Wirral Council Environment and Climate Emergency Action Plan


Following the council's Environment and Climate emergency declaration in July 2019, it has been taking steps to ensure that it can deliver on its commitment. The initiatives contained within the Environment and Climate Emergency Action Plan are some of the ways to reach this goal of ‘net carbon neutral’.

Since development of the action plan, significant projects have been completed such as, the LED Streetlight Replacement project - which saw almost all the borough’s streetlights changed to LED bulbs, switching to green electricity and the introduction of on-street electric vehicle charging points.

The council has also become a bronze accredited Carbon Literate Organisation – encouraging its staff and elected members to further learn and understand the importance of lowering carbon emissions and protecting our climate.

Additional projects, to improve Wirral’s resilience and adapt to the changes that climate change will bring, are progressing to ensure that floods can be managed and resulting damage is limited. The West Kirby Flood Alleviation scheme is underway, and a natural flood management project has been installed at Coronation Park in Greasby. The council’s Tree, Hedgerow and Woodland Strategy sets out ambitious targets to plant 10,000 trees every year between 2020 and 2030 and with the support of the borough’s communities and volunteers, over 45,000 trees have been planted to date.

Between 2021 and 2022, good progress has been made and the council remains on course to reach its carbon budget, however, more changes need to be made and they need to be made faster if we are to achieve our target in the long-term.

Europe has increased in temperature at more than twice the global average over the past 30 years and the effects can be seen and felt across the UK and in the borough with more heatwaves, flooding, coastal erosion, wildfires and loss of biodiversity. UNEP have calculated that as it stands, we will surpass the 1.5°C of warming above pre-industrial levels agreed at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. 4 Environment & Climate Emergency Action Plan

Now, more than ever, climate action needs to be taken and urgently – and as a council, we will lead the way, encouraging all to play their part so that we can work together to create and maintain a cleaner and greener Wirral that we can all enjoy.

Councillor Elizabeth Grey

Councillor Elizabeth Grey Chair of the Environment,
Climate Emergency and Transport Committee

Back to top


Climate change refers to the long-term change in the planet’s average weather patterns (such as temperature and rainfall) and changes in the frequency and severity of these patterns. As a result of warming temperatures and changes in rainfall, we are seeing impacts around the world such as rising sea levels, shrinking glaciers, and melting ice caps and extreme weather events.

Climate change is affecting every country on every continent - disrupting national economies and affecting lives, costing people, communities, and countries today.

The warming of our climate is caused by a build-up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. These gases trap heat by forming a blanket around the Earth-like the glass of a greenhouse. These gases stay in the atmosphere for many years and as they build up, the planets temperature rises. Then, as the world heats up, feedback loops accelerate warming: melting polar ice meaning less of the sun’s heat is reflected into space. These greenhouse gases build up in the atmosphere mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas and cutting down forests. In the last 100 years Greenhouse gas levels have skyrocketed and are at the highest levels in history.

The impacts of climate change are global and unprecedented in scale. These include, but aren’t limited to, shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, fires raging across vast expanses of forest and extreme heat waves and drought, coupled with rapid biodiversity and ecosystem loss, combining to create a mass extinction event that threatens or severely impacts all life on our planet.

Without drastic action today, the world's average surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century and is likely to surpass 3 degrees Celsius this century. This global heating will affect the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world the most.

Back to top

From Global to Local

Global action on climate change

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all member states in 2015 outlines 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 13 of the UN’s sustainable development goals is to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. This goal is intrinsically liked to the other 16 goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

2019 was the second-warmest year on record and at the end of the warmest decade ever recorded. Saving lives and livelihoods requires urgent action to address both the pandemic and the climate emergency. Off the back of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Secretary-General has proposed six climate-positive actions governments to help rebuild economies from COVID-19:

  1. Invest in green jobs
  2. No bailout for polluting industries
  3. End fossil fuel subsidies
  4. Climate in all decisions
  5. Work together to recover better
  6. Leave no one behind – the transition must be fair

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement provides an opportunity for countries to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It entered into force on the 4th of November 2016.

To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to reach a climate neutral world by mid-century.

