Tackling climate change locally

April 14, 2021

Climate change is a global issue but one that can be tackled locally. Planet Woking was launched in September 2020 to raise awareness of local action being taken by the Council and its partners to meet our carbon neutral goals; but also to inspire and encourage you – the local community – to join us and continue to play your part in looking after our environment.

This article takes a look back at the commitment made by the Council in July 2019 and key activities undertaken since.

On 25 July 2019, the Council declared a climate and ecological emergency. This cross-party declaration recognised the continued priority and commitment the borough gives to addressing climate change, both through mitigation and adaptation. The Council pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030 across its own estate and operations.

Further to the declaration, a Climate Emergency Action Plan (CEAP) was approved by the Council on 13 February 2020. This is available on the Council’s website here. The plan highlights and acknowledges this is a continuation of the long term commitment of the Council to protecting the environment and addressing climate change.

Given the breadth of the pledge to reduce (and eventually eliminate) the Council’s own impact and contribution to climate change, the plan is naturally broad ranging. Crucially, it acknowledges the need to accelerate existing Woking 2050 (the Council’s climate change strategy) activities in order to meet the pledge. Every quarter an update on the CEAP and progress against its actions is taken to the Climate Change Working Group. The updates are available here.

Key activities undertaken to date (post July 2019)

A number of key activities and projects have been progressed since the Council’s climate and ecological emergency declaration. These activities build on a strong foundation of green initiatives that pre-date July 2019 which are recorded on the Council’s website here.

The nature of the declaration is such that many activities are cross-service and involve inter-departmental working. All Council activities and services have an important part to play in reducing its overall climate impact. This is reflected in the themes of Woking 2050 and the CEAP. A summary of local action taken by the Council and its partners to meet our carbon neutral goals is shown below. Full details are available in the CEAP updates.

Partnership working and collaboration

Many activities and projects continue to be made possible through working together with key stakeholders, commercial partners and volunteer organisations to meet our common environmental goals. These activities are key to achieving carbon neutrality both across the council estate and borough-wide.

Our continuing collaboration with ThamesWey and Action Surrey is highlighted in projects listed above and in the CEAP updates. Such projects are central to decarbonising corporate energy supplies (e.g. Poole Road Energy Centre) and engaging residents in the take up of energy efficiency measures (e.g. Green Jump Surrey) and the reduction of the borough’s domestic carbon footprint. Action Surrey provides an impartial energy advice service through which Surrey residents can access a network of trusted, local and experienced installers for various energy saving measures, such as loft insulation, cavity and solid wall insulation, energy efficient boilers, LED lighting, solar panels and more. As well as improving household energy efficiency, their services assist in tackling local fuel poverty.  

Another significant partner in progressing community focused climate and ecological activities is Woking Environment Action (WeAct). WeAct works to tackle global environmental concerns on a local scale, encouraging sustainable living and working in the Woking area, helping residents, businesses and organisations to make a positive difference to our local environment. The group’s work also contributes towards delivery of the Woking 2050 and Natural Woking strategies. Woking Borough Council supports their projects and they are represented on its Climate Change Working Group to help progress our action plans and key objectives.

Organisations such as the Surrey Heathland Partnership and Surrey Wildlife Trust are also essential to the valuable management work being undertaken, in partnership with the Council, to protect our local habitats and species in furtherance of our ecological commitments.


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