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What are we already doing to fight climate change?

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.

Find out more about Low Carbon Dorset and how they could help your business or organisation.

Waste reduction

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.

We also host and help fund projects and campaigns such as Litter Free Coast & Seaand Litter Free Dorset.

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.

Find out more about what happens to Dorset’s waste.

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.

Watch a short video on how we’ve reduced carbon emissions.

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.

Find out more about Dorset’s Travel services and routes.

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.

Find out more about our current building projects.

Countryside management

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.

Read a statement on what Dorset Council is proposing to do in relation to trees, tree management and tree planting as part of its response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

Find out more about Green Dorset and our countryside management services.

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.

Find out how Healthy Homes Dorset might be able to help you make your home more energy efficient.

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 the summary report regarding Dorset Council's Call for Ideas, that ran throughout winter 2019/20.

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.

Table of climate presentations given to the Executive Advisory Panel on Climate Change
 Presenter Idea description
Alex Mackenzie (Summer Lodge) Support a platform on which to share best practice within businesses
Amber Peters (Skills and Learning) New Environmental Awareness course
Bernard White Planning enforcement
Caz Dennett (Extinction Rebellion) 5 ways to tell the truth and the benefits of doing so
Chris Reynolds The opportunity for Weymouth to be an exemplar sustainable town
Cleo Evans (The Arts Development Company) Three things we do to bring about big change
Donna Curtis Natural environment preservation and development
Dorset Youth Voice A case for change
Eco Crew (Damers First School) Electric charging points, better transport, composting
Jonathan Purssell The natural way forward: An innovative re-wilding project in North Dorset
Kate Forrester (Transition Town Dorchester) Various ideas around buildings
Liz Ferioli-Brown Ditch the car and walk
Michael Oldman Energy savings in offices and similar premises
Paul Whitehead Pollution caused by idling vehicles
Pete West Financing the transition to Dorset's Low Carbon Economy
Peter Emery Lower speed limits and other ideas
Phil Christopher (Huff and Puff Construction) Straw bale building
Professor Robert Kenward SUME: Sustainable Use and Management of Ecosystems
Ralph Watts The Transition to Low Carbon Transport
Rupert Cope Re-industrialising Dorset through the Green Economy
Sarah Wise (Wimborne War on Waste) Rethinking Single Use Plastic
Simon West (Lyme Regis One Planet Working Group) Solar Car Park Proposal

Read the initial thoughts and findings report to the Climate Change Executive Advisory Group on Friday 18 October, following the Climate Emergency workshop the previous day.

Read the opening presentation given at the Climate Emergency workshop on Thursday 17 October.

Read a presentation from the Technical Officers group to the Climate Change Executive Advisory Group on their work so far (13 September 2019).

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