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Climate Action

achieving net zero and adapting to climate change

What is it?

Globally and nationally the response to addressing climate change has not been adequate. Global warming reached 1°C in 2017, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assesses that it is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate. Indeed, there is now growing concern that even this threshold will be crossed. Climate change is therefore a universal pressure on, and threat to, the Lake District, its environment, economy and communities. The UK Government passed laws in 2019 to end its contribution to global warming by 2050. This means the UK will be required to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Urgent actions to reduce carbon emissions are required and the Lake District must play its part. The impacts of climate change are evident now and will impact all aspects of the National Park. Increasing our focus on adapting to a changing climate and increasing the resilience of the Lake District, particularly around water resources management, is a pressing need.

What we are trying to achieve is set out in the Partnership Plan here:

Climate action – achieving net zero and adapting to climate change

The Lake District National Park Carbon Budget

To enable us to use the latest data and evidence for understanding the current carbon budget for the Lake District National Park, the Partnership has worked with Small World Consulting to re-baseline the consumption-based greenhouse gas footprint assessment made in 2019.

It assessed the full footprint of industry and lifestyles, as well as goods and services related to residents and visitors travelling to and from and moving around the National Park. It also updated the carbon footprint for land use and land management. The budget used a range of data, such as emissions factors for industry and fuels, through to DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) land use emissions for national parks and the Cumbria Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) habitat baseline map.

The results showed an increase in car journeys and gave us new understanding about how land based non-CO2 equivalent emissions (such as from agricultural methane and nitrous oxide) contribute. The updated 2019 baseline (showing for each sector in the graph below) now totals 2,048,662 tCO2e (tonnes of CO2 emissions) per year. (The tailpipe emissions from a typical petrol car doing average mileage of 7,500 is 2 tCO2e per year, so this is equivalent to the annual emissions from over a million cars). This increase of 349,048 tCO2e per year compared to the original 2019 budget of 1,773,080 tCO2e per year makes our work more urgent and critical. However, it has not changed our ambition for net zero by 2037 nor our commitments and actions in the Plan.

The new budget proposes a reduction pathway, for each of these sectors, shown in the descent curve graph on page 8. These are aligned to the wider Cumbria carbon budget and integrated with the work we do with Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership (ZCCP) to reduce emissions in the county between the Lake District National Park Partnership’s Key Outcome Groups and ZCCP’s sector groups. This will help us deliver actions across the Partnership Plan in:
• Developing and agreeing a pipeline of new Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership sector projects for climate action to move towards addressing the gap identified between our current position and net zero;
• Decarbonising transport;
• Reducing the contributions farming and land management make to greenhouse gas emissions in line with the National Farmers Union net zero goal and support farmers and land managers on adaptation of their land.

We hope to be able to re-calculate our carbon budget on an annual basis in order to monitor
our progress.

Carbon Reduction and Community Energy Support for Local Councils

Cumbria Association of Local Councils (CALC) and Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAfS) are working together to explore ways in which they can help Local Councils (town and parish councils) reduce the carbon footprints of their own operations, their residents and communities.

The two local authorities in Cumbria have acknowledged the seriousness of the climate emergency and have joined the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership whose 85+ members have made a commitment to achieving net zero in Cumbria by 2037.

In March 2023 CALC and CafS created and emailed an online survey to town and parish councils, which focused in particular on carbon reduction and community energy. The results of the survey will be analysed in the hope A possible Net Zero pathway
that the knowledge gained will enable both organisations to support town and parish councils to reduce the carbon footprints of their own operations, their residents and communities using a targeted approach.

The intention is to create a support pack for town and parish councils on the topic, as well as organising and hosting an on-line event in 2023 where people can find out more about relevant support and activities in relation to community and renewable energy.

– Sonia Hutchinson, Cumbria Association of Local Councils

2019 Baseline Emissions

A possible Net Zero pathway

Source: Small World Consulting

Buttermere and Wasdale Shuttle Buses

Through partnership working with the Cumbria Tactical Visitor Management Group (a group comprising senior representatives from Cumbria Constabulary, Cumbria Tourism, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, National Trust, Forestry England, Cumbria Fire and Rescue, Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association, Cumberland Council, Westmorland and Furness Council and the Lake District National Park Authority) the Partnership secured funding to run popular shuttle buses to Buttermere and Wasdale in summer 2022. The aim was to reduce the number of cars travelling into and parking in the two valleys by providing sustainable and low-cost public transport alternatives. The fares were kept deliberately low so as to be attractive to visitors.

The shuttle buses helped to support two Key Outcomes in the Partnership Plan: Climate Action (through reducing the amount of
carbon emitted from cars in the valleys) and Sustainable Travel and Transport (though encouraging the use of public
transport).

The shuttle buses haved returned in summer 2023 with the Buttermere shuttle, run by Stagecoach, operating between Cockermouth and Buttermere via Lorton, and the Wasdale Shuttle, provided by Sim’s travel of Eskdale (as last year), operating between Ravenglass station and Wasdale Head, with a shuttle bus service between Nether Wasdale and Wasdale
Head offering a park and ride facility in the valley.

