Sustainable Hertfordshire Strategy, Hertfordshire County Council

When Hertfordshire County Council declared a climate emergency, we led the development of its ambitious strategy for achieving net zero – aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The strategy has two ambitions: to make the council a leader in its own operations; and to enable and inspire a sustainable county. It focuses on environmental, climate, energy and social issues to cut carbon, protect nature and ensure a fair transition for all. 
Hertfordshire project infographic

Our strategy shows how we will lead in the way we behave as a council, enable our providers to respond to the climate challenge and inspire the businesses and residents of Hertfordshire to make their own contribution to the climate challenge we all face.
David Williams Leader, Hertfordshire County Council

Specialists from across WSP advised on the strategy, including:

Carbon Modelling
Biodiversity Net Gain
Natural Capital
Climate Resilience
Waste and Resources

In focus: teamwork to meet a tight deadline

After declaring a climate emergency in summer 2019, Hertfordshire County Council committed to producing a sustainability strategy by the end of the year – a tight timeframe for any local authority. To meet this deadline, we needed to act quickly and gain support from across the organisation. 

 

Our wide-ranging sustainability expertise and close existing relationship with the council, which includes WSP specialists advising on topics such as future mobility as part of the team delivering the highways contract gave us a head start. To develop the strategy, we engaged with leaders from across the council’s different functions, and approached the work using our Lead – Enable – Inspire framework.  

 

We started by establishing a baseline capturing what the council had already achieved. For example, it had reduced CO2 emissions from street lighting by over 30% in 2018/19 compared to 2012/13. Then, we mapped business as usual trajectories, showing what would happen with no action. Finally, we outlined interventions that would help achieve the strategy’s aims. 

 

In energy, for example, the strategy outlines a range of interventions to help it eliminate fossil-fuel-derived energy from its buildings, transport and public realm. These include buying energy from renewable sources and developing renewable energy investments, including solar farms and battery storage. 

 

The strategy was approved by the council’s cabinet in March 2020 and each department is now creating and implementing action plans. 

 

Engaging closely with senior leaders was key to meeting the tight deadline and developing a robust strategy. By presenting at the council’s forum for leaders we gained early feedback on the initial ambitions and generated real enthusiasm for the project.
Eve Peverley Associate Director, WSP