Our climate change and biodiversity strategies

Last Updated: 5 March 2021

What climate change means for South Lakeland

South Lakeland feels the effect of climate change through warmer, drier summers and wetter winters causing severe storms and flooding, for example Storm Desmond in 2015.

Global temperatures are increasing and there is now strong evidence that this is due to human activity, through burning fossil fuels.

Since the millennium we have had 20 of the 22 hottest years on record. An increase in greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane act like the outside of a greenhouse and trap more heat, causing the temperatures to rise. GOV.UK: climate change explained.

Now we know the causes, we can change our behaviours to live in a low emission way, to help prevent further warming of the planet.

The United Nations agreed at the Paris Treaty in 2016 to keep global warming to two degrees centigrade. The International Panel on Climate Change in 2018 recommended to limit global warming to one point five degrees centigrade to limit the negative impacts around the globe. This requires a global reduction in carbon emissions of 45% by 2030 and to be carbon-neutral by 2050. We are embracing these targets and looking to go further and faster.

We want to be able to lead by example and be a resource to help our communities. Everyone can change their behaviours with small steps. Changes to help lower carbon emissions also have co-benefits to societies, for example making homes more efficient, reduces carbon emissions and also reduces bills, and reducing car dependency can encourage people to use more active travel and have health benefits.

Climate change strategy

We are committed to tackling climate change.

Our ambition is to be a ‘Carbon-Neutral’ Council by 2030 and support a district wide target of 2037.

Our policy on climate change looks at how we can lead the way, and encourage others to take action, by raising public awareness and promoting community projects that encourage low carbon and renewable energy.

We monitor our own carbon footprint and are committed to working in a way that has a positive impact on climate change.

South Lakeland District Council's carbon footprint

Our climate change policy commitments

We acknowledge that climate change is occurring, that man-mad greenhouse gas emissions are a primary cause and that climate change will continue to have far reaching effects on people and places, the economy, society and environment in the District, across the UK and across the world. We seek to maximise the social, economic and environmental benefits which come from combating, and developing resilience to, climate change and developing a sustainable economy.

We commit to playing our part in meeting emissions targets set internationally and through UK carbon budgets. We will work in partnership to respond at a local level, encouraging and helping local residents, local businesses and other organisations to reduce their energy costs, to reduce congestion, to adapt to the impacts of climate change, to improve the local environment and to deal with fuel poverty in our communities.

Our Climate Change Policy commits us to:

  • seeking to achieve net carbon neutral as a Council by 2030
  • supporting a Cumbria wide target of carbon neutrality by 2037 and taking the necessary steps within our powers to achieve this
  • work with central government and neighbouring Councils to contribute, at a local level, to the delivery of the target for carbon dioxide reduction set out in the UK Carbon budget by 2022
  • participate in local and regional networks for support
  • develop plans and support projects with our partners and local communities to progressively address the causes and the impacts of climate change, according to our local priorities, securing maximum benefit for our communities
  • publicly declare, within appropriate plans and strategies, the commitment to achieve a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from our own authority's operations, especially energy sourcing and use, travel and transport, waste production and disposal and the purchasing of goods and services
  • assess the risk associated with climate change and the implications for our services and our communities of climate change impacts and adapt accordingly
  • encourage all sectors in our local community to take the opportunity to adapt to the impacts of climate change, to reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and to make public their commitment to action
  • monitor the progress of our plans against the actions needed and publish the result

Biodiversity protection and enhancement strategy

We are committed to protecting and enhancing our biodiversity here in South Lakeland but also around the world.

In December 2019 the Council approved our Biodiversity Policy (PDF 396KB / 2 pages). The policy helps us to protect biodiversity whilst delivering our key services.