Sustainability means that ensuring that the actions and decisions we take meet the needs of everyone now and for generations to come.
Taking a sustainable approach means balancing different, and often competing, needs against an awareness of the economic, social and environmental limitations that we face as a society.
The Council is operating at a time of reducing funding and increasing demand for its services. Adopting a sustainable approach will help us to meet this challenge.
Sustainability is important to every person living in Darlington and affects everyone's lives. It involves local people, community groups, voluntary groups, decision makers, local businesses - everybody who has an interest in Darlington.
In July 2019, Members acknowledged the threat of climate change and passed a motion committing the Council to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
As part of this commitment we have developed a strategy to set out the baseline of our own carbon emissions, to identify the key actions and intervention measures required to meet this commitment and what measures we will take to deal with unavoidable impacts of climate change. Work is ongoing to develop the supporting action plan.
Darlington Borough Council climate change strategy [pdf document]
We are also members of the Tees Valley Combined Authority, which produced a region-wide climate change strategy in 2010.
Tees Valley climate change strategy [pdf document]
What action can I take on climate change?
A lot of these ideas are really simple to do, but we know that lots of people are not doing them. So if you are, share with friends and family to encourage others to take part and do their bit.
Make Low Carbon Journeys
- walk or cycle to school, the shops or to work
- consider using public transport if possible
- car share for regular journeys, e.g. to work or school
- reduce the need to travel for business by looking at online meetings
- join your local car club and save on insurance and running costs
- think about making your next car an electric vehicle
- take shorter showers
- turn the tap off when brushing your teeth
- make sure you have a full load in your washing machine and dishwasher
- use a bowl for washing up
- boil the right amount of water needed for your cup of tea
- carry your own reusable cup
- take your own cutlery to work or on a day out
- buy your fruit and veg loose
- use a reusable bag for your shopping
Fight Against Food Waste
- plan your meals at the start of each week
- buy loose, where possible, as this is often cheaper and fresher and will also encourage you to buy only what you need
- learn how to cook and bake new recipes using leftovers
- support independent businesses
- reduce traffic on our roads
- improve air quality
- you will also be supporting your...
- local economy
- independent businesses
- switch off the lights – lighting costs account for around 15% of your household energy bill
- use LED light bulbs
- turn your thermostat down a notch – by reducing the temperature at home by 1°C, you could cut your annual energy bill by £75 and reduce your carbon emissions by 300kg.
- cut down on draughts - draught proofing is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy and money, and the materials are cheaply available from high street DIY stores for as little as £200
- switch to renewable electricity – most energy suppliers now offer a green energy tariff.
Other things to try
- consider reducing the amount of meat you eat regularly and buy it locally
- plant for shade
- check what’s happening locally and join in
- sign up for flood alerts from the Environment Agency
What could young people do?
- litter picks – school, local park, etc.
- design a plastic free lunch/picnic/party
- design a campaign to get all children to have a refillable/reusable water bottle
- get in touch with local Parish Council to see if they want help in planting wildflowers/managing the wildflower area – or find a plot and plant your own
- walk to school/college
- cycle to school/college
- encourage parents/carers to set up a car share scheme for school/after school club
- learn what can/can’t be recycled and why (ask for a Wastebuster [external link] assembly (primary) or a talk for secondary)
- learn to make a vegetarian/vegan meal
- create art from rubbish (although take care that it does not then become unrecyclable)
- develop an anti-idling campaign
- write to your Councillor/MP/Youth MP
How can I help make Darlington sustainable?
- apply for an allotment
- reduce food wastage with the Love Food Hate Waste Website [external link]
- become an Eco School [external link]
- become a friend of one of our parks
- find out about sustainable transport on Let's Go Tees Valley [external link]
As the Council continues on its journey to carbon neutral, we will be sharing our experiences to encourage businesses in Darlington to take their own actions to reduce energy emissions and make the changes to a more resilient future.
As a start, we have produced a Business Resilience Manual, which sets out the kind of questions to ask and lists some tools and contacts to help.
For more information on which businesses need to report carbon emissions and what is covered by the Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting regulations, please see the link below.
We are also pleased to be supporting the recently created North East of England Climate Coalition. This is England's first regional climate coalition and is open to organisations from all sectors to join.
For more information please see the new NEECCo website.
Share your ideas
If you have ideas that could help others become more sustainable, or thoughts that could help the Council on its journey to carbon neutral, please send them to [email protected]