Surrey's climate change strategy

Climate change strategy update, January 2024

This information has been updated in our latest Climate Change Delivery Plan Progress Report (November 2023). For latest information, see our progress on becoming a carbon free council.

The United Nations and the international scientific community have made clear the potentially severe global human, environmental and economic impacts that man-made climate change poses. The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015, recognised the need to accelerate actions and investment to combat climate change and pursue efforts to limit the future global temperature increase to 1.5°C. The potential implications if we do nothing for communities include increased risk of flooding and extreme heat, disruption to our critical infrastructure, networks and industry, and increased risk to our health and wellbeing.

Surrey's Climate Change Strategy is our delivery on these ambitions. It provides a joint framework for collaborative action on climate change across Surrey's local authorities and other partners. As an update to the Climate Strategy, please see Surrey's climate change adaptation and resilience strategy, which covers climate adaptation and risk reduction measures.

To achieve our goal of net zero carbon by 2050, we must act today.

We recognise that Surrey residents and communities are already facing, and will continue to face, the impacts of climate change on a daily basis. As part of this Strategy, we seek to build on our existing measures to strengthen resilience down to the household level, through climate-proofing our services and infrastructure.

It is critical that we work alongside residents, the business community in Surrey and other key partners to ensure we are able to secure the required innovation, behaviour change and investment required to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

About the strategy

The strategy was developed through engaging with academic partners, residents, businesses, schools and emergency services through workshops, focus groups, resident panels, and commissioning groups. It contains:

  • 8 themed chapters
  • 19 targets
  • 164 actions

Some of these actions can be undertaken immediately and are expected to be completed by 2022, whilst others will take longer to plan, implement and achieve – working towards a 2035 timeline. They will be a mixture of those implemented by Surrey County Council and other authority partners, whilst others will be what our residents and businesses can do. The strategic priorities within the strategy, and the accompanying emissions reduction targets, will be revisited every five years to consider potential for acceleration, with an annual progress report against our targets and key actions. Hereunder is an overview of the chapters included in the strategy, their ambition and main target.


Organisation Emissions: Achieve net zero carbon local authorities that lead by example in promoting sustainable practices across their operations, estate, and vehicles.

Net zero carbon for Surrey's organisational emissions by 2030 or sooner.

Transport: Deliver and promote an integrated, accessible, affordable and reliable public and active (walking or cycling) transport system across the County, thereby reducing journeys and improving local air quality for improved health and wellbeing of our residents.

60% emissions reduction
in the Transport sector by 2035 against BAU (business as usual) as a minimum.

Energy Generation: To support the national decarbonisation ambition by leading renewable energy generation expansion and bringing low carbon heating into Surrey homes through smart, decentralised systems.

15% of energy from solar PV by 2032.

Housing and Planning: To create low carbon, healthy homes for our residents that reduce emissions, have lower running costs and improve the wellbeing of our community.

66% emissions reduction in the domestic housing sector by 2035 against BAU as a minimum.

Buildings and Infrastructure: To drive forward the transition to a zero carbon built environment, through the pursuit of lower operational energy use, increased supply of renewable energy to Surrey's buildings and reduced embodied carbon – the GHG emissions associated with non-operational phases e.g. construction.

61% emissions reduction across commercial and public buildings sector by 2035 against BAU as a minimum.

Waste, Resources and Circular Economy: Rethink our current approach to waste, to create a system centred on circular economy principles that seeks to prioritise the reduction of waste creation, encouraging innovative approaches to waste reutilisation and recycling - throwing away will become a last resort.

70% of all local authority collected waste reused, composted or recycled by 2030.

Land Use and Food Systems: Develop a land use framework for Surrey focused on increasing accessible green spaces, woodland cover in appropriate locations in line with national targets and sustainable farming practices.

1.2 million trees planted by 2030.

Industry and Green Economy: Pursue the transition to clean growth, through the decarbonisation of all major sectors and investment in the development of clean technologies and industries that create jobs and improve the quality of life for our residents.

56% emissions reduction across industry by 2035 against BAU as a minimum.

If you would like to continue to input into the delivery of our strategy by providing suggestions of actions at the Surrey's Greener Future website.

This strategy is supported by:

For further information about the strategy please contact

For information on adaptation and resilience, please contact:

Files available to download

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