Climate Change Action Plan

Climate change action will be one of the legacies of South Lakeland District Council and a solid foundation for the new Westmorland and Furness Council to build on.

South Lakeland District Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 and since then the authority has been using its Climate Change Action Plan to work towards its targets of:

  • a carbon neutral council by 2030
  • a carbon neutral South Lakeland district by 2037.

Through work to reduce its emissions, capital projects and work in the community, progress has been made towards both targets.

For example, greenhouse gas emissions from South Lakeland District Council as an organisation have more than halved from 5,259 tonnes in 2010 to 2,476 tonnes in 2019/20 and a further decrease of 15 per cent was seen in 2020/21 to 2,097 tonnes.

As vesting day of the new Westmorland and Furness Council approaches, SLDC's climate action team has taken stock of what has been achieved and opportunities for the future.

Councillor Jonathan Brook, Leader of South Lakeland District Council and the new Westmorland and Furness Council, which will replace Cumbria County Council, Eden District Council, South Lakeland District Council and Barrow Borough Council on April 1, said: "I am in the privileged position of leading not just South Lakeland District Council but also Westmorland and Furness Council and the tremendous work and knowledge of officers and members in South Lakeland will take into the new authority. There will be a great deal of continuity as we move into an organisation with wider opportunities to make a difference.

"We will be an ambitious and environmentally aware council, looking to provide leadership on the drive towards net zero. This is a great legacy and also a foundation to build on for the future with all the opportunities the new Westmorland and Furness Council will bring to meeting these challenges, with greater scope to continue to deliver this good work."

Collaboration with partners has been identified as a key strength and contributor to success.

Councillor Dyan Jones, Portfolio Holder for Climate Action and Biodiversity, said: “South Lakeland District Council pledged early on to show leadership in tackling the climate crisis and was one of the first local authorities to declare a climate emergency in 2019.

"We created a Climate Change Action Plan for ourselves as an organisation but, crucially, for the area as a whole with a whole-hearted commitment to taking a lead and working with and supporting communities, groups, businesses and organisations large and small to do more together and make a difference. To think globally, and act locally, to find ways to reduce the impact of climate change and biodiversity loss which are likely to be the biggest challenges of our lifetime.

"Our commitment to the importance of mitigation and adaptation, as well as taking a joined-up, strategic approach has grown, continues and will be carried into the new Westmorland and Furness Council" going forward.

Work towards meeting the council's 2030 target included replacing the boiler at South Lakeland House and improved building management practices, including by SLDC's leisure partner GLL on the leisure centres. Specialist monitoring has led to a projected 30 per cent reduction in our emissions from our buildings' energy use.

A new 100 per cent renewable energy tariff has been procured, which should provide significant carbon reduction when it goes live.

Council transport emissions have reduced slightly – a reduction in past year which equates to 20,000 litres of diesel – and work in this area remains a key focus.

Recent success has been a successful bid to Innovate UK’s Net Zero Living programme – a partnership project aimed at helping move South Lakeland towards net zero has been backed to the tune of nearly £75,000, with the potential to draw down millions more in the future.

A collaboration of South Lakeland District Council, Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) and the University of Cumbria has received £74,625 to work with nine local businesses to establish how "non-technical barriers" to decarbonisation in rural areas, such as high transport costs and inefficient housing stock, can be reduced or removed.

Working with Charge My Street, 24 EV charging points have been installed in SLDC car parks, while the One Public Estate (OPE) Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Partnership, of which SLDC is a member, has secured £1.9m from the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) pilot fund with an aim of installing up to 900 EV charging points throughout Cumbria.

Other successes


Westmorland and Furness Council's Council Plan pledges that the authority will provide leadership in the drive to become carbon net zero and sustainable, including supporting and promoting environmentally friendly forms of travel such as making it easier and safer to walk and cycle, and fixes a target of achieving net zero by 2037. Council Plan priorities include: addressing biodiversity loss by encouraging better land management, habitat creation, tree planting and net biodiversity gain in new housing developments. leading the way to help reduce the loss of species, improve green spaces, and support a more sustainable local food system.