Dorset Council and its historic borough, district and county councils have a strong and proud legacy of environmentally-friendly initiatives, projects and programmes.
Some of our recent activities include:
Low Carbon Dorset
Low Carbon Dorset is a three-year programme of activities to help boost Dorset’s low carbon economy and reduce its carbon footprint. Through the programme businesses, community groups and publicly-funded bodies can access free technical support and grant funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. To date, £3.7m worth of low carbon projects have been supported through the programme, with 34 grants awarded and 61 Dorset businesses supported to help reduce their carbon footprint.
Through the Dorset Waste Partnership’s Recycle for Dorset kerbside collection scheme, waste sent to landfill has decreased from 71% to 16.8%. Recycling rates have risen from 29% back in 2004 to 59.7% last year. The food waste we collect is processed within Dorset to produce biogas and electricity within the county.
Most recently, the Dorset Waste Partnership has topped Eunomia’s Local Authority Low Carbon Index, which gives an alternative and arguably better measure of the environmental performance of our waste and recycling services.
Both projects co-produce community campaigns which focus on behaviour change to reduce waste at source. Single Use Plastic (SUP) is a big problem for the environment even before it pollutes our rivers and oceans as chemicals derived from fossil fuel production are used to make almost all plastics.
Litter Free Dorset have a range of resources to help reduce SUP at home and at work on the Litter Free Dorset Resource Hub.
Engine emissions reduction
Our Highways team has over 140 vehicles which have been fitted with a telematic system for two years. This has led to a 40% improvement in driver behaviour, increasing from 24 to 31 mpg. This has prevented over 200 tonnes of carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere and saving over 28,000 litres of fuel.
Sustainable travel initiatives
Dorset Council has a Carshare scheme for employees, encourages remote working where possible and continues to develop its teleconferencing opportunities to reduce unnecessary journeys. Active Travel, carbon reduction and sustainable development location are incorporated into our Local Transport Plan. We also maintain hundreds of cycling and walking routes across the county.
Energy efficient properties
Our buildings have undertaken a range of energy efficiency measures in recent years. Dorset Schools have been recognised as the most energy efficient in the country. Bridport’s household recycling centre has won several awards for steps taken towards sustainability, including design and construction, restoration and regeneration.
Our buildings and schools account for over 50% of our carbon footprint and have been a focus for energy and water efficiency improvements over many years.
Dorset's previous councils have a proven record in reducing our buildings’ carbon footprint, having targets set within the Asset Management Plan for a number of years, namely:
- to reduce the non-schools buildings energy consumption per net floor area (kwh/m2) by 10% by March 2018
- to reduce non-schools buildings CO2 emissions per net floor area (tonnes CO2e/m2) by 10% by March 2018.
Further target are under development as part of updating asset, and carbon reduction, strategies.
- based on 2014/15 levels, as of end of March 2018, total energy consumption for the non-school estate reduced by 11%
- based on 2014/15 levels, as of end of March 2018, total CO2e emissions associated with energy and water consumption for the non-school estate reduced by 31%
The results are due to the installation of energy efficient technologies (as standard when upgrading, or refurbishing buildings), efficient use of space, centralised control and management of heating systems, installation of renewable electricity and heat generation, benchmarking energy use per site (and acting on results) and the use of ‘greener’ energy delivered through the power grid.
We have changed the way we manage our roadside verges to reduce interference and encourage biodiversity by allowing natural grasses and wildflowers to grow. We help protect and restore rare heathland across Dorset and have acted to protect bees, butterflies and other pollinators by restricting the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, cutting hedgerows less frequently and planting flowering trees and shrubs.
Read about our Pollinators Action Plan, which proposes a range of positive approaches which can be applied to the management of councils’ assets, projects and decision-making processes in relation to the decline in pollinators, on Dorset Council land.
Healthy Homes Dorset
This programme offers free loft and cavity wall insulation as well as replacement heating systems to Dorset residents. In addition to the free insulation services, they can offer expert advice and support on how to keep your home warm, save money on energy bills, and reduce damp, mould and condensation.
You can find out more about what we’re up to on our Green Dorset pages.
Heat Melcombe Regis
The Heat Melcombe Regis project delivers free central heating and insulation grants to help people save energy and keep warm.
It was set-up after Dorset Council secured £1.7 million from the National Grid’s ‘Warm Homes Fund’. Anyone who lives in the area and needs affordable heating and hot water should apply online.
Around 85 per cent of households in the UK currently use gas to meet their heating needs. A lot of work is ongoing to decarbonise gas.
Call for ideas campaign
Read some of the presentations given to the Executive Advisory Panel for Climate Change at our Inquiry Day sessions on Friday 21 February and Tuesday 3 March.