The Paris Agreement works on a 5-year cycle of increasingly ambitious climate action carried out by countries. By 2020, countries submit their plans for climate action known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). In their NDCs, countries communicate actions that they will take to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. The actions also include action on how to build resistance and to adapt to the impacts of rising temperatures.

Conference of the Parties

In 2021, the UK hosted the 26th UN Climate change conference of the parties (COP26). The COP26 summit brought parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework convention on Climate Change. If every country delivers what they pledged limiting global temperature increases by 1.5°C remains in sight, but only if every country delivers.

The four main goals of the pact are:

  • Mitigation -  reducing emissions
  • Adaptation - helping those already impacted by climate change
  • Finance - enabling countries to deliver on their climate goals
  • Collaboration - working together to deliver greater action.
View of wind from from beach

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change

The Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC was created to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation options. In 2022, the IPCC finalised the third part of the Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, the Working Group III contribution.

The report looks at what can be done to limit and prevent human-caused emissions that cause global warming. It also looks at where our emissions come from and how as our global society changes over time, so have our emissions. The report shows how the decisions made in the present, shape the coming decades in our planets future and support the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The report examines emissions from all aspects of society, from how energy is used to power homes, how sustainable buildings are and the materials used to build, how cities and towns are planned, transport and travel.

This report is the first IPCC report to provide an in-depth assessment of how human behaviour, choices and consumption can contribute to climate change mitigation. It considers culture and lifestyle choices from people travel to work, to food consumption. It looks at land and provides options to better manage the land - from using it to provide food and energy, to building new towns and cities and how land can be part of the solution by removing carbon from the atmosphere.

The report shows how different parts of society can work together across all of these different areas to be more efficient, sustainable and reduce emissions.

Back to top

UK actions on climate change

The Climate Change Act

The Climate Change Act 2008 commits the UK government to reduce domestic greenhouse gas. In June 2019, the Act was update in line with amended climate projections, and the UK Government increase the UK legislated target for greenhouse gas emission reductions to at least 100% lower than the 1990 baseline by 2050. In April 2021 a new target was enshrined into law to cut national emissions by 78% by 2035.

Climate Change Committee

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) undertakes an annual assessment of whether the UK is on course to meet its carbon budgets, and reports this progress to Parliament. This includes tracking the latest emissions data and identifying underlying progress.

The 2021 report to Parliament recognised that the Government had made historic pledges, however it was critical of the Governments slow response to deliver action on the pledges, those which have emerged have often missed the mark.

Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year however sustained reductions require sustained Government leadership underpinned by a strong net zero strategy.

The Adaptation Committee (of the CCC) reports to Parliament every two years on the UK Government’s progress in adapting to the impacts of climate change through the National Adaptation Programme (NAP).

The 2021 report documented slow progress on adaptation in England, with only 5 of the 34 sectors assessed showing notable progress over the past two years.

Back to top

Liverpool City Region Pathway to Net Zero

The Liverpool City Region (LCR) is a combined authority network of local councils and organisations with Liverpool City Council, Wirral Council, Knowsley Council, St Helen’s Borough Council, Halton Borough Council and Sefton Council. All six local authorities have declared a Climate Emergency, and all are taking targeted, local action on many aspects of the environmental and climate challenges.

The LCR Combined Authority was the first in the country to formally declare a climate emergency and set the ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2040 or potentially before, which is a decade ahead of the 2050 national target. Wirral Council’s contribution to the LCR targets have been around managing land for the benefit of wildlife, aiming to double tree canopy cover, and setting carbon budgets and integrating climate action into all council policies, amongst other initiatives. Wirral Council also have consistent representation at the LCR Partnership meetings, which are held monthly support and provide an opportunity to share best practice and support LCR initiatives.

  • Investing in green skills and training for new opportunities
  • Reducing our consumption of energy and heat
  • Increasing use of public transport, cycling and walking
  • Helping people to understand the need to change and how they can play their part
  • Supporting people to make sure the transition is fair for all
  • Being bold in our decision-making to protect the City Region

Back to top

Man on bicycle

Wirral’s response to climate change

Wirral Local Plan

Wirral Council refreshed the Wirral Plan 2021-26 and it was approved by full council in September 2021. The new plan defines the key priorities for the local authority over the coming years. Part of the vision set out by the plan was to ‘work towards a clean-energy, sustainable borough that leads the way in its response to the climate emergency and is environmentally friendly. Delivery of the Climate Emergency Action Plan supports the aims of the Local Plan 2021-26.

