The council has a longstanding record and commitment to the environment, enabling Huntingdonshire to be a good place to live and work, with a good start in life and a place to enjoy good health.
We are refreshing our work in a clear Climate Strategy and Action Plan to adopted in Autumn 2022. Drawing all our activity together to measure and monitor our impact on CO2 and nature to ensure we continue to deliver and influence positive change towards a Net Carbon Zero Huntingdonshire by 2040.
Our priorities and actions will be informed through comprehensive consultation in our Climate Conversation with our communities and businesses.
Our Own Activities
Since 2018 CO2 savings have increased to over 600 tons per annum through innovative investment in our buildings, with a further 440 tonnes per annum projected to be saved by March 2022 thanks to our planned decarbonisation project.
Our waste services are in the top quartile in the country, with recycling contamination below 7% - which is achieved through education, communication and direct intervention with residents when required.
We have funded projects to help prevent litter and increase recycling, including working alongside our Town Councils by implementing high street recycling litter bins.
Following the installation of Electric Vehicle charging points in our car parks using grant funding, we have so far supported approaching 100,000 miles of more environmentally friendly travel.
Our Natural Environment
95% of our residents having visited a park or open space, and 64% say they are essential to their quality of life. Supporting them to preserve and increase nature for our residents to enjoy is crucial.
The council has planted more pictorial meadows, the equivalent footprint of 5 and a half Wembley stadiums, to help double nature and increase biodiversity in our open spaces. The pictorial meadows are not only a huge benefit for the wildlife.
Berman Park has been a successful addition to St Ives, a brand new natural park for residents to enjoy and for wildlife and biodiversity to thrive.
We are working towards project delivery of £2.5million investment in our open spaces and country parks over the next 3 years, including Hinchingbrooke Country Park and Paxton Pits Nature Reserve.
Three of our parks and open spaces have been awarded a Green Flag and Hinchingbrooke Country Park and Priory Park host a further award for protecting bee habitats.
HDC is the guardian of 1,534 hectares of green space, 43 hectares of woodlands and a managed tree canopy of 400 hectares.
Our Tree Strategy [PDF, 28MB], adopted in 2020, will increase the tree canopy in Huntingdon planting over 3000 more trees and protecting those that we have.
Our Built Environment
We are also working hard to help shape our built environment for good, through planning policy, guidance, and interventions.
Adopted May 2019, Huntingdonshire’s Local Plan identifies several Green Infrastructure Priority Areas, the policy also sets out HDC’s approach to protecting and enhancing Huntingdonshire’s green infrastructure for the benefit of biodiversity and residents for recreation and leisure.
Green infrastructure serves to balance built development - it facilitates opportunities for people to access open space and provides habitats for wildlife. Improving the ecological, visual, heritage and recreational value of the countryside while bringing environmental, social and health benefits.
The Local Plan to 2036 includes 8 key policies to shape Huntingdonshire’s environment:
LP2 - Strategy for Development - minimises travel to access employment and leisure opportunities, promotes cycling and walking
LP3 - protect and enhance green infrastructure for biodiversity with increased green space trees to store carbon and reduce flooding impact
LP5 - Flood risk - minimise contribution to further flooding, protect our vital floodplains
LP12 - Design for energy efficiency to reduce energy demands, challenging but achievable zero carbon target
LP16 - sustainable travel, increased opportunities for walking and cycling
LP30 - Biodiversity, priority habitats
LP35 - Renewable and low carbon energy, supporting energy generation reducing fossil fuel use
LP36 - Air quality, attention to impact of new developments including promotion of clean air zones.