Creating a 'green team' to engage with communities and businesses in Basingstoke and Deane

Shaped through public consultation and adopted in March 2021, the Climate Change and Air Quality Strategy sets out how the council leads by example, enables and inspires change, and challenges and works with partners, businesses, communities and others to cut emissions across Basingstoke and Deane.

This case study is a part of the LGA's Regional Retrofit Action Planning programme

Context - our emergency declarations

A climate emergency for the borough was declared at a meeting of Cabinet on 10 September 2019, following all borough councillors unanimously supporting a motion to declare it.

The emergency declaration set ambitious targets for the council to become carbon neutral in its operations by 2025 and to help achieve a net zero carbon borough carbon by 2030 in recognition of the significant impact that climate change will have, particularly on future generations.

Shaped through public consultation and adopted in March 2021, the Climate Change and Air Quality Strategy sets out how the council leads by example, enables and inspires change, and challenges and works with partners, businesses, communities and others to cut emissions across Basingstoke and Deane. Recognising the need to work alongside communities and others to take action and protect the natural environment, an ecological emergency was also declared for the borough on 14 October 2021.

Most up-to-date local emissions data

In 2020, net greenhouse gas emissions in Basingstoke and Deane totalled around 928,600 tonnes (

This figure includes around 53,500 kilograms of carbon that are absorbed each year by the natural environment in Basingstoke and Deane.

The gross greenhouse gas emissions by source for Basingstoke and Deane in 2020 are set out below.

View diagram 1 description

Video content from the Leader of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Councillor Simon Minas-Bound

Watch Basingstoke and Deane's video Green Week: carbon reduction progress and plans on YouTube.

What the proposed team would do

Councillors are due to decide on the plans to create the team as part of considering the council's draft budget for 2023/24 at council on Thursday 23 February.

Provided the plans are approved, the aims of the team would be to:

  • provide sustainability advice and support to residents, communities and small to medium-sized businesses across the borough
  • signpost to existing advice, grants and loans and hand-hold people through the process
  • support people and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint, save money and achieve wider objectives linked to the ecology and waste reduction
  • develop relationships with key community organisations and councillors and act as a point of contact and information
  • undertake home visits to provide high-level sustainability advice to residents. 

Expected outcomes from the team

The expected outcomes from the green team are:

  • reduced carbon emissions by residents and small to medium-sized businesses
  • reduced energy consumption through behaviour changes
  • increased domestic energy efficiency rates, including in rented properties
  • less fuel poverty as residents save money on utilities
  • improved health outcomes through better quality homes
  • better informed residents and businesses on sustainability issues
  • more active travel and trips in electric vehicles and by public transport
  • improved recycling rates and awareness of council’s position on recycling
  • increased nature conservation action by individuals and groups
  • an increased network of climate advocates, who can share information
  • an improved perception of the council’s action on sustainability issues, including climate change, as a result of the visible and tangible presence of the team.

Structure of the proposed team

1x Team Leader/Supervisor – to supervise the team. Ideally with retrofit experience/knowledge.

1x Retrofit/Domestic Energy Assessor – trained to undertake assessments for energy performance certificates (EPCs) and, in the future, potentially whole-house retrofit plans.

4x Energy and Sustainability Advisor – signposting to grants and energy advice.

How the team would work

The team is intended to be outward-facing, and therefore largely mobile, with some time based in the office.

Co-branded under the council's corporate and Sustainable Basingstoke identities, the association with the council would give the team credibility while helping to ensure they are seen as 'green experts' rather than representatives of the wider organisation.

They will work with trusted partners such as Citizens Advice, The Environment Centre, and Warmer Homes to signpost residents to assistance and grants. They will also collaborate with community groups to target specific areas of need, and capitalise on existing relationships.

Who the team would target and how

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council currently has access to Parity Projects software that provides data on housing stock across the borough, including estimates of their energy efficiency. This is based on a combination of energy performance certificates (EPCs) and other data to fill in gaps for homes without EPCs.

This data will be used to identify locations for concentrated targeting and door-to-door visits, as well as potentially undertake some initial research in advance of home visits. The data can also be used to facilitate discussions with residents about their properties during events or other meetings.

A different approach will be required for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Initial targeting will be purely area-based, targeting areas with a higher density of SMEs, whereby there is a higher likelihood of being able to interact with senior decision-makers.

Working with stakeholders

Property Services – given the team would regularly base itself in community centres, some operators may seek support on how to reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency. Where the council owns the facility, this may lead to increased enquiries and expectations of support.

Planning – while most property improvements would likely not require planning permission, properties that are listed or in conservation areas may do so, leading to enquiries to Planning. To mitigate this, bespoke guidance could be provided when the green team is targeting a conservation area.

Building Control – some improvements may require Building Control sign-off.

Communications – specific and regular communications will be needed. This includes signposting residents and SMEs to how they can contact the team and sharing success stories and case studies to help inspire further action.

External groups – the green team presents an opportunity to collaborate with local groups, harnessing their enthusiasm and knowledge as we work alongside them so communities feel informed and keen to take action.

Anticipated challenges

  • recruitment challenges
  • how to get buy-in and commitment to action, particularly following EPCs/home surveys
  • avoiding duplication or conflict with other teams (external and internal)
  • communications plan - reaching and engaging positively with the residents and businesses that need the most support
  • finance/loan options for those not eligible for grants
  • finding sufficient installers for retrofit works (insulation) that have TrustMark accreditation
  • enabling and empowering external groups.

Appendix one - power interest grid

Power interest grid

High power/High interest

Encourage, develop reciprocity, ask

  • Elected members
  • Senior leaders
  • Strategic partners (county council, local college, housing associations).

Green team role

  • Central point for communications
  • Conduit through which resident feedback can be channelled to inform and shape strategic plans

Objective - keep in this quarter

High power/Low interest

Ignore them at your peril

  • Elected members
  • Senior leaders
  • Local businesses - large influential business with significant property/staff/infrastructure

Green team role

  • Attend meetings
  • Raise profile and 'sell' benefits
  • Keep on message
  • Address concerns/objections

Objective - move left

Low power/High interest

Encourage, nurture, develop

  • Community groups
  • Individual residents
  • Officers

Green team role

  • Steer towards practical solutions
  • Provide relevant advice
  • Support internal initiatives
  • Help guide high interest into action!

Objective - move up

Low power/Low interest

Keep them informed, optional consultation, seek opinion, try to move them

  • Individual tesidents
  • Businesses (unless specifically in the sector, particularly SMEs)

Green team role

  • Provide feedback from residents to shape general communications
  • Highlight motivators or barriers
  • Attend meetings and provide information if asked

Objective - move left