Skip to content
  1. Do it online
  2. Login
  3. Have your say
  4. My Durham

Our online benefit claim and calculator will not be available between 7.00pm on Friday 21 January and 9.00pm on Saturday 22 January due to maintenance. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

The Health Secretary has set out the next steps in the fight against Coronavirus. See the press conference at Youtube: Coronavirus press conference (19 January 2022).

Key County Durham figures meet to sign climate pledge during COP26

Published November 04, 2021 9.17am


As world leaders gather in Glasgow over the next two weeks for the crucial COP26 summit, key figures in County Durham got together to pledge their own efforts to tackle climate change.

Beamish Hall Climate

Attendees of the event at Beamish Hall

More than 70 attendees, including representatives from us, Durham University, businesses, and the NHS, gathered at Beamish Hall to sign a new climate change agreement, announcing their commitment to work together to protect the environment.

County Durham Climate Change Agreement

This County Durham Climate Change Agreement is a new initiative designed to create a strong and active partnership of organisations which will work together to make real environmental progress. It is hoped that following the launch many more organisations across the county will sign the pledge.

To support the agreement, we developed a new website and video to extend the invitation to individuals and communities to come together and pledge to reduce their impact.

The website was launched at the beginning of the conference, and has information on what local residents, businesses, children and young people, and community groups can do, as well as a pledge for individuals and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to sign.

Find more information on actions everyone can take to reduce their impact, or sign the County Durham Climate Change Agreement.

Collective effort

Cllr Mark Wilkes, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: "We are committed to doing all that we can to tackle climate change and we have made some really strong progress so far in addressing vital environmental issues.

"However, we have pledged to make our county carbon neutral, and to do this we need to work with partners and the community in a collective effort to achieve this target. Today's event has been a great success and important ideas have been shared, and we hope this event has spread awareness of what we can do together to make a positive impact for our county."

Key speakers

Our chief executive, John Hewitt, and Cllr Wilkes were key speakers at the event and delivered presentations on the substantial efforts already made in the county to reduce emissions.

They also discussed the next steps to addressing net zero and were joined by speakers Sue Jacques, chief executive of County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust, and Tony Cleary, managing director of local business Lanchester Wines, both of which are leading the way on tackling climate change.

Sue said: "We launched our Green Plan earlier this year but were already making significant changes including a 16 per cent reduction in waste production between 2016 and 2020 and a 50 per cent reduction over two years in the use of harmful anaesthetic gases.

"As we replace our fleet vehicles we're moving to electric and have also installed additional cycle storage and electric vehicle points at our hospitals in Durham and Darlington encouraging the use of sustainable transport. The essence of our plan isn't simply meeting targets, it's about changes in culture and behaviour across our teams and services.

"Working collaboratively as part of the County Durham Climate Change Agreement will take us all further, faster."  

The conference then heard from businesses and organisations that want to do everything they can to reduce their carbon emissions and help others to do the same.

Climate plan

Some of our new electric vehicles were on show, as the authority works towards transforming its operational vehicles into a fully electric fleet.

In 2019 we declared a climate emergency, pledging to reduce carbon emissions from its operations by 80 per cent by 2030 and make County Durham carbon neutral by 2050.

It also established its Climate Emergency Response Plan (CERP) outlining actions it will take to meet this pledge and tackle climate change.