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Carbon reduction plan

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2. February 2024 update

Council Non-Domestic Buildings

  • Next round of Low Carbon Skills Funding soon to be submitted to support a full Council wide decarbonisation programme
  • Continue to look for funding to improve energy efficiency of all buildings. Potential Measures marked with * where this is unable to take place due to funding being unavailable
  • Work underway on the Royal Albert Memorial Museum (RAMM) using Museum Estate & Development (MEND) funding (£498,000) awarded in 2023. The MEND grant is matched by an existing capital programme budget and will provide vital funds to address the maintenance backlog of the RAMM roof and includes installation of a permanent access system to the roof, upgrading the roofs’ insulation and the re-decoration of damaged ceilings. Due to complete in Summer 2024.
  • £6,391,664 of Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) funding awarded to in 2023 to deliver heat decarbonisation projects at the RAMM and the Riverside Leisure Centre (Riverside). RAMM will install a new air source heat pump system, replacing existing gas fired boilers that are at the end of their life. Riverside will replace an end of life boiler and heating plant with air source heat pumps, integrate a heat recovery system and upgrade its roof to improve its thermal efficiency and accommodate the roof mounted air source heat pumps. Once approved, to commence in April 2024, to complete by March 2025.
  • Solar Survey for all remaining suitable assets to be finalised and business case developed to tender a programme of work to help decarbonise ECC owned and occupied buildings
  • Changes to temperature and humidity controls at RAMM
  • Energy storage under review and if financially viable will be included in new solar install programme (dependent on building condition)

Council-owned housing

  • Working with Wales and West Utilities on a pilot tool to create a decarbonisation tool using ECC data.
  • Delivery target date of 2030 being assessed on the basis of current delivery and resource/funding availability, but likely to be beyond this date.
  • Currently working on design specification for non-traditional properties to be retrofitted.
  • Further Government grant of £1.494m via the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund has been secured for 2023/2025. The funding award is representing 43% of the estimated retrofit costs, with a further £1.998m co-funded contribution from ECC representing 57% and a total expenditure of £3.493m over a 2-year project period. Year 1 programme has just been completed.
  • Retrofit delivery is 773 properties to be completed by March 2024 part of a ‘fabric first’ strategy – with the inclusion of PV installation and smart heating controls. Estimated that by March 2025, this will have increased to 929.
  • ECC continue to work on sites through the design and development stage based on a low cardon or high environmental standards.
  • Current development programme has been suspended due to the inability to make schemes financially viable – 2 schemes currently on site. 21 flats in Hamlin Gardens, will be completed in June 2024. 35 flats at Vaughan Road, will be completed in May 2025.


  • Implementation Plan for new Green Travel Policy underway, to incentivise public transport and active travel.
  • Currently looking into electric 7.5 tonne vehicle for food collections, with the potential for a trial Electric alternative to 3.5 tonne vehicles and small plant and equipment explored routinely for any replacement requirements for Public and Green Spaces (P&GS) teams for as and when vehicles/equipment reach end of life.
  • 18x (16.5%) electric vehicles (including 3x electric Refuse Collection Vehicles (eRCVs)), and 4x (3.7%) petrol hybrid vehicles in active fleet of 109 vehicles in 2022/23
  • Alternative suppliers for eRCVs currently being investigated with the potential for a trial
  • ECC currently working with Devon County Council and other District Councils following awarding of LEVI funding - ECC to allocate in line with the commissioned EV strategy, new public EV charging facilities to be procured in 2024.
  • Currently investigating possibility of bringing back electric pool cars (ECC previously had 2x Leaf cars until 2020) to reduce grey fleet mileage
  • Currently investigating daisy chain charging at Belle Isle depot.
  • A report has been commissioned and is currently underway to produce a Net Zero by 2030 plan for the Waterways team, this will cover all aspects of the service including the fleet of boats.


  • New Environmental Requirements have been established and to be introduced for all contracts over £100k and high impact contracts over £25k.
  • More promotion of Green Accord to be made internally, on website and included in email sent to new suppliers.
  • Discussions underway to create or use an existing carbon calculator to allow suppliers to calculate carbon footprints and provide more accurate data to calculate Scope 3 emissions than spend-based method.
  • Discussions underway with housing suppliers to implement Green Accord as a supply chain tool.
  • Action Plan to be put together to deliver Social Value aspects of the Devon Districts Procurement Strategy 2023 – 2027, which contains commitments to carbon reduction and sustainability.

F gases and Waste

  • Net Zero team working with Net Zero Ambassadors to help enforce waste prevention and recycling in the workplace.
  • Study to be sought from SWEEG to assess the carbon emissions of processing waste and recycling collected and sold on by ECC.
  • Discussions to be held with Corporate Property and Housing to ensure maintenance contracts include F gas losses.
  • Discussions with Corporate Property to accurately measure and create an inventory of fgases.
  • Discussions with ECC venues to reduce single use plastic across organisation.

Renewable Energy

  • Full dissemination report of first year of operation of Water Lane solar farm and energy storage technology, as well as outcomes from Riverside, Matford and John Lewis battery storage installations, to be completed by SWEEG.
  • DNO constraints restrict large scale solar development.

Land use change – afforestation

  • Study to be undertaken to evaluate offsetting opportunities
  • 107 standard trees planted city wide in 2023, and 591 whips in a new woodland project at Newhaven fields.
  • Northbrook has planted 50 heritage variety fruit trees, 3,800 native bulbs, 400 hedge row whips which will be extended later in 2024.
  • P&GS service lead and Planning working on Local Infrastructure Plan which will allocate land for offsetting, Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces (SANGs) and BNG.
  • Total glyphosate use at 40L in 2023 (down from 195L used in 2017).
  • ECC stopped spraying on behalf of Highways, so total city use has reduced by 900L in 2023.

Overall organisational change

  • Review of committee reports and accountability to ensure all Council decisions are informed by an analysis of whether they would help or hinder the delivery of the Net Zero ambition for the council and the city underway.
  • 190 members of staff and Councillors have undertaken Carbon Literacy training delivered by 2 members of Net Zero team.
  • 90 members of staff and Councillors ‘certified’ as Carbon Literate so far.
  • Staff members’ Carbon Literacy pledges to be shared in staff newsletters.
  • Maintenance of ‘Climate Emergency’ section on ECC website.
  • Investment Plan to determine what resources would be required to achieve net zero measures to be investigated.
  • Environmental Policy to be produced in 2024.
  • Active engagement with external networks – Devon Climate Emergency Response Group, Devon Climate Emergency Tactical Group, University of Exeter Green Future’s Community of Practice Scope 3 group.