COOL Wirral

The international and national position is well reflected in Wirral. We have a well-established climate change partnership; ‘Cool Wirral’ and the council has maintained a commitment to tackling the impacts of climate change over many years. The council endorsed the Cool Wirral Partnership’s new follow-up strategy ‘Cool2’ in 2019, following support with public consultation and scrutiny from the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The council is a member of the Cool Wirral Partnership and has committed to supporting the delivery of the Cool2 Strategy and to a contribution to it in the form of the Climate Emergency Action Plan.

The Cool2 strategy sets two goals for Wirral the place:

  • To stay within a local emissions ‘budget’ of 7.7 million tonnes (Mt) of CO2 between 2020-2100 and to reach ‘net zero’ pollution as early as possible before 2041;
  • To ensure a climate resilient Wirral adapts to cope with existing change and further unavoidable disruption this century.

The Cool 2 strategy calls on those who support it to develop and share Locally Determined Contributions. The council is a member of the Cool Wirral Partnership and has committed to supporting the delivery of the Cool2 strategy through the Environment and Climate Emergency Action Plan.

Net zero climate pollution:

  • Leaner use of energy
  • Clean energy
  • Clean travel
  • Wiser decisions
  • Carbon storage

Climate resilient:

  • A clear view of climate risk
  • Adaption

Foundation for change:

  • Wider climate understanding
  • Adequate resourcing
  • Strong partnerships and networks
  • Evidence informed action
Cool Wirral Strategy cover

Wirral Council

In recognition of the increasing threat posed by climate change, Wirral Council declared an Environment and Climate Emergency through an all-party resolution in July 2019.

In March 2021 the Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee approved the council's Environment and Climate Emergency Policy which provides the basis for the council’s journey to becoming carbon emissions neutral within the decade. It recognises that all aspects of the council’s function, ways of working, decision-making, and service delivery will change to address the environment and climate emergency.

The policy committed the council to the establishment of the Environment and Climate Emergency Action Plan (ECEAP) and the ambitious but achievable target of the council and its entity being ‘net carbon neutral’ by 2030 – a 10-year journey. The ECEAP is the council’s locally determined contribution to the Cool2 strategy which sets a target for Wirral as a whole, to be carbon neutral by 2041.

The ECEAP was developed in 2020 and is designed to drive fundamental change to the way the council operates, makes decisions, and provides services. The plan contains a significant number of actions to transform the council.

Back to top

Wirral Council Environment and Climate Emergency Action Plan

Wirral’s Environment and Climate Emergency Plan

Wirral Council’s Approach

To develop the ECEAP a review of pre-existing guidance and best practice examples from a broad range of organisations with relevant expertise in the climate emergency agenda was undertaken.

The actions have been developed in collaboration with the service areas they pertain to. This cross-departmental ownership not only ensures that actions are ambitious and achievable, but that they will be fully integrated into service delivery to address the requirements of the climate emergency resolution.


When implementing the ECEAP, it will be important to ensure actions reach all areas of the borough and socio-economic groups to reduce existing inequalities. Lower income groups are likely to be less resilient to the impacts of climate change due to their limited resources to respond. At the same time, some of the more affluent areas of Wirral are exposed to significant flood risk such as Hoylake, West Kirby and New Brighton. For this reason, a resilience and adaptation plan has been developed to counter against flooding and coastal risk.

Like the Wirral-wide COOL2 Climate Strategy, the action plan must promote a “just transition” to net-zero carbon emissions, ensuring the benefits and burdens are shared equally and do not have any adverse effects on the vulnerable (Cool Wirral Partnership, 2019).

“Ensuring the benefits and burdens are shared equally”

Climate Action Workstreams

For ease, the ECEAP has been broken down into key areas, referred to as ‘Workstreams’. Each workstream (WS) contains a range of actions designed to embed change, provide guidance, increase sustainability and reduce carbon emissions. Below is an overview of the workstreams, further information on the headline actions within the workstreams can be found in the appendix.

