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Sustainability and Climate Change

Welcome to the County Council’s Sustainability and Climate Change pages!

There are many different ways to describe sustainability. In general, it means improving our quality of life without damaging the quality of life of future generations. It’s very easy to forget that the actions we take today will ultimately effect generations further down the line. One way to think of it is that “we do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors - we borrow it from our children”. Sustainable development aims to overcome this. We can all do our bit to achieve this, whether as an individual, at work or within the wider community.

The County Council uses the Government definition which defines sustainability as meeting the following four objectives:

  • Effective protection of the environment
  • Prudent use of natural resources
  • Social progress which meets the needs of everyone
  • High and stable levels of economic growth and employment at the same time, in Lincolnshire and the world as a whole

The following pages outline some of the ways in which the council is promoting and embedding sustainable development into its day to day work and practices. You can find information on the Carbon Management Plan, the Environmental Policy and how we report on our Greenhouse Gas emissions. You can read about how you can do your bit to help the environment and how much the council has invested and saved in sustainable projects. Or maybe you are part of a school community and would like to know how to become a Sustainable School or would like some more information on waste and recycling in your area.

We hope that you find these pages useful and informative. Sustainability and climate change are often at the forefront of the media, and we believe that as a council we must do as much as we can to minimise our impact to the environment of both today and tomorrow. If we all do a little bit to help our planet, all those ‘little bits’ will soon add up to create one big bit, and as the famous saying goes, every little helps!

What is Climate Change?

Put simply, climate change is the rise in average global temperature and a change in global weather patterns, caused by the ‘Greenhouse Effect’. Human activity has resulted in more greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide and methane) being emitted into our atmosphere, which has resulted in an increase in the average global temperature. In addition to accelerating the melting of the polar ice caps, the Earth is also experiencing an increase in the frequency of ‘extreme’ weather, such as severe storms, flooding and droughts and a rise in sea levels across the planet. These changes have inevitably had an effect on the environment, wildlife and human activity already; we can only speculate the level of impact that this will have in the future.

How will climate change affect Lincolnshire?

Climate change - sea level rise, rainfall and temperature changes - will have an affect across the whole world. In Lincolnshire we can expect to see an impact on our environment, agricultural land use, housing and coastal resorts, amongst other factors.

Climate change will not affect all areas of the UK uniformly. Lincolnshire has some of the best quality agricultural land in the UK and 39% of this land is at or below sea level. The Defra (2006) sea level rise figures for Eastern England suggest that between 2009 and 2105 the sea level could rise by 1.13m. This means many coastal areas are at risk of flooding. Much of this land is grade 1 arable farming land and if there is salt intrusion it could take up to 40 years for the land to recover, therefore it is very important that LCC addresses and prepares for a changing climate.

With around a third of the county at, or below, sea level the increased threat of flooding puts more of the county’s housing developments at risk as well.

Lincolnshire is not only affected by flooding; like much of the UK it also suffers with periods of drought, such as in June 2011. Amongst other things, this can affect farmers and the success of their crops.

In addition to an increased risk of flooding and droughts, Lincolnshire may also experience:

  • Increased risk of severe weather
  • Less water for domestic and other uses
  • Poorer working conditions for staff; as temperatures rise it increases the demand for cooling, which in turn causes higher energy use
  • Higher risk of skin cancer or sun burn due to hotter summers and increased outdoor recreation
  • Heat stress to the old, poor and vulnerable people likely to increase
  • Subsidence damage to buildings
  • Added stress on wildlife and biodiversity

However, climate change will also bring with it some opportunities. Hotter, drier summers could encourage more people to holiday at home, rather than abroad, which Lincolnshire’s tourist industry could benefit from.

What is the council doing to tackle climate change?

The UK’s Climate Change Act 2008 set targets to reduce UK carbon emissions by 34% by 2030 and 80% by 2050. These reductions will be met by adaptive and mitigation measures, including investing in and installing renewable energy and preparing for likely changes in climate. In January 2007, Lincolnshire County Council signed the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change and is committed to cut its 2011-12 baseline for emissions, setting a target to reduce them by 22% by 2018. Following on from the Nottingham Declaration, in 2012 we signed the Climate Local Agreement, committing the Council to addressing both the causes and effects of climate change.

In doing so we acknowledge the increasing impact that climate change will have on our community during the 21st century and commit to tackling the causes and effects of a changing climate on our county.

LCC teams have delivered many projects throughout the county to tackle increased CO2 emissions and climate change. They have also created a risk assessment tool, which supports all LCC teams in understanding the impact that climate change will have on what they do. The risk assessment tool is used to create a comprehensive adaptation action plan.

LCC continue to work in collaboration with other local authorities, sharing information, ideas and resources to help protect Lincolnshire from the effects of climate change. Previous work on adaptation continues with the following steps incorporated into the new Climate Local Agreement work:

  • Tackling the causes requires us to reduce CO2 emissions, for example through renewable energy, carbon management, resource efficiency, transport and waste.
  • Tackling the effects requires us to adapt buildings and environment to respond to likely changes in climate.

The following pages tell you a little bit more about what we have been doing to tackle climate change, through reducing our emissions, investing in green technologies and adapting for the future.

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Last updated: 13 September 2017

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