District ‘Punches Above Weight’ In Green Credentials

Published on 28/07/22

South Cambridgeshire District Council has received a stamp of recognition for its green credentials with a Silver win in the Green Public Service category at the iESE Transformation Awards 2022.

As a small district council, South Cambridgeshire was recognised as punching above its weight on climate. Its initiative ‘Being Green to our Core’ is one of the Council’s four priority areas in its business plan, which highlights ten high-level green actions to be delivered across its operations. Being Green to our Core is guided by the South Cambridgeshire’s Zero Carbon Strategy and the Doubling Nature Strategy, both of which take a three-fold approach of: leading by example in the council’s own estate and operations, using the council’s direct influence through policies and, lastly, working with partners both within the district and in the wider geography, including developers, businesses, communities and central government to urge and support them to play their part.

The Silver-winning submission impressed the judges with its wide-ranging approaches to tackling climate change. Highlights of the council’s green approach, include:

  • Greening South Cambridgeshire Hall – the Council’s headquarters is nearing completion of a £1.8M energy efficiency retrofit to include a ground source heat pump, solar carport, upgraded lighting and other elements. The package will reduce the building’s primary energy demand by at least 56 per cent and halve carbon emissions.  As electricity is decarbonised, the building’s emissions should drop by 75 per cent of previous levels by 2030 and 90 per cent by 2050.


  • Pioneering electric bin lorries – as lead authority for the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service, the Council was one of the first in the UK to adopt a fully electric refuse collection vehicle in 2020. Two more are due to come into service shortly, and the Council is also developing a solar farm to power the lorries. Its shared waste depot is already partly powered by solar.


  • Zero Carbon Communities Grant– since launching in 2019, £314,415 has been allocated to 51 different community groups to support carbon reduction projects, including setting up E-Bike schemes, installing infra-red heating panels in community buildings, holding sustainable food festivals, tree planting, energy efficient lighting and waste reduction. The programme also provides free energy surveys for community buildings and holds monthly community networking sessions and an annual Climate and Environment fortnight of events.


  • Energy efficiency in council housing – the Council has installed solar PV on 1,110 of its 5,300 council homes and was an early adopter of heat pumps, installing them to 293 houses in off-gas areas and providing external insulation to 870 solid wall properties.

Commenting on the win, Councillor Pippa Heylings, Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, said: “We’re very honoured to receive this recognition for our work in building a greener public service for our residents. Like many councils, we are transforming our operations to meet the challenges of the climate ​and nature emergency, both nationally and locally. Our ‘Being Green to our Core’ strategy is at the heart of this transformation and is ​driving a radical restructure of our council and how we deliver its services.”

For more information about the iESE Awards, please click here.

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