WS1 Governance and Leadership
WS2 Resources and Finance
WS3 Measurement and Reporting
 WS4 Staff Investment
WS5 Transport
WS6 Assets and Energy
WS7 Culture and Events
WS8 Communication
WS9 Waste Management
WS10 Procurement Management Strategy
WS11 Carbon Capture
WS12 Resilience and Adaptation
WS13 Ways of Operating
WS14 Wiser Decisions
WS15 Community Engagement
WS16 Highways
WS17 Health and Wellbeing
WS18 Regeneration
WS19 Future Generations

Back to top

Electric car charge

Milestones achieved in 2021-22

WS1 - Governance and Leadership

The council has successfully showed commitment and accountability to the Climate Emergency agenda by showing significant leadership and progress over the past year. Both the Chief Executive and the council leader - along with senior officers - have completed the Carbon Literacy Course, and actively encourage staff and management to do the same.

In terms of becoming a Climate literate organisation, the council’s induction and onboarding programs are being overhauled to set out the councils Environment and Climate Emergency (E&CE) declaration response.

The Climate Emergency Action Group meets bimonthly, chaired by Nicki Butterworth, director of Neighbourhoods services with forty senior officers from across the council attend. These meetings enable ability progress to be made on the Climate Emergency Action Plan, and wider work is being undertaken to redefine the plan and prioritise high impact actions.

WS2 - Resources and Financial Allocation

Total spend for the Climate Emergency Budget for the financial year 21/22 was £202,883. Some of the main projects allocated funding were the green fleet review; supporting infrastructure for electric vehicle pilot project; carbon literacy training for staff; tree planting; i-Trees study; engagement with faith networks and the Cool youth programme. The key climate emergency actions are funded through a combination of support from the CE budget, individual service areas and external funding.

There is an established Climate Emergency team, headed by the Climate Emergency Manager, whose role is to drive the ECEAP. The CE team also has support from an established wider team of officers and partners.

WS3 - Measurement and Reporting

Wirral Council has committed to being net carbon neutral by 2030 and it is being achieved through the delivery of the ECEAP. Progress is measured by the annual carbon budget and a zero-carbon pathway prediction for 2030 has been established.

There have been regular reports of the progress of the ECEAP to the Climate Emergency Action Group. The Action Plan is RAG rated and updated frequently by the Climate Emergency Team with the help of Officers from across the council.

WS4 - Staff Investment

Carbon Literate Organisation Bronze logo

Carbon literacy has been delivered to over 200 employees and council members as part of the council’s commitment to becoming a carbon literate organisation. The council was successfully awarded Bronze Status and with future course dates scheduled for 2022, are on the way to applying for silver status.

Climate Emergency is now included in staff inductions to the council and is a section on the new virtual staff learning platform Flo.

WS5 - Transport

To encourage more sustainable travel in schools a post has been appointed to work with schools to encourage sustainable travel and the Modeshift STARS package was purchased to help accredit the schools in travel planning.

Funding was secured for the purchase of eCargo bikes through the Energy Saving Trust. The bid was a collaborative approach with Wirral Council officers working closely with ReThink Now! CIC, Wirral Environment Network, Wirral Met College, Cycling UK and Peel L&P with support from the Chamber of Commerce and Reciprocity. The eCargo bikes will be utilised internally and by partner organisations to replace existing delivery vehicles and the loans will commence in summer 2022.

A pilot scheme for on-street residential charging commenced in October 2021 via a bid for funding from OZEV, with 53 on street charge points installed across the borough for residents to use, in residential areas with limited off-street parking. This measure supports the transition to Electric vehicles (EVs) as outlined in the government Electric vehicle infrastructure strategy. Following on from this, there will be a review of the pilot project and development of an EV strategy for Wirral borough. 

WS6 Assets and Energy

The council has re-established annual Carbon Budget Performance reporting and the 2021/2022 Carbon Budget Performance report was reported in June 2022. A list of corporate carbon emitters has been completed to prioritise buildings that will deliver the biggest impacts.

