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Environment and Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Committee

The Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee is aligned to County Durham Vision ambition of "Connected Communities' and the Council Plan theme of "Our Environment" which looks at actions taken to tackle the climate emergency, reduce the impact of pollution and waste and how we protect, restore and sustain our natural environment.

Chair's welcome 

Durham County Council in 2019 declared a climate emergency with our target as an organisation is to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2030 through offsetting and further reducing emissions and contribute towards and work with others to achieve our aim of a carbon neutral county by 2045. In addition, following a significant piece of work undertaken by this committee, reviewing evidence, to determine whether Durham County Council should declare an ecological emergency, Cabinet on the 6 April 2022, took the decision to declare an ecological emergency and agreed to progress the development of an action plan to address the ecological decline wherever possible.

The Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee has a key role in policy development considering policies and strategies which impact upon the environment of the county, often providing comment at the draft stage which is then used to develop the future strategy or policy. In addition, the committee has a role in both the development and monitoring of various key environmental delivery plans such as the Climate Emergency and the Ecological Emergency Response Plans to ensure that actions identified within the plans are achieved. The committee works closely with the Economy and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Committee in considering how we build upon our tourism and cultural offer within the county and current and future transport provision, focusing on the sustainable transport offer across the county.

Find more information on the committee, meetings and agendas on our Environment and Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Committee page.

Contact us for a copy of the work programme, or reports on our reviews.

Environment and Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee activity

The committee has undertaken the activity detailed below.

The committee has continued to monitor progress on review recommendations for:

  • Management of DCC Allotments (November 2022).
  • Ecological Emergency (January 2023, November 2023).

The committee has monitored progress on the following action plans:

  • Ecological Emergency Action Plan (November 2023).
  • Climate Emergency Response Plan 2 (March 2023).

The committee has:

  • Considered and commented on the development of the Library Transformation Proposals (December 2023).
  • Commented on and informed the development of the draft Destination Management Plan for County Durham (November 2023; 4 March 2024).
  • Engaged in the production and development of the Climate Emergency Response Plan 3 (March 2024).
  • Continued to monitor the development of the Local Nature Recovery Strategy for County Durham and the work of the County Durham Environment and Climate Change Partnership (November 2023).
  • Continue to inform DCC's management of land for biodiversity (February 2023; May 2024).
  • Scrutinised the work of the Strategic Waste Service (October 2022).
  • Examined the work and initiatives undertaken to reduce Fly Tipping in County Durham (November 2022, January 2024).
  • Monitored the work being done to reduce Fuel Poverty within the County (July 2022).
  • Considered and commented on the Tree Management Policy.

The committee considered updates on:

  • Air Quality (November 2022).
  • Highway, Footway and Bridge Maintenance (October 2023).
  • Street Lighting Energy Reduction Project (October 2023).
  • Transport including sustainable transport offer (May 2023; June 2024).
  • County Durham's Tourism Economy (April 2023; April 2024).

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