Climate Change

The council is committed to tackling climate change. We've declared a ‘climate emergency’ - vowing to half our carbon footprint by 2025 and make the county carbon neutral by 2030.

Climate Change

Climate Change Action Plan 2024-26

The Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and has developed a Climate Change Strategy and implemented the Climate Change Action Plan 2021-23. This has now been replaced by the 2023-2024 action plan which was approved by Cabinet in June 2024.

The new Climate Change Action Plan 2024-2026:

  • Communicates the successes and challenges of the previous three years
  • Confirms the councils’ commitments to achieving our 2025 and 2030 net zero targets for carbon dioxide emissions
  • Sets out the direction of travel for the next three years to support the achievement of longer term 2040 net zero targets for all greenhouse gas emissions
  • Highlights the international, national, and regional context within which this programme of work exists, and upon which its success is largely dependent

Download a PDF version of the latest Climate Change Action Plan 2024-26 here.

If you require a hard copy of the action plan, or require a more accessible format, for example, audio CD, braille, BSL or large print, please contact

Sign up to our monthly climate newsletter 

To keep up to date with our latest climate change news, events and funding opportunities, please subscribe to our monthly Climate Change Newsletter


The Climate Change Action Plan 2024-2026 supports the Council’s vision to ensure:

  • Northumberland is, and remains, a 'Land of Great Opportunities'
  • Northumberland’s people and ecosystems are healthy and thriving  

Climate change mitigation, adaptation, and the protection, repair, and enhancement of the environment are all critical to the successful delivery of the Council's three key corporate objectives: 

  • Delivering Value for Money 
  • Tackling Inequalities 
  • Driving Economic Growth 

The new Climate Change Action Plan 2024-2026 aligns with the Council’s wider environmental strategies, including its Environmental Policy Statement. This alignment recognizes the interwoven issues and need for a holistic approach across natural environment and climate change targets. 


The following targets were agreed by the Council at a Cabinet meeting in November 2023:

  • To be a carbon dioxide neutral organisation by 2030 
  • To work with the government to make Northumberland a carbon dioxide neutral county by 2030 
  • To work with the government to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions for Northumberland county by 2040 (Carbon dioxide, Methane and Nitrous oxide) which have recently been included in published government emissions data.

Read the Cabinet paper here.

Successes from the previous action plan

During the last action plan lifetime the Council achieved the following:

Policy and Governance  

  • Recruited skilled team to deliver climate change action plan 
  • Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions 
  • Secured over £28million pounds of grant funding 
  • The Council's planning system now includes climate change throughout the local plan
  • Collaborated with the third sector to deliver climate change initiatives 
  • Net zero has been embedded within the new North East Combined Authority (NECA) as a cross-cutting priority  
  • Received dedicated support for the Climate change team from the North of Tyne Combined Authority  
  • Collaborated with the North of Tyne and other regional Local Authorities to secure almost £2m for two regional services for home energy advice in the North East
  • Supported the Borderlands energy masterplan, which is due to begin delivery in 2024  

Engagement and communication  

  • Created online learning for Council staff, with a 90.99% completion rate 
  • Delivered Carbon Literacy training to 123 Council employees, and 2 elected members 
  • Developed and distributed Town and Parish Council Climate Change Tool Kit 
  • Attended over 50 Town and Parish Council meetings 
  • Issued 77 press releases (2022-2023) relating to the Council's climate change and environment initiatives 
  • Distributed monthly climate change newsletter to 6969 subscribers 
  • Produced social media posts that generated 180,000 engagements (2022-2023) 
  • Co-developed Community leaders Carbon Literacy Toolkit 
  • Given out 51,691 free tree saplings as part of the Council's annual free tree scheme 
  • Awarded £105k of funding to community groups as part Northumberland Climate and Environment fund 
  • Developed a local resource pack for Northumberland schools in partnership with the Ministry of Eco Education 
  • The Northumberland Schools Sustainability Network (NSSN) is now made up of 28 schools
  • Hosted the ‘Climate Change Youth Voice Event’ at County Hall in December 2023 
  • As part of the Northumberland Tree Warden Scheme, 23 Tree Wardens have been recruited

Reducing emissions from energy, heating and transport  

  • Secured funding for six domestic energy projects 
  • Retrofitted 323 homes in Northumberland and supported retrofit in 86  
  • Established Warmer Homes team – creating 14 highly skilled green sector jobs 
  • Sourced feasibility studies for low carbon district heat networks in eight towns 
  • Developed procurement strategy for heat network delivery partner 
  • Secured funding for 15 heat decarbonisation plans for Council buildings  
  • Secured funding to install heat pumps in 6 Council buildings 
  • Supported the building of solar car port at county hall 
  • Developed and adopted an electric vehicle charging strategy 
  • Collaborated with Council teams to secure funding to purchase and install 155 individual EV charge points across the county 
  • Supported the procurement of 42 electric vans and 3 electric cars, which are now operational in the Council's fleet 
  • Delivered a low-carbon synthetic fuel pilot project in two Council refuse collection vehicles 
  • Developed The Northumberland Line, which is nearing completion, helping to reduce congestion and improve air quality on key corridors by moving people away from car travel and onto public transport​
  • Secured active travel capability funding for delivery bikes for school and community use
  • Developed Twelve Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans. Identifying key cycling and walking corridors in Northumberland
  • Started the capital delivery stage of cycling and walking schemes in Ashington, Ponteland, Blyth, Bedlington, Hexham and Corbridge
  • Secured grant funding for the Bus Service Improvement Plan which has improved frequency of bus services and supported a new rural service and low-fares as part of the national £2 fare cap

Protecting the environment  

  • Secured funding for a pilot project working with the farming community to identify ways of decarbonisation agricultire and support access to sustainability funding
  • Led the Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) pilot which is now being developmed for the North of Tyne area
  • The Great Northumberland Forest project has led to 932 hectares of new woodland creation and 2.9 million individual trees or hedgerow trees being planted since 2019
  • Joined the Northumberland Peat Partnership and supported the delivery of detailed surveys of vulnerable upland peat 
  • Supported trials for new kerbside glass and food waste collection 
  • Co-delivered a pilot project for food and garden waste from rural domestic properties 
  • Supported establishment of vape collection bins at household waste recovers centers