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Turning words into climate action

APSE Training’s hugely popular Carbon Literacy course has been a real source of inspiration for Wirral Council, as it aspires to become a net carbon neutral council by 2030.

Wirral Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 and since this time have developed an Environment and Climate Emergency Policy and Climate Emergency Action Plan in order to meet our target of being a net zero carbon council by 2030. 

The Carbon Literacy course uptake was a key action within Wirral Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan. As part of a risk analysis done by the Climate Emergency Team, areas of the action plan were identified which may be hindered by a lack of experience regarding environment and Climate Emergency. APSE’s Carbon Literacy course helped us to fill this knowledge gap as it provides an excellent introduction to climate and environment related issues, helping our council officers understand the key challenges ahead and what can be done to enact change, both within the Council and at a national and regional level. 

APSE’s Carbon Literacy course has brought more engagement to Wirral Council’s Climate Emergency Declaration and Action Plan. Targeting senior level management and councillors to take part in the course we have been able to increase awareness and knowledge to all service areas of the Council, further supporting the Climate Emergency. This has filtered down through the teams and ensured that all employees are considering the climate emergency in their roles. 

One action within our Climate Emergency Action Plan is the inclusion of environment and climate emergency implications in committee reports. We are working to ensure all report writers undergo carbon literacy training so that due consideration is given to the environmental and carbon impacts of our decisions.

Part of the course challenges the individual to be more climate conscious in their personal life by setting out a pledge listing environmental activities or actions they can be responsible for at home. The response was well received and really challenged the attendees to think more deeply about their carbon and environmental impact. The feedback we received from the attendees shows a positive reflection of what we originally set out to achieve with APSE, which was a carbon literate and environmentally conscious collection of council officers to support with our 2019 Climate Emergency Declaration. 

It has also brought engagement from different council officers who may not have had vested interest in Climate Emergency and environment already but were delighted to receive the training and are now enthused and engaged with the Climate Emergency team to help support the Council’s Climate initiative. 

To reinforce the learning and keep the climate agenda at the forefront of employees minds, we have also continued communication with employees that that undertaken the Carbon Literacy Course. This is key to ensuring that officers continue to understand the Council’s ongoing commitment to the climate emergency and the progress we are making towards our target. The Climate Emergency Team publish a bimonthly Carbon Literacy Alumni newsletter giving important updates on work that the Climate Emergency Team does, examples of best practice, updates on the wider cross-council Climate Emergency Action Group and Wirral’s Cool Wirral strategy of which we are a partner.  

In the newsletter we highlight what is expected of Carbon Literate employees in their role in the Council. By communicating bimonthly, it ensures that the Climate Agenda and the aims of the Carbon Literacy course are at the forefront of their minds and in their decision making. The senior leadership team are invested in the Climate Emergency and the newsletter is sent out from Senior Leadership Team to have maximum impact for employees. Our goal of a net carbon neutral council by 2030 is ambitious, so to reach this goal, a cross-council, cross-departmental effort is crucial. 

With such a high attendance of council staff, we achieved bronze status certification and are now aiming for silver status, helped by APSE’s support and deliverance of the course. We are confident that having more climate aware and carbon literate employees will assist in Wirral Council reaching their net zero carbon targets.

Help to forge a sustainable future for your local authority and area by booking a place on our carbon literacy training courses! For more information about APSE’s rich suite of carbon literacy courses, please contact Head of APSE Training Fiona Sutton-Wilson on fsuttonwilson@apse.org.uk or click here to access the APSE Training Hub.


Promoting excellence in public services

APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit unincorporated association working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority frontline services, hosting a network for frontline service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, cemeteries and crematorium, environmental health, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.






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