Climate change and sustainability

What is climate change?

Climate change is a sustained change in the average weather patterns experienced over a 30-year period or more.

For a detailed look at climate change, visit the Met Office website.

Climate change emergency

We have, along with many other councils in the UK, declared that there is a current and future climate change emergency that requires urgent planning and action. This will include the following:

  • That we work towards ensuring that the full range of council activities are net carbon neutral by 2030.
  • That an action plan will be developed as soon as possible.
  • That we ensure all services make the maximum possible impact in challenging the extent and causes of climate change. The developing new Local Plan will incorporate the maximum possible sustainability requirements that the system will allow, and encourage developers to go beyond this in order to future proof homes and buildings.
  • It will act to improve social housing energy efficiency through direct action and take full advantage of Government and energy provider funding to improve the energy efficiency of private homes.
  • Engage with all sectors of our residents, communities and businesses to publicise the climate emergency declaration and work together to reduce the possible impact.


What do we do?

Through our  Corporate Environmental Policy (PDF 127KB), we have made a commitment to reduce our environmental impact and continually improve our environmental performance. In October 2015, we were awarded the  International Certificate of ISO14001:2004 Environmental Management System (PDF 278KB).

To meet the requirements of ISO 14001:2004 we have to manage our environmental compliance, legal obligations, as well as reducing electricity, gas and water usage by 10 per cent in 13 of our commercial buildings, cutting the volume of waste being sent to landfill, and increasing our recycling rate to 65 per cent.

Improvements we’ve already made include:

  • The paper we use in our buildings is 100 per cent recycled
  • All confidential waste is recycled, so that we get it back as new paper to be used again
  • The recycling facilities in our buildings have been doubled and the number of waste bins reduced by half to encourage recycling
  • Car sharing scheme available for all employees
  • Cycle to work scheme available for all permanent employees
  • Building management system implemented to more effectively control heating and cooling of the buildings
  • Food waste recycling available in all offices

Sustainable movements

Sustainable movements are happening across Hertfordshire. For example, Berkhamsted hosted a National Transition Towns roadshow, while Tring holds annual eco fairs. Transition Towns are a good starting point to find out about what’s going on in your area, and how you can get involved. For more info, contact your local group:

Kings Langley -
Berkhamsted -
Tring -

What can I do?

There are many small and regular activities you can do to help improve the environmental quality of the borough. Click on the headings below for more information.

Hertfordshire Sustainability Forum

The Hertfordshire Sustainability Forum (HSF) is a countywide partnership of local authorities, other organisations and partners. HSF aims to raise awareness of environmental and sustainability directly relevant to the residents and businesses of Hertfordshire.

The Forum strives to develop environmental policies and initiatives that will benefit and enhance Hertfordshire as a whole, increasing awareness of key sustainability issues.

Green Our Herts

Green Our Herts is an educational working group within the Hertfordshire Sustainability Forum. It aims to promote key sustainability issues to residents and businesses countywide.

It focuses on campaign initiatives, ranging from energy conservation in the home to biodiversity promotion, in order to promote positive and consistent behavioural change.

For more information, please visit the Green Our Herts webpage or its Facebook page.

Contact us

If you would like more information, or if you have a specific request, please contact our Environmental Sustainability Officer.

Telephone: 01442 228000
Environmental Sustainability Officer
The Forum
Hemel Hempstead

Warning signCoronavirus (COVID-19): We continue to provide services online and via telephone. However, we recognise that in some cases you will need an appointment with an officer, and will therefore be offering limited pre-booked appointments at the Forum for urgent enquiries. Please call 01442 228000 and ask for the service you require. For council service updates and other advice, please see our COVID-19 page×