Climate Emergency

Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels to date.  This warming will persist for centuries to millennia, and will continue to cause further long-term changes in the climate system, such as sea level rises.

If global warming continues at the current rate, the temperature increase is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052.  This further warming is expected to cause increases in mean temperatures in most regions, and extremes of temperatures and rainfall (both heavy rainfall and droughts).  This will lead to species extinction, biodiversity loss and climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply and economic growth. 

It is critical that we avoid temperature increases above 1.5°C, as the risks to our planet and ourselves will be so much greater.  Rapid and far-reaching changes in energy, land use, infrastructure and industry are needed to achieve this.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recognises that climate action is needed at all levels of society, including national government, local authorities, the private sector and communities.  This means us, as a council, and you as residents.

In September 2019, the council declared a Climate Emergency and committed to reducing the negative impact of council services on the environment, with an aspiration to be carbon neutral by 2030.  The council also made a commitment to working with partners (including local residents and businesses) to deliver widespread carbon reductions.


We commissioned a carbon and eco- audit to provide data on the council’s carbon footprint along with proposed actions to help the council become carbon neutral by 2030 and reduce the negative ecological impacts of our activities. You can read the full audit here (PDF, 233 KB).  

We have created an Action Plan (PDF, 73 KB) that we are regularly updating so that you can see what we have achieved, what we are researching and the big issues that will take investment. 

What We've Done in May 2021:

  • Included reference to our zero carbon objective in new staff contracts

What We've Done in April 2021:

  • Project with Chiltern Rangers to establish wildflower areas, trees, bird boxes and bird feeders in Chesham Cemetery
  • Installation of bird feeders at Chesham Moor Gym & Swim
  • Changed sports pitch fertiliser used to an organo-mineral fertiliser which promotes stimulation of soil microbes and has lower emissions of ammonia and nitrous oxide than mineral fertilisers

What We've Done in March 2021:

  • Doubled the amount of bike parking spaces at Chesham Moor Gym & Swim to encourage people to ride to the centre
  • Created a new wildflower bed outside Chesham Moor Gym & Swim
  • Attended Sustainable Chesham's Community Assembly on water
  • Staff trained to maximise use of natural light at The Elgiva to reduce use of lights
  • Radiators turned to frost protection for stairwells, toilets and kitchens at The Elgiva
  • Digital thermometers installed at The Elgiva to monitor room temperatures
  • Installed signage at Co-op Field to explain the reduction in mowing
  • Depot office and security lights switched to LEDs
  • Heating in Depot bathroom turned down to frost protection only 
  • Internal lights in Lowndes Park toilets switched to LEDs
  • Town Council issued a letter of support for Thames Water's Smarter Water Catchment Plan which will see £3 million investment into the Chess catchment

What We've Done in February 2021:

  • Started trialling different types of recycled waste sacks for use by the Parks Team
  • Attended a Smarter Water Catchment workshop for the River Chess
  • Committee agreed to reduce intensity of mowing regime at Co-op Field 
  • Attended Bucks Local Nature Recovery Strategy Pilot Information Webinar

What We've Done in January 2021:

  • Meeting held with BBOWT and local volunteer organisations to discuss enhancing habitats in Lowndes Park
  • Reusable whiteboards purchased for the Town Hall to replace flipcharts
  • Source of refuse sacks for the Town Hall switched over to recycled plastic
  • One water heater taken out of use in the Town Hall
  • 30 trees planted at Codmore Field
  • Over 100 hedging plants used to fill in the gaps and extend an old hedgerow on the boundary of Berkhampstead Field Community Meadow
  • Planted 45 trees in the Lowndes Park to fill in gaps in boundary hedges
  • Operated the 'Chip Your Christmas Tree for Free' scheme

What We've Done in November 2020:

  • Quote obtained for installing temperature zoning controls at the Town Hall
  • Investigations made into green energy suppliers (decision pending)
  • Community, Assets and Environment committee agree to purchase of whiteboard (to replace flipcharts), a timer for the Town Hall water heater, a timer for the immersion heater at Codmore Pavilion and to a switch to recycled, plastic bin bags.
  • Bookmarks were created with the 2021 Local Produce Market dates to use less paper than fliers, and were created with 100% recycled paper. 

What We've Done in October 2020:

  • Installed thermometers in the Town Hall to monitor room temperatures
  • Put reflective sheets behind radiators on external walls at the Town Hall to reduce heat loss
  • Rearranged the Town Hall office, so radiators are no longer blocked and can work more effectively
  • Investigated green tarriffs for our electricity and gas (decision yet to be made)
  • Installed explanatory signage for the slow worm hibernacula at Berkhampstead Field Community Meadow
  • Had initial discussion with Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust about environmentally-friendly management of our open spaces
  • Draught-proofed the doors and installed door closers at the Parks Depot
  • Replaced an energy-hungry tea urn with a kettle at the Depot
  • Replaced standard heaters with infra-red heaters in the Depot workshop
  • Put timer controls on the heaters at the Depot
  • Switched over the 100% recycled paper in all parts of the council
  • Using recycled paper for external printing for The Elgiva
  • Produced a cemetery guide on 100% recycled paper

If you have any suggestions or thoughts on what we can do as a council to become carbon neutral, we would love to hear from you.  You can Contact Us via this web site or call us on 01494 583798 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm).