Climate emergency

Climate Emergency Crawley - Action to Zero

Across the world, we are experiencing unprecedented heatwaves, droughts, wildfires and some of the most damaging floods and storms ever seen as a result of climate change caused by human activity.

The 2018 report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on climate change concluded that without substantial efforts to curb carbon emissions over the next decade we are likely to face severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts on societies. Radical and rapid action is needed without delay.

In Crawley, the increased severity and frequency of extreme weather events, flooding, droughts, heatwaves, storms and winds, are predicted to increase, presenting challenges for residents, households, businesses and critical infrastructure.

We recognise the urgent need for action and in response declared a climate emergency in July 2019. We have pledged to reduce emissions by at least 50%, and as close to net zero as possible by 2030, and to reach net zero by 2040 at the very latest.

This will include major changes, for example, becoming more energy efficient by reducing the amount of energy we use to heat and cool our buildings, and changing the types of vehicles we use for travel.

As a council we can have a significant impact by leading by example and communicating the need for action. Together, we, as residents, businesses, and the wider community, can all have a positive influence. This includes reducing our town’s emissions as well as helping us to create opportunities for better health and wellbeing, improved air quality and greener places, and new jobs. The world is changing and we need to change with it.

Our climate emergency action plan

Following our climate emergency declaration and pledge, a Climate Change Scrutiny Panel was set up to look into and make recommendations based on the workings and activities of Crawley Borough Council, relating to carbon emissions. The Panel met throughout 2020 and published its recommendations in February 2021. Our climate emergency action plan, ‘Action to Zero’, developed by an official climate emergency advisory group was approved by Cabinet Members on 24 November 2021 and sets out how we will meet our carbon reduction targets.

Current activities

Working in partnership with West Sussex County Council, other local councils and organisations, we are delivering energy and transport projects aimed at helping residents improve the energy efficiency of their homes. These include accessing grants and group buying schemes for green electricity tariffs and renewable technologies such as Solar PV, and making the switch to electric vehicles easier by supporting the development of a countywide Electric Vehicle charging network.

Motor transport is the biggest source of carbon emissions in the borough and a major contributor to air pollution. We have adopted an outline transport strategy called New Directions for Crawley which identifies aims, current and potential projects to develop sustainable transport and access for everyone, as well as a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, which will provide the foundation for application for any forthcoming government funds.

Last year, we began to build a District Heat Network in the town centre to provide cheaper, greener energy and contribute towards us becoming carbon neutral to help meet our climate emergency targets. The first phase is scheduled for completion in February 2022.

Our Crawley Homes division has joined the NetZero Collective. It aims to develop retrofit solutions for our different types of properties, resulting in lower energy bills for their tenants, to prevent fuel poverty and provide higher quality warm, well ventilated homes creating a positive environment where people want to live.