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Climate emergency


We are in a climate emergency.

Icon for pdf Climate in a Year transcript (PDF, 94.4kb)

Climate change poses one of the greatest threats to human life and has the potential to cause catastrophic problems for generations to come.

Immediate action is critical if we are to avoid the worst impacts of this climate emergency. It is important that we look at and address the issues in our area, to reduce our contribution to this international crisis.

In 2009 Durham County Council began investing in action against Climate Change by establishing a dedicated team to focus solely on this issue.

In 2019 Durham County Council declared a climate emergency and pledged to:

  1. Reduce carbon emissions from Durham County Council's operations by 80% from 2008/09 levels by 2030, making significant progress towards making Durham County Council and County Durham as a whole carbon neutral.
  2. Investigate what further actions are necessary to make County Durham Carbon Neutral by 2050 and pledge to achieve this.

A Climate Emergency Response Plan was presented to Council on 17 July 2019 and is available to download at County Council agenda and minutes 17 July 2019 (item 9).

A public consultation was carried out on this plan and the results have shaped our further actions, as presented below.

Climate Emergency Action Plan

To ensure that we meet our goals we have drawn up two fully costed action plans, one for the council's target and one for the countywide target.

Each plan is written in detail for the first two years and presents an outline of what will be required for the rest of the process and will be updated on an ongoing basis. An updated version of the Response Plan will be made public every two years, including two new action plans for the next two years of work toward achieving our two goals.

The Response Plan was submitted to and approved by Cabinet on 12 February 2020, and can be downloaded at Cabinet agenda and minutes 12 February 2020 (item 7).

Progress to date

We're now in the second phase of our  Climate Emergency Response Plan. This was adopted by our Cabinet in June 2022. We have committed to reaching Net Zero by 2030 with an 80% real carbon reduction to our emissions.  We will work with partners and communities to achieve a carbon neutral County Durham by 2045.

Icon for pdf Climate Change Strategy and Emergency Response Plan 2022-24 (PDF, 6.8mb)

County Durham

The Council's emissions make up only 3% of those emitted in total by County Durham's homes, businesses, and travel activity. Everyone who lives, works, visits, or travels in Durham needs to play their part in helping to reduce these emissions. So far, County Durham's emissions have reduced by approximately 54%. For more information please visit:

What can you do?

The Climate Emergency is a global problem which everyone can help to solve. At the moment everyone in County Durham is contributing to the problem, though most of us would prefer not to. 

There's lots of information on what you can do to play your part on our Climate County Durham website.

Contact us
Sustainability Carbon and Climate Change
03000 265 545
Our address is:
  • 5th Floor
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