Our Local Government Structure in Epsom and Ewell
In Epsom and Ewell we have a 2 tier local government structure, we have a Borough Council: Epsom and Ewell Borough Council and a County Council: Surrey County Council.
Surrey County Council is responsible for services across the whole county such as: education, transport, planning, fire and public safety, social care, libraries, waste management, and trading standards.
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council covers a smaller area than the County Council and is responsible for: rubbish collection, recycling, Council Tax collections, housing, and planning applications.
Both Councils are made up of elected Councillors and Council employees. Councillors are elected by local people to "plan, run, monitor and develop council business. This includes taking part in partnerships with others to do this. Councillors work to improve the quality of life for people within the borough." More details on the role of a Councillor can be found here.
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council is run using a Committee System, this means that the council is divided into politically balanced committees that make the decisions.
Surrey County Council is run on a Leader and Cabinet system: "A Cabinet made up of the Leader, Deputy Leader and eight Cabinet Members is responsible for all executive decisions, with each Member holding the brief for a portfolio of services." More details can be found on the Surrey County Council website.
Local Government impact on Sustainability
Our local Government has a high impact on local sustainability so it is important that we are engaged with local politics, vote in local elections and communicate with our elected representatives to highlight issues that concern us.
To find out details of your local Councillors and how to contact them, use Epsom and Ewell Borough Council's Where I Live tool.
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council
Climate Change Action Plan
A Climate Change Action Plan was formally agreed by the Council in January 2020. The Action Plan includes a target for the Council to be carbon neutral by 2035 along with targets against many other themes including transport, energy use and waste over the four year duration of the plan.
The Epsom and Ewell Borough Council (EEBC) Climate Change Action Plan can be found here.
An update on the Climate Change Action Plan was presented to the EEBC Environment and Safe Communities Committee on 26 January 2021, the full report can be found here and the updated actions list can be found here.
A further update was presented to the EEBC Environment and Safe Communities Committee on 1 June 2021, the full report can be found here (p11-41).
Air Quality Annual Status Report
In order to comply with Part IV of the Environment Act 1995, local authorities must conduct a review on local air quality, the latest reports are published on the Epsom and Ewell Borough Council website here.
The EEBC Air Quality Annual Status Report published in July 2020 can be found here. The report found that the High Street in Ewell still exceeds national guidelines for the annual mean concentration of NO2 and new measuring sites at the junction of London Road/Kingston Road are showing levels very close to the target maximum NO2 level.
Here are a couple of other key observations from the report:
"Road transport is identified as the largest contributor to nitrogen dioxide concentrations"
"Of the road transport fleet, diesel vehicles followed by light goods vehicles are the highest contributors to nitrogen dioxide exposure in the Borough."
"Of those particulates generated from road transport, the dominant source is tyre and break wear, not exhaust emissions"
It seems the message is clear, to improve air quality in our Borough we need to look to modes of transport other than cars for the journeys we take, whilst also reducing the journeys required for the transportation of the goods we consume. For example, we could reduce the miles travelled by the foods we eat by buying locally sourced, seasonal items.
Future 40 was a consultation initiative by the Borough Council to develop a new long-term vision for Epsom and Ewell.
Surrey County Council
Surrey County Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and published their Climate Change Strategy in 2020. This 84 page document sets out the ambitions of the County Council and their targets for the short and medium term in order to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. An overview of the document can be found here.
Surrey Climate Commission
The Surrey Climate Commission was officially launched in June 2019, formed from a collaboration of organisations, including Surrey University, Surrey Chambers of Commerce, Siemens, World Wildlife Fund and Surrey Wildlife Trust. The aim of the group is to provide an independent and authoritative voice to all organisations in Surrey, whether they be private, or public sector or other, helping them contribute to the county reaching its necessary climate target and to avoid the damaging effects of runaway climate change.