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Cambridge City Council

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Our work towards a sustainable Cambridge

Tackling climate change is a key policy priority for the council.

The climate change agreement in Paris in December 2015 agreed to limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C and the need to achieve zero net global carbon emissions by the second half of this century to achieve this.

Following that, we set an aspiration in our Climate Change Strategy (2016-21) to achieve zero carbon status for Cambridge by 2050 [PDF, 78Kb].

In response to calls from local campaign groups for further action, in February 2021 we produced a summary of the action we have taken to date to address the climate emergency [PDF, 0.2MB].

Climate Change Strategy 2016-2021

Our Climate Change Strategy 2016-21 [PDF, 6MB] sets out five key objectives for how the council will address the causes and consequences of climate change:

  1. Reducing emissions from the City Council estate and operations
  2. Reducing energy consumption and emissions from homes and businesses in Cambridge by promoting energy efficiency measures, sustainable construction, renewable energy sources, and behaviour change
  3. Reducing emissions from transport by promoting sustainable transport, reducing car travel and traffic congestion, and encouraging behaviour change 
  4. Reducing consumption of resources, increasing recycling and reducing waste
  5. Supporting Council services, residents and businesses to adapt to the impacts of climate change

Carbon Management Plan 2016-2021

The Council’s Carbon Management Plan 2016-21 [PDF, 2.5MB] sets out how we will reduce carbon emissions from our estate and operations to address Objective 1 of the Climate Change Strategy.

We have set a target of reducing carbon emissions from our estate and operations by 15% from 2014/15 levels by the end of 2020/21. We aspire to reduce emissions by 20% over this period.

Climate Local

In September 2012, Cambridge City Council signed up to the Local Government Association’s Climate Local Commitment – the successor to the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change.

Climate Local is a public demonstration of our commitment to addressing climate change and to challenge ourselves to build on the achievements we have already made.

Environmental work at the council

Our planning department promotes the use of renewable energy technologies in new developments, and sets out policies and site-specific proposals for the development and use of land in Cambridge.

The environmental protection team including environmental health deals with air, land, water and noise pollution.

Our waste management team manages and delivers the city's refuse, recycling and green waste collection services, as well as a scheme to deal with abandoned vehicles.

Our home energy officers promote the council’s small one-off grants to qualifying owner-occupiers to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. They also promote national grant and incentive schemes including the Green Deal and feed-in tariffs.

Our tree officers are responsible for the maintenance of the thousands of Cambridge’s street trees. The trees provide shade and cooling to the city, as well as vital shelter and food sources for the city’s wildlife. Trees along the streets and in parks and gardens help enhance the city’s character and add to its biodiversity.

Drainage engineers coordinate strategic flood risk management for the city. They manage the maintenance of watercourses and promote the use of sustainable drainage systems and water efficiency measures in new developments.