Agenda and draft minutes

Climate Change Cabinet Advisory Group - Monday, 9th October, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent. View directions

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from the following Members:


Councillor Bright;

Councillor Huxley;

Councillor Pope;

Councillor Barlow.


Review progress on climate change action to 2023 pdf icon PDF 6 MB

Slideshow presentation by Climate change officer summarising action to September 2023.


Dr Hannah Scott, Climate Change Officer gave a presentation including the following points:


·  As part of the Council’s pledge to address climate change, a number of initiatives were taken by the Council;

·  the Planning Policy had been changed to stipulate 110L capacity for new household water use instead of the standard 125L;

·  A number of other stipulations were included in the planning applications requirements;

·  The lowest emission vehicles on the market for the waste and recycle fleet were bought in 2020;

·  The mileage for waste collection vehicles were reduced to decrease diesel use;

·  Paper use on the office (i.e. through printing) had been reduced; for example, £190k had been used for printing in 2013 and in 2022 it was down to £76k;


·  Thanet now meets all UK air quality standards;

·  Some EV charging ports had been installed in TDC car parks and more are still to be installed;

·  An Energy Officer has been employed by the Council and the team had secured funding for many households to reduce high energy use for these households;

·  The Net Zero Strategy had been developed with an Action Plan underneath it;

·  Tree planting activities had been carried out across the district led by a Tree Planting Coordinator who had been contracted by the Council through a fully funded external grant;

·  KCC action: The George V Park had been turned into an urban drainage biodiversity area;


·  An Education Enforcement Officer had also been employed by the Council in 2021;

·  This officer established the Sustainability Forum;

·  The Thanet Coast Project had engaged thousands of volunteers to keep the coastline clean;

·  Through the S106 funding the Birdwise Project was created to protect the habitat for the protected bird species that nestle there;

·  The Council had been monitoring its carbon footprint where the highest emissions were recorded for the Ramsgate and Margate Leisure Centres, the offices that TDC occupy and the fleet;

·  A budget had been set aside for the purchase of electric vehicles in three years’ time;

·  Work is now taking place to install ev charging ports;

·  The main challenge with EV for waste collection was the mileage the bin lorries cover before recharging;

·  Boilers at the main council offices and the Kent Innovation Centre need replacing and the new Decarb Officer will be leading these new projects.

·  The wider TDC emissions within the Council’s spending was 3.5 tonnes of CO2e in 2019 - this will have increased in more recent years due to funds such as Levelling Up and the Town Deals;

·  The Council has added 5% climate change weighting to all its procurement;


·  There is a need to question whether the Council should procure from companies that have not pledged to decarbonisation going forwards;

·  The largest Thanet wide emissions are from housing and transport;

·  There were a number of initiatives for retrofitting Thanet homes;

·  The Net Zero Strategy and its related Action Plan were progressing well;

·  Moving forward all new housing development should not have gas installed;

·  Ashford Borough Council were working on such an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Biodiversity on TDC land presentation pdf icon PDF 11 MB

Slideshow presentation by the Tree and Biodiversity Coordinator on Foreness point, wildflower patches and tree planting.


Members listened to the pre-recorded presentation provided by Phoebe Cullingworth, Tree and Biodiversity Co-ordinator and the following comments were made:


  • Thanet coastline was home to 22 out of 24 UK Bumble Bee species;
  • The decline of wildflowers across the UK had affected bee species;
  • There was a need for a management plan for the preservation of wildflower meadows that would help restore flower biodiversity;
  • Management of Foreness Point: There was currently a plan for rotational cutting of meadows to help re-flower the area;
  • Rotational cutting curbed the growth of plants that destroy these flowers;
  • Biodiversity walks were conducted with residents;
  • Mini woodlands had been established and tree planting carried out in Ramsgate through the Forgotten Places Project;
  • There are now 100 standard trees and 1000 whips planted across three sites in Ramsgate;
  • There was a tree care plan with weekly schedule for weeding and watering;

·  There had been good community involvement in planting these trees;

  • These trees had contributed to the wildlife biodiversity in this area.


