Environmental Sustainability Action Plan

To deliver the aspirations in the climate motion we have developed an Environmental Sustainability Action Plan.

It is a working document which is continually developing, assisted with input from a range of sources including third sector organisations and our local community.
Going beyond carbon, it now includes specific, measurable projects under the headings:

  • Waste/Recycling
  • Land use/agriculture/Biodiversity 
  • Energy/water/resources  
  • Housing and planning 
  • Business and Economic Development
  • Transport

The plan is divided into three sections:

  • Changes to the council's own premises, people and services we deliver
  • Use of our regulatory powers to promote action by others
  • Actions to help us influence and encourage others to do things

Read our Action Plan in full. 

Our aim is to achieve carbon neutrality for East Herts Council's own generated emissions by 2030 and do all that we can to assist in achieving carbon neutrality by the same year for the wider district.

The council wants to reduce reliance on cars to get around the district, improve air quality at pinch points, and increase our use of sustainable materials. It is committed to ensuring good quality housing with a sustainable travel infrastructure which will support the needs of its communities while maintaining the highest environmental standards.

As the Plan progresses, actions are carbon accounted, with proposed milestones, in order to track progress against achieving our 2030 goals.

We’re making good progress on the Action Plan. As each action completes we’ll update you here.


1.1.1 Draw up carbon assessment tool to be to assess all council projects COMPLETE -  In use
1.1.2 Undertake initial review of current EH sustainability purchasing statements included within existing service contracts to determine effectiveness and relevance.  COMPLETE - Our Contract Procedure Rules now ensure that procurement is conducted in a sustainable manner, taking environmental impact into account.
The guidelines ask consideration of: do you really need it,  can you specify a product service or works that is inherently more sustainable and that evaluation of the sustainability of the delivery of the goods works or service is undertaken.
1.1.4 Explicitly refer to sustainability outcomes in MTFP from 2020/21 budget onwards COMPLETE - Now standard element of council's budget planning.
1.1.5 Amend the council’s procurement regulations to explicitly include consideration of carbon footprint
(a) the determination of whether to procure
(b) the specification for good and/or services to be procured and
(c) the quality assessment of competing tenders.
COMPLETE - Contract procedure rules amended.
1.3 Carry out a staff survey to gather ideas for environmental sustainability COMPELTE - 9 ideas were already in the Action Plan. Of the remainder, (24/69) 35% have been created as specific additional line items. The remainder, are already either complete, incorporated within a wider Action Plan line item or can be dealt with outside of the Action Plan.
1.4.4 WALLFIELDS - Replace light fittings with LED COMPELTE - Full replacement in December 2020.
1.4.5 WALLFIELDS - Review Local Authority decarbonisation grant scheme COMPLETE -  Investigated but oversubscribed.
1.5.4 BUNTINGFORD - Review Local Authority Decarbonisation Grant Scheme COMPLETE -  Investigated but oversubscribed.
1.6.1 Audit current numbers of/need for e-chargers across all carparks COMPLETE - Audit information now informing installation works across all carparks. NORTHGATE END - (Bishop's Stortford) Investigate opportunities for installation of solar canopy on top deck. COMPLETE - August 2021. Viability of taking this forward has been investigated. While there are no plans at present to install a solar canopy, we will remain vigilant regarding inward investment opportunities to take this forward. NORTHGATE END - Investigate opportunities for maximising sustainability during construction. COMPLETE - May 2021 - A wet woodland incorporating over 300 shrubs and trees has been planted to the side of the car park providing biodiversity enhancement to the area. 54 e-chargers and LED lighting will be installed on completion.
1.7.1 Investigate/procure 100% low-carbon electricity COMPLETE - From 1st April 2021, when our energy accounts as part of CCS framework swap from British gas to EDF, we will be placed on their Blue for Business tariff which used 100% low carbon energy.
This exercise has gone partially beyond the original existing EDF contracts i.e. 19 rather than 4 contracts  and includes the BG electricity contracts which are for smaller site e.g. toilets so is a positive move. The intention once further contract renegotiation is possible is to look to move to 100% renewable.
1.8.1 GRANGE PADDOCKS - Maximise environmental opportunities sustainability through the tender evaluation process. COMPLETE - Tender specification fully reviewed
1.8.2 GRANGE PADDOCKS - Investigate opportunities for Solar PV installation COMPLETE  - These are now installed  (April 2021) and producing 16.38kW at peak levels.
1.9.1 HARTHAM - Maximise environmental sustainability opportunities through the tender evaluation process. COMPLETE - Works commenced
1.12.3 Undertake energy saving improvement at the Hillcrest Council- owned hostel All common parts and individual flats have been retrofitted with LED replacements in recent years. 
1.12.4 Undertake energy saving improvement at the Rectory Council- owned hostel COMPELTE - Since the property was purchased in 2020, the main building has been improved by replacement hot water boilers, new thermostatic and on/off controls to existing radiators, LED lights throughout and movement sensors  in all common parts.

The Annex and Cedar Cottage (now converted into six new bedsits for single homeless people) has LED lights, two new gas boilers from a previous  three, communal heating systems, replacement  double glazing from single and thermal loft, floor and ceiling insulation.

Revised EPC certificate requested to calculate savings.
1.15 Assess evidence-base for benefits of green walls COMPLETE - Incorporated into the Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) which was passed at full council in March 2021.
1.17 Maximise environmental sustainability opportunities through Hertford Hydro The Executive Committee has now considered the updated business case for the Hydro and have determined that alternative investments elsewhere will be more beneficial to environmental sustainability and climate change progress.
1.18.1 Introduce video-conferencing technology in council buildings COMPLETE - Q3 2020 (FY)
1.19 Confirm Terms of Reference for Environmental Sustainability Corporate Group with a view to include wider sustainability issues beyond immediate carbon measures. COMPLETE - Beyond carbon accounting, this Action Plan now incorporates the following terms :

-  Waste/Recycling
-  Land use/agriculture/Biodiversity
- Energy/water/resources 
- Housing and planning
- Business and Economic Development
- Transport
2.0  Use regulatory powers to promote action by others  
2.1.1 Publish an Environmental Sustainability SPD
Climate declaration - climate friendly planning and building control regulations
COMPLETE - Agreed at Full Council 2nd March 2021 and now published on East Herts Council website.
2.3 Survey locally active residential developers to better understand barriers to higher energy efficiency/Passivhaus development COMPLETE - Results of survey provided useful information. HCCSP Carbon Group is looking to develop actions around upskilling of contractors on a County-wide basis.
2.4.1 Understanding the sign off process and ensuring sustainability gains in relation to the ambitions of the climate change Action Plan are facilitated in future s106 agreements COMPLETE - All proposed planning permissions where s106 is triggered are now notified to Environmental Sustainability. The sign off process and stakeholders for the different types of allocations are known and work is underway to embed environmental sustainability personnel and factors more closely into the decision making process, potentially through the development of a check list.
2.6 Install anti-idling guidance/advisory signage in council carparks. COMPLETE - A Clean Air Day campaign was rolled out across East Herts and materials shared with other Hertfordshire Local Authorities. 26 anti-idling signs were also installed in car parks across East Herts.
3.0 Influence and encourage others to do things  
3.2 Climate Declaration - Establish and run a multi-agency/stakeholder Environmental and Climate Forum meeting every two months and ensure Action Plan is updated on a monthly basis and made available to the public via our website. COMPLETE - Now established and meeting every two months with different themes per meeting. The Action Plan is updated on a monthly basis and shared on our website. Investigate options to sign up to Queen's Canopy Project once officially launched in May. COMPLETE - East Herts marked the launch of the Queens Canopy initiative on 24th May via a Council staff volunteering day. This saw us plant over 300 native trees and shrubs at Northgate End in Bishop’s Stortford, creating a ‘wet woodland’ in the heart of the town, accessible to everyone. Contact with HCC (who are holding a database of trees planted) is also established and work is underway to publish further promotional information to Parish/Town Councils and community groups.
3.5.1 Write to ministers to initiate dialogue about powers and freedoms to support delivery of climate change commitments COMPLETE - The Leader of the Council wrote to the Secretary of State in January 2020 requesting further support in achieving the stated climate change aims. 
3.9 Install more bicycle racks in the five market towns The three, two tier cycle racks originally sited in Hertford, Buntingford and Bishop’s Stortford have had to be relocated to support school community active travel for students and staff resulting in Richard Hale, Ward Freeman and Bishop’s Stortford High School being pleased to accept these 16 bike rack storage facilities. Sawbridgeworth Cycle rack in Bell Street is in the process of being made more accessible and will be repositioned slightly to enable this. The new Ware site at Burgage Lane is being re-purposed to accommodate the rack, enabling good travel connections with the new medical centre, Ware High Street and the canal cycleways.
3.15 Hertford Subways AQMA project  COMPLETE - Subways now opened. Some minor works to be completed e.g. relocation of the litter bin.
3.17.2 Integrate sustainability topics within the agenda for East Herts Parish Council meetings. COMPLETE - First meeting to be held in June 21 with sustainability continuing to part of the ongoing agenda.