Partnership extended to support carbon neutrality aims

31 July 2020

South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) has extended its partnership with one of Cumbria's leading sustainability organisations in pursuit of its carbon reduction aims.

SLDC's Cabinet approved to put in place a funding agreement with Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) for £100,000 in 2020/21 and £50,000 in 2021/22 to continue and deliver the Low Carbon Communities in South Lakeland Initiative.

The funding will enable CAfS to help the community group Ambleside Action for a Future deliver an "exemplar project" to achieve a zero carbon Ambleside, including measures to help both businesses and residents across the district reduce their carbon footprint.

Councillor Dyan Jones, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Localism, said: "South Lakeland District Council's partnership with CAfS is a really good example of a trusted relationship that combines high-quality expertise with value for money. CAfS deliver in a strategic manner projects that complement our ambitions for delivering sustainability and community action at the heart of all our operations."

She added: "We have set a course to become carbon neutral and this contract enables this council to continue this work across the district. This demonstrates how despite austerity and shrinking budgets this council is committed to delivering on our promises, which is something to be proud of."

SLDC declared a Climate Emergency and has set a target to achieve carbon neutrality in its own operations by 2030, as well as supporting a target of carbon neutrality for Cumbria by 2037. In addition to looking at its own operations, activities and sphere of influence, achieving this target also involves commissioning work with communities and businesses to ensure that everyone plays their part in meeting the target.

‘Low Carbon Communities in South Lakeland' was set up as a trial project in 2019 to look at how communities as a whole could establish targets to become carbon neutral and work towards achieving them. Ambleside was selected as an exemplar and the activities included bringing a community group together, establishing the carbon footprint and identifying scope for renewable energy on a town wide basis including a detailed survey of the potential for solar panels.

Karen Mitchell, chief executive of Cumbria Action for Sustainability, said: “For several years now, South Lakeland District Council has been showing inspirational leadership in their determined action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their area, not least as the first local authority in Cumbria to declare a climate emergency.
“Importantly, the council’s approach has been to involve the community in planning and carrying out actions, and CAfS is pleased to support them in this.
“In Ambleside in particular, the council is making it possible for the community to look at emissions across all aspects of life, so they can plan how to reduce them across their whole place. The impact will go beyond the town itself, thanks to new tools and learning that can be shared with other communities in the district and further afield.”

Low Carbon Communities in South Lakeland will be extended for another two years. Work will include:

  • Working up options and managing feasibility work on new local renewable systems (in the Ambleside exemplar community);
  • Carbon Footprint and Carbon Reduction support for businesses and individuals;
  • Events programme – for communities, businesses and those with an interest in low carbon buildings and to disseminate learning from the Ambleside experience;
  • Establishing a Community Knowledge Hub; and
  • Advising SLDC and Cumbria Leaders on Zero/Low Carbon transition.


Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) is Cumbria’s climate change organisation. Its vision is a zero carbon Cumbria, bringing about a better way of life in balance with the environment. Its mission is to empower and enable people, communities and businesses to live and work more sustainably by sharing its knowledge, practice, skills, networks and practical experience. It promotes low-carbon living, energy saving and reduced use of fossil fuels across Cumbria through its inspiring events, training courses and practical projects. CAfS is a registered charity and company, based in Penrith. Eden Rural Foyer, Old London Road, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 8ET.

Examples of work CAFS has carried out in partnership with SLDC in the last two years include:

  • Advice and installations to 207 homes improving energy efficiency (through SLDC referrals to LEAP Scheme) from 15 Jan 2019 to 2 April 2020;
  • Advice to more than 22 communities on energy efficiency projects including facilitating community microgeneration at Killington, facilitating the development of Burneside Community Energy and energy efficiency improvements at Sandylands pool;
  • Various events and capacity building promoting sustainable energy choices.
  • Continued support to SLDC on carbon reduction planning.
  • Mapping the potential for energy generation from solar photovoltaic panels on domestic rooftops in Ambleside, and coordinating a high-level analysis of the town’s carbon footprint.