Agenda and minutes

Climate Change Working Group (SMDC Pre 2023) - Thursday, 18th March, 2021 6.30 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Pat Trafford. Tel. 01538 395551. Email: 

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Mr. Garry Cornell and from Mr. Mark Trillo for late attendance. Mr Cornell had stood down from the Working Group and Mr. Mark Johnson had taken his place.


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 21 January 2021 pdf icon PDF 94 KB


DECIDED – That the minutes of the meeting of the Climate Change Working Group held on 21 January 2021 be APPROVED as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


(Proposed by Councillor Yates and seconded by Councillor Flunder.)


Declarations of interest


There were no declarations of interest made.


Summary to date of project suggestions pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Additional documents:


Councillor Yates opened the item, confirming the importance of establishing a clear link from the Sub Groups through the Working Group and up the chain to incorporate proposals into the Council’s Green Infrastructure Plan.

Also, as 3 of the Chairs of the Sub Groups were not appointed members of the Working Group, in the event of a vote being taken they would each be allowed a vote.

It was also clarified that, whilst the main Working Group would be unable to meet during the pre-election period, the Sub Groups would be able to do so.


Travel & Transport

Cllr. Flunder advised that some elements discussed by the group were already contained in section 2 of the Council’s Climate Action Plan.

A document had been circulated within the sub group highlighting 4 key areas identified:-

1.    Green corridors for walking, cycling and other activities & connectivity;

2.    Car sharing and green taxis or other travel options;

3.    Alternative energy vehicles and other public transport options;

4.    Virtual meetings and using technology to reduce the need to travel.

Future meetings would be visited by the Council’s new Walking & Cycling Officer and by a representative from Jaguar Land Rover.


Natural Environment

Cllr. Taylor reported that the sub group’s main focus had been on increasing tree-planting and the clear need for a Supplementary Planning Document to link to new properties, though not those on Brownfield sites. This would increase the canopy cover and help with:- Carbon capture, Biodiversity, enhancement of the environment and protect against global warming. An example was given where this had been done at Wycombe District Council.

It was agreed that this would be written up as a proposal to be taken forward.



Cllr. Price highlighted the need for a design Supplementary Planning Document and had hoped to attend a meeting regarding this with Ben Haywood & Cllr. Joe Porter. A similar SPD had been done at Guildford Borough Council which signposted developers to the SPD’s requirements.

Some of this Council’s policies were perceived to be out of date and needed updating and centralising to make them more applicable and accessible.


Industry & Agriculture

Cllr. Holmes confirmed that the sub group had been working with ORNUA Foods and Lafarge, who were also working together on climate change-related matters. Staffordshire Young Farmers were also now becoming involved and more farming input was needed. Whilst many ideas were being put forward, many would not apply directly to the Council.



Cllr. Herdman advised that they had been looking at Energy use in Council buildings, electric vehicle charging points and solar panels etc. They were looking to produce a similar document to that produced by the Travel & Transport Sub Group as referred to above.


Mark Forrester was keen to attend each of the sub groups and would be talking to the respective chairs to progress this.


Staffordshire Councils - Zero Carbon Britain Innovation Lab Training Process pdf icon PDF 447 KB


Mark Forrester (MF) introduced the ‘Zero Carbon Britain Innovation Lab’ which had been set up in conjunction with the Centre for Alternative Technology. MCA members had asked for this document to be presented to the working group.

An innovation lab is a highly designed and expert facilitated process intended to support multi-stakeholder groups in addressing a complex social problem, which aims to transform the current system in order to address that problem. Social Innovation Labs typically have the following core elements:-

·       They are co-creative;

·       They are experimental;

·       They have a clear process design and expert facilitation;

·       They are ‘sense-making’;

·       They are systemic.

MF had attended 2 workshops so far, accompanied by Cllr. Porter, with all Staffordshire authorities attending. The workshops had proved to be of a high quality and inspiring, though there was clearly a disparity in commitment levels across the authorities, meaning that it was proving difficult to get them working together. Key issues were being identified and a central decision was needed for all authorities to align to.

Mike Jones (MJ) identified a link to the Climate Commission as a way of bringing the authorities together.

Cllr. Yates noted the relatively poor level of attendance by members at the CAT presentation in 2018 and wondered where SMDC fit in the ‘league table’ of commitment by Staffordshire authorities. MF advised of a mixed picture, with better political ‘buy-in’ by SMDC. We were comfortably on the ‘top table’.


Moorlands Climate Action - Update on Projects


MJ itemised the current activities and projects being undertaken by Moorlands Climate Action (MCA) and re-iterated their desire to work with SMDC wherever possible on:-

·       Supporting schools with eco-education;

·       Wildlife refuges – planting on roadsides in and out of Leek;

·       Community gardens & orchards;

·       Refill;

·       Repair cafés – some had already been set up in Buxton and Macclesfield;

·       Library of Things – e.g. Jet washers. Storage facilities needed;

·       Renewable energy - Nigel Williams specialising;

·       Regular Market Stall promoting nature-based gardening;

·       Visits to waste-processing sites – 2 so far;

·       ‘20’s Plenty’ campaign to improve road safety around schools’

Cllr. Flunder asked whether MCA would be able to assist with wildflower planting in Brown Edge where a similar project was ongoing. Also help was needed with allotments in another parish. MCA representatives were invited to attend and talk at the Parish Assembly on 25 March.

Cllr. Yates advised that Biddulph Town Council (BTC) had attended the ‘20’s Plenty presentation. Some recycling Centres had introduced racks where usable items could be placed, rather than placing such items in the skips. This could be linked to the Repair Cafes. There was a need to improve the links between BTC and MCA.


Cllr. Aberley confirmed that the next meeting of the Working Group would be after the Elections.