Next Steps

  • This would include maintaining Foreness Point wildflower meadow;
  • The Council would run an Alexander clearance day in February 2024;
  • Officers would maintain tree care for one year;
  • Officers would investigate whether there could be a TDC memorial tree scheme


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


  • Birchington Parish Council were considering having memorial trees as well;
  • The Parish Council was encouraging residents to plant a tree;
  • KCC were also receiving by monthly presentations from Southern Water;
  • What happened with the bid for wildflower meadows that the Council submitted?
  • There was a need for the new Open Spaces Officer to have a clear understanding of the budget allocated to their service area;
  • The Council needed to expand the biodiversity projects across the district;
  • Could CAG ask the Head of Coastal and Public Realm to attend a meeting to discuss the budget for biodiversity in open spaces? 
  • There was a view that machinery being used by the Open Spaces team was dilapidated and needed changing;
  • There was a scheme in the County for wildflower seeds to spread that could be distributed to communities to spread;
  • Urban street trees: It was difficult to install or replace these trees under the current County bylaws. Was there any chance that KCC could have a re-think?


Dr Scott and Hannah Thorpe responded to Member questions and comments as follows:


  • The Council was not successful with the wildflower meadows bid. The bid did not go past the first stage;
  • There would be conversations held to explore the longer-term options for the Tree and Biodiversity Coordinator role, which is currently funded until June 2024;
  • There had recently been an appointment to the Head of Coastal and Public Realm position. In light of the questions being raised by the CAG, an invitation could be extended for the new Head of Service to provide a more detailed update at a future meeting of the CAG. 


Councillor Yates proposed, Councillor Pressland seconded and Members agreed to invite Tony Marmo to the next  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


KCC Historic Trees Pilot

Slideshow presentation by KCC Trees Outside Woodlands Project Officer. Reinstating trees and hedgerows on farmland.


The item was withdrawn as the pilot will focus on Dover District this year and not Thanet.


Green Tourism Update pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Slideshow by Tourism Manager on embedding sustainability into tourism with Thanet.


Paula Harbidge led the discussion and made the following comments:


  • The Council has a Destination Management Framework in place and this was about shared priorities working with local businesses and organisations. All partners involved in Thanet’s Visitor economy including local businesses were key in developing the plan;
  • The framework is about strengthening and growing the sector, in value not necessarily about volume by increasing visitor spend through staying visitor and extending the season and a more sustainable tourism economy in Thanet;
  • The Council was keen to showcase to those businesses about using sustainable approaches for reducing the carbon footprint;
  • A Green Tourism Toolkit had been launched which focused on areas of energy, water, waste and supply chain to reduce the carbon footprint;
  • Content including, web pages, blogs and social media had been created to share the information for incoming visitors, encouraging off-peak visitors to come to the district and keeping the coastline clean; 
  • There are monthly newsletters going out that include green topics and the Council has a very good relationship with Southeastern Railway and they help in passing on the message about visiting Thanet;
  • The Council is working with Kent County Council and Kent Districts on a new sustainable tourism action plan for Kent for 2023-2030;
  • There is a green champion in the Tourism Team who had undertaken some training;
  • Electric Vehicles had been ordered for the team;
  • The team was working on ideas working with businesses for making it easier for visitors to hire and store electric bikes for cycling around the district when visiting Thanet;


Next Steps

  • The team was exploring opportunities with transport providers to encourage overnight visitors;
  • The Team was also working on progressing with businesses the cycles for hire provision as storage for bikes for visitors;
  • Business surveys to be repeated and the results compared with previous surveys carried out in 2021;
  • The team has looked into whether the council could join the Green Destination Standards. However, this was a resource intensive commitment as it required a dedicated officer and a Green Destination Plan to be developed.


Members made comments and asked questions as follows:


  • The team could explore local food and highlight local fishing vessels and encourage local businesses to buy from them;
  • They could also highlight the local agricultural produce and encourage businesses to use these;
  • Local Green Heroes: Highlight and publicise all these give them support;
  • Locally cut flowers should also be highlighted;
  • How were Impact Heroes identified?
  • Malle Beach Run Events: There would usually be over 400 bikes running on the main sands;
  • Could the CAG get a report on whether there was any negative impact on local beaches as a result?


Paula Harbidge responded to Member comments and questions as follows:


  • It was good idea to highlight local businesses and local agricultural produce a bit more;
  • Nash Farm and other similar farms would be included for publicity by the team;
  • Impact Heroes were identified through an online form that was completed. Thanet Coast Project, Windmill Community Projects and Dane  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.


