Epsom & Ewell Borough Council and Climate Change
On 23 July 2019 the Council committed to tackling Climate Change and addressing Epsom & Ewell Borough Council carbon emissions.
In 2020 The Council’s Climate Change Action Plan was developed, setting an ambitious target of becoming carbon neutral by the year 2035. It sets out plans to implement a range of measures to reduce the Council's own emissions as well as promoting good practice throughout the Borough. The plan is intended as a living document which will be reviewed and updated over time. You can read the Climate Change Action Plan progress updates for 2023, 2022 and 2021 here.
A cross-party Members Climate Change Working Group, and an Officer Action Group, have been set up to support and oversee delivery of the Action Plan.
On this page, you can find:
Epsom & Ewell Climate Change Action Plan – progress so far
What can residents do?
Our vision for the future
Plus - take a look at the Epsom & Ewell Borough Biodiversity Action Plan here.
Our progress so far
- Operational carbon footprint
- Council buildings
- Council vehicles
- Decision-making & planning
- Local community
- Tackling waste
Operational carbon footprint
- The carbon footprint for the Council's operations (Scope 1 & 2) were baselined for the period 2019/20 and have since been calculated on an annual basis (using the Local Government Association’s Greenhouse Gas Accounting Tool).
- Our operational carbon footprint has reduced each year since 2019 when we first began measuring it. In 2021/22 our carbon footprint was 1,249tCO2e (tonnes of CO2 equivalent).
- Emissions are predominantly from gas and electricity consumption in Council owned and operated buildings, and the Council fleet (waste lorries, street cleaning vehicles and other transport e.g. community transport services).
- The annual Council operational carbon footprint figures are:
- 2021/22: 1,249tCO2e (tonnes of CO2 equivalent)
- 2020/21: 1,287tCO2e
- 2019/20: 1,466tCO2e
- Indirect emissions from Council activity are categorised as Scope 3 emissions. This can include emissions from purchased goods and services, business travel, employee commuting, waste disposal, water consumption and leased assets. Whilst Scope 3 emissions are generally more difficult to account for, the Council is working to address its Scope 3 emissions through our Climate Change Action Plan.
- Energy efficient / LED lights have been installed in 11 Council buildings and are due to be installed in three more locations in 2023.
- PV panels have been installed on the Epsom & Ewell Borough Council Depot roof. This has generated over 130,000kWh of electricity and saved 35tonnes of CO2 emissions.
- Epsom Playhouse is planned to have a Solar PV array installed in 2023 and the feasibility of installing the same on two further Council buildings is being investigated.
- Since October 2020, the energy supply for all Council buildings has been from a green tariff that guarantees energy from renewable sources.
- Addressing CO2 emissions is an explicit priority within the Council’s Asset Management Plan. Carbon emissions for each of the Councils operational buildings has been calculated and will inform future decisions.
- Thermal imagery surveys have been undertaken at Bourne Hall, Epsom Playhouse, Epsom & Ewell Borough Council Depot & the Community & Wellbeing Centre. This information will inform business cases to reduce heat loss e.g. by improving insulation.
- Plastic cups are no longer provided in Council buildings. Plastic-based refreshment supplies are avoided.
- The Council’s procurement strategy has been updated to include the impact of single-use plastics and climate change.
- Segregated office recycling bins have been introduced.
- To reduce journeys and to make it easier to work online, high speed wi-fi has been implemented in all main Council buildings.
- We introduced an electric staff pool vehicle.
- Low carbon fleet options are reviewed on a regular basis and considered as part of a Climate Change & Transport (Fleet) report first produced in 2019 and now being updated for 2023. Most of the fleet vehicles are leased until 2027. Our emphasis is on planning ahead for renewal dates.
Decision-making and planning
- Since May 2020, climate change impact is discussed in every Council Committee report and all committee reports include details of any climate & environmental impact of recommendations.
- The Climate Change Action Plan is embedded as part of the Council’s corporate plan. It is a priority under the ‘Green & Vibrant’ theme.
- An audit of all Council policies has been undertaken to identify degree of impact on climate change.
- We supported Solar Together. A group buying scheme to help residents obtain highly competitive prices for solar technology on their homes. It led to 60 household installations in Epsom & Ewell, giving a projected carbon saving of over 50 tonnes per year across the Borough.
- We continue to work with Action Surrey to help residents access energy efficiency funding and give free impartial energy advice. Over 1,000 energy efficiency measures have been installed in homes in Epsom & Ewell, through grant funding, up to March 2023.
- The Council has worked with local crematoriums to ensure that the burial of cremated remains is now in Bioboxes (containers made of environmentally friendly material) instead of Polytainers (containers made of plastic).
- 12 public electric vehicle charging points have been installed In Council car parks across the Borough with a further 4 due to be installed in the next 12 months. Find electric vehicle charging points in Epsom & Ewell here.
- In 2022 Epsom & Ewell Borough Council ran an anti-idling communications campaign to discourage car drivers from running their engine whilst stationary. Our enforcement team also warned and fined people found running their engine whilst sitting stationary for more than one minute.
- 6 drinking water fountains have been installed across the Borough to help reduce single-use plastic.
- A tree-management plan for the Borough has been developed and will be introduced in 2023. It includes a plan for planting more trees on Council land.
- We are working with Natural England and the Epsom Common Association to secure National Nature Reserve status for Epsom Common LNR.
- The Council helped launch the Epsom Repair Café.
- A new initiative, Business Bins, was introduced to help businesses in Epsom & Ewell recycle their waste.
- All town centre bins now include a clearly labelled recycling bin.
- At Epsom & Ewell Borough Council we work with local groups to help drive sustainable pratices e.g. Parks Friends Groups, the Tree Advisory Board, Lower Mole Partnership, E&E Local Biodiversity Action Plan Working Group.
- We're also an active member of county wide collaborative groups working to address climate change, including the Borough & District Climate Change Officers Group, Greener Futures Partnership Board, Surrey Electric Vehicle Forum, the Surrey Environment Partnership and Surrey Energy Partnership.
Annual progress updates on delivery of the Climate Change Action Plan
- Climate Change Action Plan progress update Jan 2021
- Climate Change Action Plan progress update Jan 2022
- Climate Change Action Plan progress update Jan 2023
What can residents do?
There are practical steps you can take at home to implement a positive impact on your own emissions:
Within your home:
- Power down your energy use - switch off appliances and lights when you’re not using them.
- Draught proof and insulate your home;
- it’s easy to add insulation to your roof or loft
- insulate cavity walls
- insulate ground floors and any floors above unheated spaces such as garages.
- Buy energy-efficient products (look for the energy infographic that tells you how much energy the appliance uses. Energy efficient appliances save you money as well as reducing your home’s carbon footprint).
- Turn your heating down a degree or two.
- Install solar panels on your roof (leave your details here to hear about group buying solar panels when registration opens in Epsom & Ewell in June).
- Switch to a zero-carbon or renewable energy provider (find out more about zero-carbon or renewable energy providers here).
- Get free impartial energy advice and the latest on any grants, loans and funding available towards energy efficiency improvements in your property by speaking to Action Surrey
- For more inspiration on how to heat your home in a more energy-efficient way, visit: energysavingtrust.org.uk/energy-at-home
- Dress (climate) smart - buy fewer new clothes and wear them longer. You can also try to buy from sustainable labels and use rental services for special occasions. Find out about local markets here: epsom-ewell.gov.uk/epsom-market
- Recycle pre-loved clothes and repair your clothes when possible.
- Even look at where you invest your money and choose planet friendly investments.
Give nature a home in your garden
- One of the best ways to support local wildlife is to fill your garden with native plants, shrubs or trees. They provide food and habitats for insects and animals living nearby.
- Trees lend gardens shade, privacy, fruit, colour, fragrance – as well as valuable environmental benefits like reduced noise pollution, improved air quality, protection from flooding and soil erosion, and absorption of carbon dioxide which helps combat climate change. Trees also give local wildlife valuable food, shelter and nesting sites. Why not plant a tree in your garden? Take a look here to find out which trees are native to the UK.
- Rather than laurel or leylandii for hedges, consider using privet, hazel, beech or yew. These plants are better for local wildlife and make good hedges.
- Transform your transport – if you’re travelling a short distance, why not leave your car at home and walk or cycle?
- Choose public transport (electric if you can).
- Some companies offer carpool schemes to reduce the number of cars that need to be driven to a workplace. Could you carpool with a colleague?
- Invest in an electric car.
- Reduce the number of long-haul flights you take.
Food & drink
- Tweak your diet – try to eat more plant-based food, and less meat and dairy which are known to have a higher environmental impact. There are lots of recipes here: nhs.uk/healthier-families/recipes (tick the ‘vegetarian’ filter for recipes without meat).
- Shop local and buy sustainable - buy local and seasonal foods; try growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs. Farmers markets are a great place to buy local: Epsom & Ewell markets
- Try to waste less food – plan meals ahead of time, only buy what you need and measure portion sizes before cooking them.
- Don’t waste leftovers - use your freezer to store them, use them to make another dish, or contribute to a local food-sharing scheme. You can also use unwanted food to make compost. Or make use of the weekly food waste recycling collections.
Spread the word
- Talk about the changes you make - conversations are a great way to spread big ideas; share your experiences with your family, friends, customers and clients; talk positively, and be honest about the ups and downs.
- Talk to us! We’ll be posting tips and inspiration on social media. Why not follow us on facebook, twitter or instagram and let us know how you’re getting on.
Our vision for the future
The Council’s long-term vision for Epsom & Ewell, Future40, was developed through the largest engagement exercise ever undertaken in the Borough. The vision provides an opportunity to harness the borough’s inherent strengths and gives confidence that by working together, we can look forward to an even more successful future. Read about Future40, the Council’s vision for Epsom & Ewell or download the Future40 vision here.
Green & Vibrant
One of the six themes outlined in the plan is called ‘Green & Vibrant’.This theme outlines the Council's vision for Epsom & Ewell as:
- A place where people care deeply about the environment
- Rich with biodiversity and the best that nature has to offer
- A great place to go walking or cycling with friends and family
- A place with access to fantastic countryside and clean air
- Tree lined streets with some of the best examples of eco-buildings
- Clean and well-maintained environment
- Beautiful and well-designed public spaces
In 2040… Epsom and Ewell is a modern market borough where nature and countryside thrive alongside sustainable, well-designed developments and vibrant public spaces where people can meet, play and relax. In the future, our borough will offer greener, more energy efficient transport options including safe and improved cycle routes and walkways.
Working together for a greener future
Whilst the Council is committed to making its own operations carbon neutral, we recognise that only a small proportion (less than one percent) of the Borough's emissions are within our direct control. Achieving a carbon neutral Epsom & Ewell will only be possible by working with our neighbouring authorities, local residents and businesses.
Surrey County Council Climate Change Strategy
Surrey's Climate Change Strategy supports the shared ambition of Surrey's 12 local authorities for Surrey's residents to live in a clean, safe and green communities, where people and organisations embrace their environmental responsibilities and sets out the collective approach to do our part to tackle climate change. Visit Surrey County Council's Greener Futures website for more information on action being taken across the County and ways you can get involved.