The Wasdale Shuttle Bus

Cumbrian businesses win £1.25m low carbon funding

Ninety-two Cumbrian businesses have received grants totalling £1.25m to reduce their carbon footprint. They have benefited from the Low Carbon Lake District Fund administered by The Lake District Foundation.

Over three years the fund has supported small to medium-sized businesses across the length of the Lake District including village shops, hotels, community-owned pubs, cinemas, breweries and arts venues. They have received funding for everything from electric vehicle charging points, LED lighting, air source heat pumps, solar panels (installation pictured above),
and more environmentally friendly appliances. It is estimated that resulting carbon savings of all these projects amounts to more than 400 metric tons of carbon. Qualifying groups and businesses were awarded up to 60% of project costs, with all
projects completed by spring 2023.

Managed by The Lake District Foundation, the Low Carbon Lake District Fund was led by the Lake District National Park Authority; other key Partners included the National Trust, Westmorland and Furness Council (formerly South Lakeland District Council) and Cumbria Tourism. The Fund was supported by the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF).

– Dickie Felton, Lake District Foundation
Preparation for the installation of solar panels at the headquarters of Crosby Grainger Architects(photo c/o Lake District Foundation)
Preparation for the installation of solar panels at the headquarters of Crosby Grainger Architects
(photo c/o Lake District Foundation)

Traditional Building Pilot Project

Traditional barns can be found in every settlement and valley in the Lake District; there are thousands of them across the National Park. Some are still used for agriculture, many have been converted to homes or other uses, but a large number have no beneficial use. Nonetheless, their contribution to the historic environment, cultural landscape and natural environment of the Lake District is invaluable. Traditional barns not only demonstrate the agro-pastoral practices for which the Lake District was inscribed as a World Heritage Site, they also provide valuable habitats for owls, bats, birds and other small mammals. They were often built with owl holes incorporated into the gable wall, and the rubble construction and slate roofs provide an ideal habitat for bats and small birds to utilise.

Repairing traditional buildings is an inherently environmental thing to do; the embodied carbon is often lower than most new buildings as the materials used are natural, sustainable and sourced from the local area. Repairing and, where possible, reusing existing buildings will almost always have a lower carbon footprint than putting up a new one. Conserving and repairing these vernacular buildings delivers multiple benefits for people and wildlife, as demonstrated in the barn repair projects completed over the past four years. Between 2019 and 2022, 10 barns were conserved as part of a DEFRA-funded pilot project jointly managed by Historic England and Natural England, with the Lake District National Park Authority leading delivery.

As we think about ways to reduce our carbon footprint the historic environment is often not at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but these traditional buildings can offer us some useful pointers about sustainable living which were being practised centuries ago; source local sustainable materials; reduce transportation as much as possible; repair not replace; repurpose rather than demolish, and make space for wildlife.

Arklid Barn, Nibthwaite, before and after repairs
Arklid Barn, Nibthwaite, before and after repairs

We have lobbied Government at every opportunity about the consequences of the VAT disparity between repair/retrofit and new build. In our response to all Government Consultations (changes to NPPF, PD Rights etc and Historic England Consultations (Chloe has details of all these if needed) we have raised VAT as an issue which disincentivises repair and incentivises demolition and new build. It is important that Government acknowledges that the current VAT rules are encouraging developers to look at new build options over retrofit. Despite grants being available for some retrofit measures, if the VAT situation is not levelled up and new build continues to be financially incentivised, we will continue to see large numbers of high carbon developments. These in turn have implications for our housing stock (increasingly bigger and more expensive homes) and cumulatively may cause harm to the special qualities of the Lake District National Park.

This action has not been closed and a revised action written for Climate Action (Built Environment).

Securing agreement, by all Partners, on significantly reducing carbon emissions

The Partnership has committed to delivering carbon savings by integrating climate action into Partner business plans. Partners (surveyed at the time before the creation of the unitary authorities in April 2023) are at different stages in their planning and progress on emission reductions. More than half are aligned to the ambition for Cumbria to be net zero by 2037. Many have published their own net zero date and transparently report on emissions from their own business activities and those which are related to them outside of their organisation. We will be working together to improve progress in this area across the Partnership in 2023 with the aim of all Partners integrating climate action into business plans by 2024.

Building Preservation Notices

In 2023 we served a Building Preservation Notice at Collinfield Farm in the Winster Valley. This 17th century farmhouse with two 18th century bank barns was put up for sale on the open market and we were alerted to the historic interest of the buildings and interest being expressed by potential purchasers in demolishing the buildings and redeveloping the site. A Building Preservation Notice was served in August 2023 which gave the buildings immediate protection. The site was subsequently assessed by Historic England and the farmhouse and both bank barns listed Grade II in January 2024.

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