WOKING Borough Council has one of the strongest plans for tackling the climate and ecological emergency among local authorities in Surrey.

In a nationwide project, Climate Emergency UK marked every council’s Climate Action Plan, producing a scorecard of good practice.

Woking scored 70%, behind only Waverley (76%) in Surrey. Among other councils, Surrey Heath was awarded 63% and Surrey County Council 48%. The average score for English borough and district councils was 43% and 40% for county councils.

Climate Emergency UK used 28 questions in nine sections to assess all UK councils’ Climate Action Plans. Questions included whether the climate actions are costed; if the actions are assigned to specific teams; do the actions have a clear goal; and are local residents being engaged with climate action.

Woking achieved full marks for Measuring and Setting Emissions Targets (5 out of 5), and high scores for Mitigation and Adaptation (17/18), Commitment and Integration (6/7) and Community, Engagement and Communications (7/9).

Welcoming the scorecard, the council’s portfolio holder for the environment, Cllr Kevin Davis, said: “This is really encouraging and shows that as a borough we’re thinking along the right lines. We’re in a good position to make a real difference.

“We’ve done a great deal of work to understand the council’s carbon footprint and how we can reduce or offset this. We’re greening our buildings, which are supplied by a low carbon, combined heat and power energy station in Woking town centre.

“We’ve also put in place measures to mitigate the effects of climate change and adapt to changing conditions. These include the construction of the Sutton Green flood alleviation scheme and the creation of rainwater gardens in urban areas to reduce surface water flooding.

“Natural Woking, our biodiversity and green infrastructure strategy, sets out how we intend to enhance the provision and accessibility of green spaces, conserve existing biodiversity and habitats and create opportunities for species to return to the borough.

“But to prevent and reverse the effects of climate change, everyone needs to be involved. Our Planet Woking campaign inspires residents to lighten their environment impact, and I urge everyone to visit www.planetwoking.co.uk. The smallest actions can make the biggest difference if we all do our bit.”

The council’s 2022 environmental priorities include a significant increase in electrical vehicle infrastructure, with more than 70 new charging bays in Woking town centre; more wildflower planting; and continued support for homeowners to help with energy efficiency improvements.

However, Climate Emergency UK points out that it has assessed only action plans this time, not the actions councils are taking.

Spokesman Isaac Beevor said: “Next year we will be assessing all councils on what they are actually doing because some councils may be doing good things which aren’t reflected in their action plan.

“This year’s scorecards are just the start. It has been an important exercise; a good plan will help a local authority deliver effective actions, as well as enabling local residents to know what their council has committed to and so hold the council to account.”

* TO view Woking Borough Council’s scorecard, visit https://councilclimatescorecards.uk/councils/woking-borough-council/