2 - Decision making, policies, plans and strategies

Aerial view of Cheltenham's Imperial Gardens and surrounding streets

We know there is a need for the climate agenda to be a strong policy thread across the council. Without climate being a focus for all our officers and members, woven through each of our departments, we will fail to embed a Net Zero culture. Thus, we will ensure all our decisions help to meet national and local net zero carbon targets, improve air quality and protect and restore nature, as well as delivering on COVID-19 recovery.

Ongoing and completed

We have been working hard since declaring a climate emergency and throughout the pandemic, to deliver action that will lead to a seismic shift in our approach to reaching net zero.

First and foremost, we have employed and committed future annual budgets for two dedicated climate emergency officers - a team we expect will need to grow to achieve our goal of becoming a net zero, climate resilient council and borough by the year 2030. This team is complemented by a new, dedicated climate emergency cabinetlLead to drive positive change among our members and help challenge leadership and decision-making. Furthermore, we have established a core multi-disciplinary group of officers from across the council, to help ensure climate change is not just delivered by one team, but is woven throughout the business across everything we do.

Additionally, the council is part of the government’s Kickstart scheme which will allow for the six month hire of a climate action support officer, providing additional resource to the climate emergency team in delivering the actions from this Pathway, but specifically, will employ someone claiming Universal Credit and in the 16 to 24 year old age bracket.

The creation of a ‘Climate Change Programme Board’ will help to keep us on the right track throughout our journey to 2030, ensuring we are focusing resource and efforts in the most important areas. The board, led by an appropriate cabinet member, will consist of other political representatives and the Countywide Climate Change Coordinator, meeting on a quarterly basis to steer the programme of works stemming from this pathway.


Priority in 2021-23

  • Identify both a councillor at cabinet level and a lead officer as Climate Champions, who are required to publish an annual public report on progress against meeting the targets set out in the CEAP
  • Issue a new climate-focused Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) that addresses the limitations within the existing Local Plan and Joint Core Strategy. This will set a new ‘Cheltenham Standard’ for developers and aid our planners in their decision making. The SPD may include the necessity to develop using Natural Flood Management (NFM) techniques, the requirement to achieve Biodiversity Net Gain, installing sustainable energy solutions, driving adoption of the ‘Building with Nature’ benchmark and the use of Passivhaus standards
  • Introduce a tool to ensure that climate implications are adequately considered at the early stages of each project, initiative or decision. This tool should be used to develop initiatives that the lowest possible impact on the environment whilst still meeting the needs of the council

Priority in 2024-26

  • Annually review the existing and additional workforce needed to deliver the actions set out in this pathway and swiftly prioritise the decisions and investment needed to recruit the necessary capacity and expertise
  • Align our council statutory and non-statutory plans, policies and guidance with our climate, nature and green economy goals, including corporate areas such as procurement and infrastructure development