Climate Change Communication Plan pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Head of Strategy and Transformation will present the climate change comms plan.


Hannah Thorpe, led the discussion and made comments as follows:


  • There was a Comms Plan from when TDC made a pledge on climate change;
  • The plan had been to share the information on what the Council was doing regarding the pledge;
  • The Comms Team would be conducting public surveys to get communities involved in activities on climate change;
  • The Council would work on influencing businesses and partners to make green decisions and influence households regarding making green decisions as well;
  • The Council would also like to take a lead by example when it comes to making green decisions;
  • There was now a proposed new corporate priority on protecting our environment;
  • A stakeholder mapping exercise would be conducted;
  • The Youth Council would be engaged to get some feedback on what young people thought about the Council’s climate change work;
  • The team would be monitoring the effectiveness in communicating the Council’s green work;
  • A report on climate change branding and stakeholder mapping would be brought to the next CAG meeting.


Members made comments as follows:


  • It was a good idea to engage the young people;
  • The KPIs were quite clear;
  • Engagement with local farmers was something worth considering;
  • The Council should encourage the introduction of agroforestry to farmers in order to increase agroforestry corridors;
  • Contacting and engaging young farmers would also be a good idea of moving the green agenda.


Hannah Thorpe and Dr Scott responded as follows:


  • There was a suggestion that any new climate change network forum could invite farmers too.
  • There was also a sustainable farming network that could be a useful forum to network with, however this work is mainly the remit of KCC where they have more resources.


Members noted the report.


General update pdf icon PDF 745 KB

From other officers present on emissions from transport and housing. Regulatory Services Manager and Sustainability Energy Project Lead.


Morgan Sproates gave an update and made the following comments:


  • Urban cycle and walking audits had been carried out;
  • Currently there are some £42k grant funded works ongoing. These included £12k development of LCIWP, £20K Rural Audit and £10k scheme planning and network design works (for one prioritised scheme);
  • The Council had been carrying out events across the district including some held in Minster;
  • An online public consultation was currently being conducted on potential areas for improvement and what could be done to encourage cycling;
  • There were about 80 comments received so far;
  • A bid was submitted by TDC at the end of September 2023 for £74k for a grant partnership proposal. This would be for a 2-year air quality sensor monitoring public information service;
  • The data generated from this would then be incorporated into the Kent wide AQ website;
  • The Council would continue to raise awareness about air quality to the public.


Members asked questions and made comments as follows:


  • What other actions was Council encouraging in relation to idling vehicles?
  • KCC accidents stats: Thanet had emerged as the highest number of casualties involving children;


Morgan Sproates said that aside from education, officers could look into the enforcement approach. 


Ashley Jackson gave an update report and made the following points:


  • There have been no significant energy-related developments to report:
  • Advice Service: We've recently completed the recruitment process for the Home Energy Assistant role, and the new team member is scheduled to start at the end of this month;
  • HUG2 and ECO4 Delivery: Unfortunately, there have been some delays in the delivery of HUG2 and ECO4 projects due to legal contracts. We now anticipate that these projects will be completed in late October or November 2023;
  • LEAD - Hero: There are no updates to report at this time for the LEAD – Hero project.
  • Solar Together Scheme: The Solar Together scheme is currently open and active, offering opportunities for homeowners to explore solar energy options;
  • Household Support Fund: There have been no recent updates regarding the Household Support Fund, but we are on track to meet our targets;
  • Additionally, there were several upcoming events scheduled in our diary, which will provide opportunities for further discussions and updates.


Members asked questions as follows:


  • Was this managed by the Citizens Advisory Bureau?
  • Was there anything that councillors could do to advertise this facility of support to struggling households?
  • How did the fund work?


Ashley Jackson responded to Member questions as follows:


  • The Council had allocated the fund to third party organisations;
  • Officers had not been advertising the availability of the support fund;
  • The Council had received the fourth tranche under this KCC funding and some funding had been given to the Citizens Advisory Bureau.


Members noted the report.


Climate change related events

Updates from officers and CAG members on any climate change related upcoming events.


Councillor Davis advised the meeting that there was an upcoming statutory public consultation regarding the proposed Sea Link project. This project had significant environmental implications for the Minster Marshes and local residents. The consultation would run from 24 October 2023 to 18 December 2023.