging points at three locations was insufficient to drive the change from petrol to electric vehicles. The location of charging points was questioned, particularly those that were not rapid charge, in car parks where users would have to pay to park or might be concerned about leaving their cars overnight.

It was also considered that the development in Hoo should be zero carbon from the outset and officers were asked to clarify the responsibility for the maintenance and replacement of trees planted as part of the Urban Tree Challenge.

In response, officers advised that the trees would be planted around Christmas and would be maintained by Medway Norse and the various volunteer park friends’ groups. Discussions were being held with the developers in Hoo to push the climate change agenda to the forefront. The Sustainable Transport Team was developing an Electric Vehicle strategy which would include the need for charging points and their locations. The Action Plan was a five-year rolling plan, and the team were constantly reviewing priorities. At present the highest omissions were in relation to domestic use, followed by transport. The team constantly sought funding opportunities and it was hoped that some funding opportunities would arise from COP26. DEFRA funding for air quality had been applied for and the outcome would be known by February/March 2022. A Member suggested the formation of an expert bidding team in conjunction with Kent County Council.

The Chief Finance Officer advised that there were a number of schemes within capital programmes, such as street lighting, in addition to the £175,000 in the core budget. Only 1.4% of emissions in Medway were generated by the Council so achieving carbon neutral would require the private sector to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. The Council would act as a facilitator, helping them to bid for funding. 

In relation to making Medway’s housing stock more energy efficient, Members were advised that the approach nationally was fabric first, for example, insulation, windows etc. The aim was for all Council properties to achieve an EPC level C rating by 2030 and be carbon neutral by 2050.

With regard to the potential for a landlord licensing system to encourage a move towards more energy efficient buildings, officers said that a blend of options were required alongside licensing, including education, support and access to funding, as well as enforcement.

In stressing how the effects of the climate emergency were already being felt, and the catastrophic implications of not achieving climate change, a Member emphasised the need for strong leadership and a sense of urgency.

In response to a question on how to stop drivers keeping their stationary cars running, officers explained that, if the bid which had been submitted for the DEFRA air quality funding stream was successful, this would allow the Council to undertake work in conjunction with the University of Kent on a behaviour change campaign, initially in Rainham, using targeted signage.     

Officers confirmed that an executive summary of the Climate Change Action Plan had been produced and published.  

Asked what was being done to promote Medway as a location for energy efficient SMEs, officers advised that they had started to work with the Economic Development team to explore opportunities for business development.


The Committee noted the Climate Change Action Plan.

Supporting documents: