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Climate change


In July 2019, Peterborough City Council declared a climate emergency. This is because we recognise that the impacts of climate breakdown are already causing serious damage to our world and we need to take urgent action. For our part, we have committed to make the council’s activities net-zero carbon by 2030, and to also help Peterborough become a net-zero carbon city by 2030.

Reducing our carbon emissions will bring a number of other vital benefits for our city including reducing fuel poverty, improving physical and mental health, improving air quality, stimulating our economy and providing jobs to the local area.

To make our city net-zero carbon by 2030 every community group, business and resident has an essential role to play.

What we have committed to doing

Not only does the Council have a key role in supporting the city to become net-zero carbon, we also believe we have a responsibility as a large local employer to lead by example. By getting our own house in order we will seek to demonstrate what is possible. To fulfil both of these roles, we have committed to an ambitious programme that will continue to 2030.

  • Make the council's activities net-zero carbon by 2030 and to support the city to achieve the same.
  • Ensure political and chief officer leadership to embed this priority into work, ensuring all decisions are in line with net-zero carbon by 2030.
  • Set up a Climate Change Partnership group proactively involving young people.
  • Review budget proposals and ascertain environmental impact.
  • Use planning powers to deliver net-zero carbon new developments and communities and increase tree planting.
  • Achieve 100% clean energy across the council’s full range of functions by 2030 and explore renewable generation and storage.
  • Replace all council vehicles with low carbon vehicles including the mayor’s car, provide electric vehicle infrastructure and encourage alternatives to private car use across the city.
  • Increase the efficiency of buildings, which will help to address fuel poverty.
  • Engage with residents, businesses and communities to raise awareness, share best practice and keep everyone updated.
  • Call on the UK Government to provide the powers, resources and help with funding to make this possible, and ask local MPs to do likewise.

What we have done so far

We have been working hard to deliver on our climate emergency commitments, including the following:

Council Climate Change Action Plan

This plan is the first major step we are taking to deliver our commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 across the council’s operations. It details where the council’s current emissions come from, incorporates existing plans we have to reduce emissions, and the areas we will focus on to achieve our targets.

The current plan is available to download below.

City Carbon Management Action Plan

We are busy preparing a city-wide carbon management action plan, detailing the steps to achieve a net-zero carbon Peterborough. Details will be published on the website in 2021 with details for how you can get involved.

Climate Change Cross-party Working Group

The Climate Change Cross-party Working Group meets regularly to address key issues regarding Peterborough becoming a net-zero carbon city. The working group discusses potential solutions and provides recommendations on the direction of the climate change programme.

Carbon Impact Assessments

The council have embedded a process to ensure that all decisions taken across the organisation are subject to mandatory Carbon Impact Assessments. This process seeks to consider the potential impact on carbon emissions and ensures that the decision maker is able to take this information into account.

Climate Action Day

The council holds an annual Climate Action Day on March 4th each year. This date celebrates the adoption of the first Council Carbon Management Action Plan in 4th March 2020. This annual event sees local residents and organisations across the city making simple changes to their day-to-day lifestyle in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.

What you can do

The climate emergency is a global problem which everyone can help to solve. Almost every decision we make has an impact on carbon emissions; to avoid the worst consequences of climate change we all need to make climate conscious choices throughout our daily lives. By sharing ideas and tips with our friends and family, we may be able to support each other to make further changes to reduce carbon emissions.

A good place to start is to calculate your carbon footprint. This will allow you to understand what areas of your life cause the greatest carbon emissions and therefore where you should target first. There are a number of online tools available to help you do this, including this one from the Global Footprint Network.

Here are some ideas for how you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Energy in your home

  • Switch to renewable energy - Often renewable energy costs little or no more than a regular tariff.
  • Make green home improvements - Adding insulation or installing a low carbon heating system can help to improve the efficiency of your home and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Turn your heating down by 1°C - This can reduce bills by £60 and save 310kg of carbon emissions a year.
  • Unplug your appliances when not in use - A small amount of electricity is drawn even when the appliance is turned off, so unplug if you can.

How you travel

  • Cycle or walk journeys under a certain distance - Try to swap short car journeys (perhaps under 2km or 5km) for walking or cycling, helping to stay active as well as reduce carbon emissions.
  • Purchase a bicycle through the Bike to Work scheme - This scheme provides tax incentives to encourage employees to cycle to work. Under the scheme an employer can pay for a new bicycle (including bicycle accessories) and the employee then repays the cost in regular instalments from their gross salary.
  • Improve your cycling skills - Bikeability and Sustrans Bike It schemes aim to enable children to learn to ride (or scoot) in a safe and confident way. Adults can also take a refresher session and book a 1-2-1 adult cycle training session with one of the Council’s trained cycling teachers.
  • Take public transport - Stagecoach Buses operate a comprehensive bus network across the city with services running every 10 minutes in some areas, and for further afield the train offers quick and direct links across country.
  • Switch to an electric vehicle - Peterborough has a growing EV charging infrastructure network with chargers owned and operated by the Council as well as private operators. There are several grants available to help purchase electric vehicles.

Further information on all these schemes is available through Travelchoice.

Your diet

  • Eat local and seasonal food - Avoid air-freighted food and food grown out of season in carbon intensive greenhouses to reduce your emissions.
  • Eat plant-based - Eat more vegetarian or vegan meals and share the recipes with your friends and family. Meat Free Mondays is a great way to introduce more plant based meals into your diet, or try the Veganuary challenge by going vegan for the month of January.
  • Choose Fairtrade products - The climate emergency is an immediate and ever-increasing threat to the farmers and workers in climate vulnerable countries. Fairtrade products ensure these people are paid fairly and given resources to adapt to climate change. As a Fairtrade City, Peterborough has many opportunities to buy Fairtrade products locally. Further information is available through our local organisation Fairtrade Peterborough.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

  • Reduce the amount of single use plastics you use - When doing your food shop opt for loose fresh fruit and vegetables where possible to reduce your plastics use.
  • Reuse items - Give your belongings a second life by donating to a charity shop or upcycling into something new.
  • Recycle as much of your waste as possible - We have great recycling facilities for residents in Peterborough. Your green recycling bin can be used for many items, whilst food waste should be placed in your grey bin, please check the bin waste advice page for more information on what can be recycled. Garden waste can be placed into a brown bin, please see the garden waste collection page to request this service.

We are really keen to hear about any changes you can make. Let us know by emailing us at

Get involved in your local Parish Carbon Action Plan

Some parish councils in the Peterborough area have declared a climate emergency and have committed to take positive action to reduce carbon emissions in their operations as a parish council, and in the wider local area.

Find out more information on Carbon Action Plans, objectives and climate change projects, as well as details of how to get involved.

Learn more about climate change

If you would like to know more about climate change, the Open University offers a free online course that you can take at your own pace with a free certificate on successful completion.