This year the council set short term targets for more renewable and low carbon energy. Council Officers contributed to the ECE Corporate Policy and Assets Management Strategy drafts.

During 2021/22 Wirral Council purchased electricity from renewable sources, therefore net carbon emissions from electricity were zero, however this is not seen as a sustainable option. Therefore, going forward the council will look for an alternative to green electricity purchase to ensure we can fulfil our net zero commitments.

WS7 - Culture and Events

Progress was limited with regard to in person events due to in 2021 covid restrictions, however we are beginning to see the return of events, for example events for the Green Business Festival were held across the LCR at the start of 2022 including two days of events held in regeneration areas in Birkenhead communicating innovating thinking, sharing best practice and providing opportunities for networking.

WS8 - Communication

The communications team is continuing to communicate how the council is meeting its actions through the dedicated climate emergency tab on Wirral View, the climate pages on the council’s website and the climate and environment e-newsletter.

Between April 2021 and December 2021 the Wirral View Climate pages had 3,396 page views. 2,862 of these people have then gone on to view further climate related news.

Between October 2021 and March 2022, 44 organic climate related posts were shared on social media, with a total reach (how many people saw the post) of 398,961, a total impression (the number of times a piece of content appears somewhere) of 596,599 and a total engagement (how many people engaged with or reacted to the post) of 29,044.

The bi-monthly newsletter has 9,319 subscribers. From the October and December 2022 e-newsletters, there is an average open rate of 46% and a click rate of 14%. The communications team has also helped the climate emergency team facilitate the delivery of a Carbon Literacy Alumni Newsletter for council employees. 

WS9 - Waste Management

Implementation of the ‘Single Use Plastic’ policy across the council has been achieved with procurement processes being amended to ensure that single use plastics are removed as far as possible from council activities. The exception to the rule being around the need for disposable single use items in the wake of COVID-19 for safety purposes and following NHS and Government guidance.

WS10 - Procurement

Climate Emergency statement has been included into Procurement’s Supplier Code of Conduct. The Climate Emergency Team provided consultation support to ensure the Climate Emergency Action Plan goals and objectives are reflected in the statement.

WS11 - Carbon Capture

In 2021, a Landscape Manager (tree strategy) was appointed to help deliver the council's Tree, Woodland and hedgerow strategy. Implementation of the council's target to plant 210,000 trees by 2030, remains on target with 21,527 trees being planted in 2021/22. Overall there were 26 community planting events held in the 21/22 season, therefore 98% of the planting was achieved by communities meaning that residents feel more ownership over the trees.

This season the planting comprises 1km of new hedgerow, 509 street and parkland trees and 7.2ha of new woodland.

To help support the strategy the webpage was updated, with information about the tree planting initiatives, such as pledge a tree, grow a tree for Wirral, Adopt a tree and Tree for life.

WS12 Resilience & Adaptation -

In 2021 the flood and coastal risk team successfully bid for funding to deliver a natural flood management project at Coronation Park, Greasby, which meets the requirements of Wirral’s Resilient Parks Project on how parks are placed to meet the changes associated with climate change and identifies adaptation measures. The project is currently out to tender and will be delivered in 2022, helping to reduce surface water flood risk to surrounding properties. 19 Environment & Climate Emergency Action Plan PROTECT PLANT PARTICIPATE

WS13 - Ways of Operating

Whilst working through the Covid-19 pandemic was challenging, significant numbers of our workforce have embraced a different way of working. Out of necessity rather than choice it accelerated the journey we had started - to work more flexibly - in a way and at a pace we could not have imagined.

More employees work remotely or from home and other locations, utilising technology more effectively.

Hybrid working is a type of flexible working where an employee splits their time between office and remote working. A hybrid working policy has been developed setting out the council approach to hybrid working and the responsibilities that managers and employees have to ensure it is effective. 

WS14 - Wiser Decisions

The need to consider the Environment and Climate implications of decisions and reports is not firmly embedded in the standard committee template and the council are well on the way to delivering carbon literacy training to all report writers. Wirral Council were awarded Bronze award carbon literate status at the start of 2022 and further training is planned for 2022, with the ambition of becoming a silver award carbon literate council in 2022/23.

