Consultation document

Responding to climate change

There is a statutory duty on us to include policies in the Local Plan that are designed to tackle climate change and its impacts. This will play a big part across all themes of the Local Plan and all policies.

The council has declared a climate change emergency and has made a pledge to make the borough council carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both the production and consumption emissions.

Our Local Plan will have a central role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and supporting the transition to a low carbon future. As well as delivering improvements to flood risk, air quality, recycling and waste management.

Currently national policy requires us to:

  • Help achieve ambitious targets for carbon emission reduction;
  • Support improvements to energy efficiency in new and existing buildings;
  • Take account of, mitigate and adapt for the impacts of climate change;
  • Support renewable and decentralised energy; and
  • Do this without compromising growth.

Carbon emissions per person/capita in Elmbridge are high compared to the country as a whole. This is mainly due to road transport emissions and higher than average domestic emissions.

Renewable energy capacity is also lower than in other areas. There is high water consumption per person even though we are in a water-stressed area where supply is limited. Waste management and recycling in the borough is above the national average however, there is still room for improvement. Climate projections show that the most significant change we are likely to experience is in relation to rainfall. It is predicted that we will move to much wetter winters and drier summers. Temperatures are highly likely to rise and cloud cover and humidity in summer is set to decrease.


A flood warning sign on the side of a flooded public road


Our current plan already includes climate change mitigation and adaptation policies. However, a new Local Plan gives us the opportunity for delivering new development that does more to mitigate the effect of and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Many of these will be of no or low cost.

What do we mean by climate change 'mitigation'?

Mitigation is the actions we take to try to prevent climate change. This usually means reducing our carbon emissions.

Mitigation actions could include:

  • Reducing the need to travel and providing sustainable travel options;
  • Providing opportunities for renewable and low carbon technologies;
  • Providing opportunities for decentralised energy and heating networks; and
  • Promoting low carbon design in new development to reduce energy consumption of buildings.


An electric car parked in a grassy field

What do we mean by climate change 'adaptation'?

Adaptation is the actions we take to ensure that we can live comfortably in changing climate conditions.

Adaptation actions could include:

  • Taking into account the future climate risks when allocating land for development to ensure risks are understood over the development's lifetime;
  • Considering the impact of and promoting design responses to flood risk for the lifetime of the development;
  • Ensuring availability of the water supply and water infrastructure for the lifetime of the development and design standards to promote water efficiency and protect water quality; and
  • Designing buildings and spaces to respond to changes in temperature and rainfall, for example to maximise summer cooling and utilise green infrastructure to manage flooding and help species to adapt to climate change.