Agenda Item 12
Report NPA19/20-29
Report to
South Downs National Park Authority
26 March 2020
Director of Countryside & Policy Management, and Landscape &
Biodiversity Strategy Lead.
Title of Report
South Downs National Park Climate Change Action Plan
Recommendation: The Authority is recommended to:
1) Note the climate and nature emergency that has been declared by a number
of partner organisations
2) Affirm the Authority’s commitment to contribute to addressing the climate
and nature emergency by;
a) Committing to the South Downs National Park Authority becoming a
‘Net-Zero’ Organisation by 2030 as defined within appendix 1;
b) Agreeing the action plan set out at appendix 4 which includes a
commitment to working with our constituent Local Authorities and other
partners, in particular communities and landowners to deliver actions that
respond effectively to the climate and nature emergency;
c) Committing to working towards the South Downs National Park becoming
‘Net-Zero with Nature’ by 2040 as defined within appendix 1.
3) Note the creation of a climate change action fund reserve as part of the
2020/21 budget.
4) Note that monitoring of delivery against the Climate Change action plan will
be undertaken by the Policy and Resources Committee.
1. Introduction
1.1 In November 2019 a workshop was held, attended by Members, officers and invited
partners to consider how the SDNPA should begin to develop its response to the emerging
climate emergency, which had been declared by a number of statutory and non-statutory
partners across the areas of the National Park. The session provided an opportunity to
consider the issues for the National Park and discuss how the SDNPA might develop its
1.2 There was a clear recognition from NPA members at a member workshop that there was a
global environmental and ecological crisis. There was also an acknowledgement of the role
the SDNPA could play, and desire to understand where we could make the biggest
contribution, acknowledging that this has to be set within the context of furthering National
Park purposes and Duty
1.3 SDNPA members requested additional work be undertaken to better understand:-
The up-to-date evidence for the National Park area in terms of carbon and GHG
emissions, the role of each sector and how the biggest reductions could be made;
What the SDNPA could do directly to address the challenge, in terms of its own
operations and business continuity;
How we might best be able to co-operate with other reporting authorities to achieve
this shared purpose;
How we might use our convening role to achieve the necessary join-up and shared
action with our external partnerships;
Areas that were outside the scope of the SDNPA do deal with.
1.4 The results of this initial work is set out in the attached appendices to this report and is
intended to help the National Park Authority reach an informed decision about its
contribution to addressing the climate and nature emergency . It makes a number of
recommendations to members on the future direction of the NPAs work.
2. Policy Context.
2.1 The South Downs NPA has a key role in meeting the challenges arising from the climate and
nature emergency, in respect of the National Park, in particular through the existing
Management Plan and Local Plan policies. The NPA also has a range of tools and approaches
at their disposal in terms of advocacy, influence and delivery.
2.2 This is especially the case in terms of its strategic planning and policy making role. It will
inevitably require greater collaboration with our constituent Local Authorities and a wider
range of delivery partners.
2.3 Through our new Local Plan and our recently reviewed Partnership Management Plan we
need to properly co-ordinate our work on both climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Some of our activities have the potential to deliver on both.
3. Issues for consideration.
3.1 There is a great deal of positive overlap with our developing work on Nature Recovery.
Work to restore and create habitats will equally deliver on climate change targets.
Consequently we propose to deliver ‘Net-zero with Nature’ as further explored in
appendix 1.
3.2 It is also essential for the SDNPA to use its planning powers and policies to best effect.
There are a number of proposals in the Action Plan that seek to use delivery mechanisms
such as CIL to achieve greatest impact.
4. Options & cost implications.
4.1 Through the development of the 2020/21 budget a climate change action fund reserve has
been created. For 2020/21 the exact amount available to fund the action plan is not yet
confirmed and is dependent upon any underspend achieved in the 2019/20 budget. ., The
budgetary position in relation to this work is subject to a separate decision making process
and will be reported to the Policy and resources committee as part of its monitoring of this
4.2 The NPA could decide not to agree an action plan to contribute to addressing the climate
and nature emergency, however this has not been recommended as it would mean the
Authority is failing to play an apocopate role in the leadership and co-ordination of the
response to the emergency.
Mitigation Actions that limit the magnitude or rate of climate change and
its related effects. This is generally focussed on cutting the emissions of
Carbon Dioxide and other Green House Gasses.
Adaptation The process of adjustment to actual or expected changes in
climate and its related effects.
5. Governance in the SDNPA
5.1 The SDNPA Senior Management Team will co-ordinate this work as a ‘cross-cutting’ issue
with delivery predominately being delivered through the Authority’s Theme Programme
5.2 Resource planning and the links through to team plans will be overseen by the Operational
Management Team (OMT). This will include the identification and allocation of resources,
including staff resources, required to deliver on the action plan.
5.3 The intention is for the Policies & Resources Committee to maintain oversight on the
delivery of this work as it progresses.
5.4 A communications strategy will be developed and the public affairs strategy will be reviewed
to ensure Climate change is adequately expressed through this policy. Any resultant change
to the public affairs strategy will be considered by the NPA at the appropriate time
6. Other Implications
Yes, the Action Plan will need sufficient staff resource across the
NPA to support its delivery. This will include the development of
a core team to take forward the proposed climate actions.
The Action Plan has been developed in response to the UK’s
Climate Emergency. Money spent on positive action now will off-
set the costs of Climate Change Impacts in the future. As an
example the UK insured losses from storm events were £620
million per annum in 2012. For Storm Ciara (2020) alone the costs
are estimated between £912 million to £1.2 billion
No, implications arising from the proposals in this report.
Yes, no adverse implications have been identified. Individual
projects will be assessed as they are developed
There are no Human Rights implications arising from this
The existing climate change risk assessment highlights a number of
health & safety and welfare issues that may result from not
adequately adapting our policies and working practices.
The Climate Change Action Plan is wholly compliant with the five
principles of our Sustainability Strategy.
1/ Living within environmental limits 2/ Ensuring a strong healthy
and just society 3/ Achieving a sustainable economy 5/ Promoting
good governance 6/Using sound science responsibly.
7. Risks Associated with the Proposed Decision
The UK
declared a climate
change emergency
in May 2019. This
is in recognition of
the existential
threat it presents.
SDNPA Climate Change Risk Assessment
& Adaptation plan.
SDNPA Climate Change Action Plan set
out a range of actions we are able to take
to mitigate and adapt to the worst of
these risks.
UK Climate Change Committee considers
that the necessary transition is possible,
with technologies and approaches we
already have available to us.
Contact Officer:
Chris Fairbrother, Landscape & Biodiversity Strategy Lead
01730 819237
1. SDNP Climate Change Strategy
2. National Park Climate Change Action Plan
3. Climate Change Action Plan Summary Tables
4. Climate Change Action Plan - LPA survey
5. Climate Change Action Plan 5 year programme (Comms Draft)
6. HLF Climate Change Action Fund Funding Expectations
SDNPA Consultees
Chief Executive; Director of Countryside Policy and Management;
Director of Planning; Chief Finance Officer; Monitoring Officer; Legal
Services, Business Service Manager
External Consultees
Background Documents
SDNPA Climate Change Adaptation Plan.
South East Climate Action group (SECA) Database that summarises
current action by Local Authorities :-