The second annual carbon budget has been reported this year and shows the council are currently meeting our annual carbon budget target for 2030.

WS15 - Community Engagement

Cool Wirral continue to meet on a quarterly basis. The Wirral Zero Carbon Buildings and Infrastructure Task Force is a task group to advise the Cool Wirral Partnership on the decarbonisation of the built environment in line with local net zero ambitions set out in the Cool 2 strategy.

A new Adaptation Task Force was suggested in 2021, terms of reference have been drafted and appropriate stakeholders are being sought. The Adaptation Task Force will convene for its first meeting in 2022.

Wirral Environmental network have been hosting ‘Cool communities’ sessions funded by the councils as part of their commitment to Cool Wirral. Other Cool community partners such as Building Bridges and Planet Heswall created their own climate action plans.

The council has also been supporting Earth Moves to establish a Permaculture growing project at the Leasowe Road Market Gardens, and have undertaken a joint bid for funding to look at sustainable food networks.

The Climate Emergency team also worked with Zero Carbon Liverpool on a bid to the Liverpool City Region Community Environment Fund (CEF).

WS16 - Highways

Phase 2 of the LED streetlight replacement scheme has been completed. In total 25,037 lanterns have been replaced as well as 10,019 streetlight columns. This will result in energy savings of more than three million kWh and 1,300 fewer tonnes of carbon each year.

All new LED lanterns are programmed to dim by 40% from midnight to 5am and removal of redundant illuminated sign lights is 40 % complete. Steel street lighting columns, traffic sign plates and traffic bollards are all being recycled at end of life.

A Fleet review has been undertaken by APSE and recommendations made on how to transition the fleet to Low or zero carbon emissions by 2030. The next stage is to develop a strategy based on these recommendations.

WS18 - Regeneration

At the time of writing the Wirral Local Plan Submission Draft has been published for representations. It sets a clear strategic direction for the future of the borough in terms of addressing key issues such as climate change and protecting and enhancing green space.

Key objectives of the plan are to address climate change by aiming to achieve zero carbon ready buildings on all new developments, protecting the borough’s biodiversity, open up increased opportunities to walk and cycle as well as using public transport. The Birkenhead Heat Network Project is progressing.

A total of £3.6m Green Recovery Funding has been awarded from OFGEM for the upgrade of local power networks to enable heat network energy centres and regeneration. External technical project management has been appointed and detailed Project Development (DPD) and Outline Business Case (OBC) consultants appointed and project underway.

WS19 - Future generations 

There has been lots of activity post Covid with schools keen to participate in the Ecoschools programme. There has been a return to delivering in person support to schools in delivering ‘environmental themes’ through the national curriculum. In 2021 finding was gained to deliver a ‘Natural curriculum’ initiative, training teachers to deliver the natural curriculum outside in partnership with Liverpool John Moores University. Delivery will commence in 2022.

The ’COOL’ strand is now delivered in schools as part of the Ecoschool programme and we are back to full in person delivery of teacher training on environmental topics such as energy, transport and future planning.

A project was undertaken to raise awareness and increase knowledge and understanding around increased tree planting for schools. A ‘Tiny Forest’ was planted at Citrine Park, Leasowe in 2021 and this will be revisited with a citizen science project in 2022 to monitor and document progress.

Back to top

Greenhouse gas reporting

A summary of Wirral Council's actual emissions verses the carbon budget is outlined in the table below. In 2021/22 Wirral Council continued the downwards trajectory and are ahead of the target set by their carbon budget for 2021/22.

Financial Year Annual Carbon Budget
(tonnes CO2e)
Actual Emissions
(tonnes CO2e)
2019/20 13,656 (baseline) 13,656
2020/21 10,349 (mobilisation year) 9,424
2021/22 7,843 6,275
2022/23 5,944  
2023/24 4,505  
2024/25 3,414  
2025/26 2,587  
2026/27 1,961  
2027/28 1,486 (re-baselining due)  

Back to top

Priority actions for 2022-23

The ECEAP has been reviewed by the Climate Emergency team, with regard to the large scale actions that are vital for the council to deliver our ambition of net carbon zero by 2030. Urgent action needs to be taken in certain areas now to ensure we have the correct policies, investment and delivery mechanisms in place to secure carbon reductions across all our service areas.

