Annual Report

Tackling the Climate Emergency

A carbon neutral borough

In 2019 the Council declared a Climate Emergency, and held the borough’s first Climate conference in February 2020.

We have now made an ambitious commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030 as an organisation, and pledged that the borough will become carbon neutral by 2045. Significant changes will be needed to the way that people live, work and travel to meet these highly challenging goals.

HyNet

In March 2021 the Council welcomed news of a £72m decarbonisation funding boost to create thousands of new jobs and place the borough at the centre of the country’s green industrial revolution.

The HyNet North West hydrogen and carbon capture storage project has secured funding from the Government and from the project's consortium, to help transform the North West region into the world’s first low carbon industrial cluster.

Essar plastics

In February 2021 came further indication that Cheshire West can play a leading role in a green industrial revolution as Ellesmere Port-based Essar Oil (UK) Ltd announced plans for an innovative bio-refinery which will convert waste into low carbon aviation fuel.

The plans mean that hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste that would have been destined for landfill or incineration will be processed into a sustainable fuel source. Earlier this year, Essar also announced its participation in production of blue hydrogen under the HyNet project in Ellesmere Port.

Climate Emergency Fund

As part of the Council's response to building a greener future, a Climate Emergency Fund (CEF) was set up to support a range of low carbon projects in west Cheshire.

This fund will support the ambition for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2045. In addition to £240,000 for Council and Council company projects, the first round of the fund in 2020-21 provided £60,000 to support five community-led initiatives, including tree-planting and renewable energy projects.

To build on this community-led approach, there is £100,000 of capital funding available to bid for in 2021-22. Further funding will be released over the next two financial years up until 2024.

Best recycler

In December, Cheshire West and Chester Council finished top of the Eunomia Research & Recycling Recycling Carbon Index, saving 120kg CO2e per capita in 2018/19.

This makes it the best recycler in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, in terms of avoided carbon emissions in 2018/19.

One of the reasons for the improved performance has been a 3 per cent increase in kerbside collected recycling tonnage, with more than half of the additional material being waste which is free from contaminants, such as food or garden waste otherwise known as dry recycling. This particular type of waste can include glass, plastic, paper or cardboard.

Investment in buildings (supported by Qwest)

In March 2021, the Council company Qwest Services, , secured £5,836,172 from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS). The scheme was launched by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last year as part of a commitment to support the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19 by supporting skilled jobs in the low carbon and energy efficiency sectors.

Council company Qwest submitted 14 buildings identified as being the most appropriate for the installation of Air Source Heat Pumps, Hybrid Heating Systems, Solar PV (Photovoltaic), also known as a solar electric system, and/or light-emitting diode (LED) lighting.

  • Deebank Primary
  • Ellesmere Port Catholic High School
  • Greenbank Primary and Helsby High School
  • Four Council buildings: Chester Crematorium, Grosvenor Museum, Northern Lights and Wyvern House
  • Six Brio Leisure sites are also part of the programme: Ellesmere Port Sports Village, Christleton Sports Centre, Northgate Arena, Northwich Memorial Court, Neston Recreation Centre and Winsford Lifestyle Centre

The investment will reduce annual energy bills by over £50k alongside a carbon reduction of 933 tCO2.

Trees for Climate

Many of the trees planted by The Mersey Forest Partnership in west Cheshire this year have been as a result of concerted efforts to secure new funding as part of the Nature for Climate Fund.

Trees for Climate is a new national programme across England’s Community Forests, funded by The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), totalling £12m to date. The Council is managing the programme as the accountable body which will help deliver against its Climate Emergency commitments, as well as boosting our local economy, reducing flooding and creating new habitats for wildlife.

This winter, The Mersey Forest Partnership has planted nearly 40 hectares of new woodland - twelve times the size of Albert Dock – around Merseyside and Cheshire, within urban parks and green spaces and farmland.

E-scooter trial

The Council, in partnership with e-scooter provider Ginger, launched a 12-month trial in Chester as part of a Department for Transport initiative that was approved by the Government as part of an effort to ease the pressure on local public transport services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The scooters clocked up 64,191 miles – more than enough to travel two and a half times around the Earth.

The pay-as-you-go scooters are hired via a mobile app, that already has 5,810 registered local users who have taken an average of 15 rides each.

Since the launch it has been calculated that all the e-scooter journeys across the city have saved around 18,836 Kg of CO2 had those journeys been done in a petrol or diesel car.

The scheme is being expanded with the 40 available e-scooters soon to become 100 across the city, with over 20 new additional dockless parking bays added to improve access at various locations including Sealand Road Park and Ride.

E-scooter trial

Pension Fund

In October 2019, Cheshire Pension Fund made a landmark £500 million investment as one of the first investors in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) Central Climate Factor Fund, a fund which is moving away from companies with greater carbon emissions and supporting those investing in green technology.