Agenda and draft minutes

Climate Change Sub-Group
Thursday 25th February 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Via Zoom

Contact: Jonah Anthony 


No. Item



To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 8 December 2020 (previously circulated).

Additional documents:


The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 December 2020 were agreed as a correct record and noted by the Chair.



To discuss the feedback received during the consultation on the draft Climate Change Strategy and review the proposed final Strategy ahead of submission to the Cabinet for decision.

Additional documents:


Members reviewed a draft report proposed for Cabinet, recommending adoption of the Climate Change Strategy and maintaining a ‘live’ action plan of projects to be delivered by the Council and its partners.


The following points were noted:


-       That the Council had, in June 2019, committed to reducing carbon emissions from the Council’s own estate and operations to net zero by 2030

-       The baseline position is that Welwyn Hatfield Borough emitted 629,000 tonnes of carbon from industrial, commercial, domestic and transport activities in 2019

-       The baseline position is that Welwyn Hatfield Council emitted 2,507 tonnes of carbon from its own buildings, activities and transport in 2020

-       As part of the consultation process the Council hosted a virtual online ‘town hall’ event on 25 January 2021, allowing interested parties to debate the actions in the draft strategy and help the Council define the final version of the strategy and ongoing actions

-       The consultation took place alongside a wider engagement exercise the Council had undertaken as it looked to develop its Corporate Strategy, and this had generated further Climate Change related input

-       A significant amount of ideas had been generated. Whilst not all ideas had been translated into the current action plan, the action plan was intended to be a live document and these ideas could be added as the Council progressed

-       The proposed action plan focused on delivering those actions which delivered the greatest volume of carbon savings



The Panel also advised that the report would benefit from a specific recommendation that efforts are focused on those projects in the action plan which offered significant carbon reduction, were in the Council’s control and could be achieved quickly.


In response to feedback the following changes to the draft Climate Change Strategy were noted:


-       Increased reference to the scale of the problem

-       The latest policy developments, such as the Government’s 10 Point Plan to tackle Climate Change and deliver a green industrial revolution

-       Clearer division between those actions the Council had already taken, and actions it intended to take

-       Wording added to the net zero ambition to better reflect the motion and resolution carried by the Council in June 2019 and recognise legitimate technological and financial reasons why a 2030 deadline may need to be adjusted following a review





-       That the Climate Change Sub Group recommend to the Cabinet that it adopts the Climate Change Strategy and agrees to maintain a ‘live’ action plan of projects to be delivered by the Council and its partners.



Members took the opportunity to thank members of the public for their engagement and for the work undertaken by Councillors and Officers to produce this Strategy.




Update from the Head of Planning on relevant activities undertaken by Officers.

Additional documents:


Members received an update from Officers on activities currently being undertaken.  Going forward it was proposed that the Climate Change Officers’ Group would meet to review the Action Plan and update the Members’ Group at their meetings.


The following points were noted:


-        Members welcomed the “level of control” column in the Action Plan, which would help focus the Council’s attention on those areas it could have greater impact on

-        The Council had successfully been awarded over £1.7 million from the Government’s decarbonisation scheme.  £1 million had been awarded to a project to replace the gas boiler at Campus West with an air source heat pump system, whilst a further £734,000 grant has been awarded to a project at Hatfield Swim Centre to replace the gas boiler with an air source heat pump system and install photovoltaic panels. A third project concerning Campus East was not successful but the project could be revised and resubmitted in subsequent rounds of the decarbonisation scheme

-        The Council had also moved to a green electricity tariff. Together with the decarbonisation project, this would significantly reduce the Council’s carbon emissions

-        Officers were looking at how they could use the Government’s Green Homes Grant Programme to deliver improved Energy Performance Certificate ratings for council housing in the Borough

-        The SME energy audit scheme run as part of the Eastern New Energy Project had proved popular, with an expectation that many of the businesses that have engaged will look to access the grants available to improve their carbon performance


The Executive Member (Governance, Public Health and Climate Change) provided an update on the work of the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership (HCCSP).


The following points were noted:


-        A biodiversity baseline was being developed for the whole of Hertfordshire

-        25 Action Points had been identified in the Water work stream

-        The Executive Member, along with the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) and Head of Planning, had met with the Chair of the HCCSP to review the operation of the HCCSP. In particular they discussed the establishment of a dedicated website and potential for (virtual) cross county training for councillors and officers.


Members noted the letter from Welwyn Parish Council, which had been previously circulated.  A response will be prepared by the Head of Environment.


Members noted that this would be the last Climate Change Sub Group meeting for the Head of Planning, and took the opportunity to thank them for their contribution to the work of the group, especially the development of the Climate Change Strategy.




Additional documents:


Members noted that the Chair, the Executive Member and relevant Officers would meet to discuss the forward programme for the Group, with an assumption that the next meeting of the Group would take place after the May 2021 elections and every other month thereafter.


Members were invited to send through their ideas and suggestions for future meetings and training sessions.