Key priority actions have been identified for 2022/23 to ensure the council continue on the trajectory to keep pace with the carbon budget and meet our net zero target by 2030. They are:

  • Implement the Management action plan developed by internal audit.
  • Establish a green fleet strategy for the council.
  • Develop an EV strategy for the borough
  • Define the council’s scope 3 emissions from good and services
  • Become a Silver award carbon literate organisation
  • Establish a decarbonisation plan for building emissions and create a ‘project pipeline’ to enable funding bids.
  • Increasing communication and engagement from residents and communities
  • Increase awareness and action from internal staff
  • Increase accountability through a public-facing ECEAP introduction and progress report.
Person planting a tree


Environment and Climate Emergency Action Plan: Workstreams and Headline Actions

Item Action
1 Governance and Leadership Workstream
1.1 Establish the Environment & Climate Emergency and progress with the Climate Emergency Action Plan as regular items on future SLT and Cabinet meeting agendas.
1.2 Establish a Climate Emergency Team to coordinate the delivery and establishment of the Climate Emergency Action Plan.
1.3 Review and update the council policies, plans and strategies to include the environment & climate emergency
1.4 Coordinate with key council partners to lead the borough wide environment & climate emergency response
1.5 Establish the Environment and Climate Emergency Action Group to oversee the delivery of the Climate Emergency Action Plan
Item Action
2 Resources & Financial Allocation Workstream
2.1 Ensure the necessary resources are available to deliver the climate emergency action plan
2.2 Environment and Climate Emergency board to identify funding and resource opportunities to coordinate the delivery and establishment of the Climate Emergency Action Plan.
Item Action
3 Measurement & Reporting Workstream
3.1 Set targets and monitor progress to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030
3.2 Gather data to measure and monitor the progress of the Climate Emergency Action Plan
3.3 Report on the progress of the Climate Emergency Action Plan and Council regularly
Item Action
4 Staff Investment Workstream
4.1 Include the climate emergency as a core Management Competence
4.2 Develop an inclusive Communications toolkit
4.3 Include the climate emergency in staff check-ins
4.4 Utilise the graduate programme for resource and widen engagement
Item Action
5 Transportation Workstream
5.1 Creation of Wirral Council Sustainable Travel Support Team delivering
5.2 Production and Implementation of Wirral Council Staff Travel Plan
5.3 Production and Implementation of Wirral Council Electric Vehicle Strategy / Delivery Action Plan
5.4 Improve active travel infrastructure
5.5 Work with stakeholders to improve infrastructure and access to public transport
5.6 Behaviour Change/Culture Change/Training/Engagement
5.7 Include climate implications in forward planning / scheme development
5.8 Develop and implement Wirral 2020 Active Travel Strategy
Item Action
6 Assets and Energy Workstream
6.1 Ensure the necessary resources are available to deliver the climate emergency action plan
6.2 Environment and Climate Emergency board to identify funding and resource opportunities
6.3 Set ambitious short-term targets for renewables/low carbon energy
6.4 Include Environment and Climate implications section in committee report template
6.5 Development of Sustainability Appraisal pilot based on energy only
6.6 Climate Emergency Workshop for Asset Management
6.7 Establish and enforce lower emissions standards for Assets
Item Action
7 Culture and Events Workstream
7.1 Decrease carbon footprint of major commercial events developed and delivered as part of Wirral’s culture programme
7.2 Work collaboratively to raise awareness about climate emergency and drive behaviour change
7.3 Promote climate emergency messaging with all events, showing the commitment to reducing the carbon footprint
7.4 Investigate and identify different practices and decide whether they are suitable to incorporate into future events
Item Action
8 Communications Workstream
8.1 Develop a Climate Emergency communication strategy
8.2 Establish an external resident focussed campaign
8.3 Establish an internal focused engagement campaign
Item Action
9 Waste Management Workstream
9.1 Work with partners towards a Circular Economy model
9.2 Internal Materials Management based on the waste hierarchy
9.3 Promote reduce reuse and repair to residents
9.4 Education – Mobilising Future Generations through Eco-schools and other partners
9.5 Ensure our future Waste Management Systems are fit for purpose
Item Action
10 Procurement Management Workstream
10.1 Ensure zero carbon ambitions are adequately reflected in Procurement Strategy and Policy
10.2 Addressing Future Contracts to ensure minimum carbon emissions
10.3 Set ambitious short-term targets for renewables/low carbon energy
10.4 Review and address emissions from existing long-term contracts
10.5 Improve data collection and performance monitoring for environmental criteria
10.6 Procurement, Commissioner and Contract Manager Training, Support and Resources
Item Action
11 Carbon Capture Workstream
11.1 Create and establish a 2020-2030 Tree, Hedgerow and Woodland Strategy
11.2 Establish an Overview and Advisory Board for the Tree, Hedgerow and Woodland Strategy
11.3 Establish an Action Plan for the 2020-2030 Tree, Hedgerow and Woodland Planting Programme
11.4 Double Canopy cover by the time trees planted are fully grown
11.5 Increase the climate benefits from tree cover by 50% over the next 30 years
11.6 Maintaining and protecting existing tree stock already sequestering CO2
11.7 Hedgerows commitment - plant new and protect existing hedgerows
11.8 Develop a Pollinator Strategy
11.9 Increase biodiversity within Wirral
11.10 Work with partners to increase blue & green infrastructure
Item Action
12 Flood & Coastal Risk Management Workstream
12.1 Deliver a flood awareness campaign to improve understanding of flood risks leading to a flood aware and resilient Wirral
12.2 Deliver a Natural Flood Management project at Coronation Park Greasby in line with Wirral’s Resilient Parks projects
12.3 Review and revise Wirral’s Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS) and align with other strategies
Item Action
13 Ways of Operating Workstream
13.1 Reduce business travel internally within the council
13.2 Become a ‘digital’ council and eliminate unnecessary paper use
Item Action
14 Wiser Decisions Workstream
14.1 Consider the environment and climate emergency implications of decisions and council reports
14.2 Utilise sustainability appraisal for council strategies and plans
14.3 Introduce regular carbon budget reporting
14.4 Introduce environment and climate emergency obligations for council supported partnerships and ‘arm’s length’ bodies
14.5 Update ‘Green Spec’ for council building projects to reflect Cool 2 targets and recent council resolutions
Item Action
15 Community Engagement Workstream
15.1 Support Cool Wirral Partnership
15.2 Support the growth of and wider engagement and interaction across a wider network of interest
15.3 Encourage the development of ‘locally determined contributions’ in support of the Cool 2 strategy
Item Action
16 Highways Workstream
16.1 Targeting Energy Consumption & CO2 Output and De illumination of signage across the borough
16.2 Recycling of redundant equipment to minimize wastage and maximize resources
Item Action
17 Highways Workstream
17.1 Promote community awareness of the impact climate change has on the health and wellbeing of Wirral residents
17.2 Promote more sustainable modes of travel to lessen air pollution and benefit health
17.3 Identify ways to lessen air pollution and create better air quality for the local communities and Wirral residents
17.4 Identify & promote foods and products which have benefits to the climate and to overall health
17.5 Consider how climate change will affect Wirral’s lower socio-economic areas more, as part of work to reduce health inequalities
Item Action
18 Regeneration Workstream
18.1 To support a central heat source in Birkenhead & measure its feasibility so it can be used in other areas across the Wirral
18.2 Invite community & business stakeholders to realise and promote the ‘Sustainability Central’ initiative
18.3 Ensure policies in the Local Plan reflect Climate Emergency priorities
18.4 Develop a taskforce to quantify the costing and changes needed for the councils’ buildings and infrastructure
18.5 Promote the ‘Cool Homes’ programme to local communities
18.6 Deliver new sustainable development
Item Action
19 Future Generations Workstream
19.1 Mobilise the Eco Schools scheme to reflect climate emergency through revised curriculum
19.2 Develop and implement the Cool Schools Programme
19.3 Encourage “Swap It Up” (clothes swapping) to be implemented in Wirral’s secondary schools and colleges
19.4 Develop Green Learning Pathways programme

Back to top

View of Hilbre Island taken from Middle Eye