Sustainable Futures Strategy

Closed 15 Jan 2023

Opened 18 Nov 2022

Feedback updated 4 Aug 2023

We asked

We wished to obtain feedback on our draft Sustainable Futures Strategy and action plan before finalising the document. We considered this important as these issues will affect everyone that lives or works in Warwickshire. We want to ensure our Strategy is focussing on the right things. In particular: 

  • Views on our ambitions and if you think we are ambitious enough 

  • Feedback to help us to understand how to get more residents and other stakeholders involved 

  • How best to collaborate and partner 

  • The suitability of our action plan 

  • Help us to understand if there are any barriers to making progress and, if so, what these are. 

  • Funding and financing 

The method of engagement was though a public survey open from 18th November 2022 to 15th January 2023. This was hosted online although paper copies of survey forms were made available if requested.  

A series of externally facilitated focus groups were held in February 2023.  

The public survey had no specific target audience as we wished to hear from all in Warwickshire, however due to the nature of the questions, this was best suited for people acting as residents.  

The focus groups (7) were split into members from common audiences: Warwickshire based business; care, community, public sector, seldom heard (particularly the young), subject specialists; a residents group recruited through an expression of interest. An additional focus group for Warwickshire County Council Councillors was facilitated by Democratic Services.  

You said

There were 221 responses to the online survey. Of these 82.8% were responding as members of the general public, 5% as Warwickshire County Council employees, 4.5% as representatives of a local community or voluntary sector organisation and 3.2% as an employee of another public sector organisation.

  • 47.6% of 208 respondents thought that the scope of the Sustainable Futures Strategy was ‘about right’, with just over a third (36.5%, n=76) saying that it was ‘not ambitious enough’ and a further 15.9% saying the strategy was too ambitious. 
  • 57.8% of 206 respondents felt that the number of objectives included in the strategy was ‘about right’, with just over a quarter (27.7%) saying there were too many objectives and a further 14.6% saying that there were ‘not enough’ objectives. 
  • When asked ‘What else should we be doing?’. The most frequently mentioned theme was ‘refocus efforts, be more specific’. Other common themes mentioned included support green infrastructures, buildings, and transport; protect biodiversity/ limit waste; and increase collaboration. 
  • When asked ‘What should we stop doing or scale back?’. The most frequently mentioned theme was to shift focus on short-term goals and quick wins. Other themes mentioned included do not remove any objectives; and specific areas to focus on or not focus on. 

Feedback was collected on each of the six sustainable futures themes.

  • Of the six key delivery themes proposed in the strategy Energy (65.4%, n=138), Transport (60.7%, n=128) and ‘Wildlife, our Natural Environment and Biodiversity’ (57.8%, n=122) were the options most likely to feature in respondents’ Top 3 priorities.
  • The ‘Sustainable Communities and Green Economy’ theme was ranked in either 5th or 6th position as a priority out of the six themes by more than half of respondents (53.6%).

Feedback was also collected on our delivery principles.

  • The delivery principles selected as the most important by the highest number of respondents were ‘address climate change and biodiversity justly and equitably’, ‘be innovative in our thinking and lead others on the journey’ and ‘not accept the status quo; we will challenge and inspire’. Each were selected by at least half of respondents.
  • The delivery principle chosen by the least number of respondents as important was ‘share our success and learnings’.

Each theme includes an objective. The following feedback was obtained on these:

  • (Biodiversity) ‘Improve the richness and diversity of Warwickshire’s habitats, wildlife and landscapes’ was the highest rated objective within this delivery theme (rated by 90.0% as very important or important). 
  • (Transport) ‘Provide low emission public transport options to serve Warwickshire’s communities’ was the highest rated objective within this delivery theme (rated by 86.4% as very important or important).  
  • (Built environment) ‘Work in partnership with Warwickshire’s district and boroughs to minimise carbon emissions in existing housing to make sure new housing has net zero emissions’ was the highest rated objective within this delivery theme (rated by 85.5% as very important or important). This was closely followed by ‘Minimise carbon emissions from any new Council buildings that we either build, acquire or lease’ (83.7%). 
  • (Energy) ‘Facilitate the take-up of low carbon energy solutions for residents and communities’ was the highest rated objective within this delivery theme (rated by 80.1% as very important or important). 
  • (Resources, waste and circular economy) Both ‘reduce amount of waste per head going to landfill to near zero by 2050’ and ‘reduce waste from Council buildings’ were the highest rated objectives within this delivery theme (rated by 82.8% % as very important or important). 
  • (Sustainable communities and green economy) ‘Lead by example by procuring sustainably and supporting the development of a localised green economy’ was the highest rated objective within this delivery theme (rated by 81.4% as very important or important). 

We received multiple offers by experts, practitioners, academics and community volunteers to support the Council in refining the Strategy.

Key messages from the focus groups were:

Partnership, engagement and collaboration. A strong willingness in working with the Council to share expertise, knowledge and project experience and ultimately support the Council on the journey of the Strategy. There was some disappointment that engagement on the strategy had not begun earlier, and some have asked if there an opportunity to provide further comment on the draft Strategy. The development and sharing of the strategy has created an opportunity for a more joined up and ambitious approach for WCC to work in partnership with others.

2050 net zero target. Provide more granular breakdown of Warwickshire emissions to allow improved targeting. Not enough interim and long-term targets; The Council should set a ‘high ambition’ emissions target for Warwickshire for 2030.Include a metric for air quality.

Action plan for Warwickshire encompassing our 2050 target. There was an overwhelming response from the focus groups, individual responses, and several in the Councillor session relating to the absence of an area based action plan to meet the ambitions for each of the six themes across Warwickshire. Comments suggested this left the strategy ‘partial’, ‘generally vague’, lacking ‘a pathway to achieving the goals’, with ‘a lack of tangible targets and proper resourcing’ and giving concern as to ‘how we're actually going to achieve it’. “there is too much reliance on offsetting which is inadequate”

Funding: The overwhelming feedback recognises that access to finance will restrict our ability to meet our ambitions and goals. Some in the focus group fed back that bidding for grant money is complex, resource intensive and competitive (a point also made in the recent Mission Zero independent report for HM Government). Some suggested banks and industry have a role to play. Others recommended we bid jointly with others.

Strategy themes: Overall support although a need for relevant targets and frameworks to demonstrate how the goals can be delivered. We identified there may be challenges communicating the joint aims of the sustainable communities and green economy theme to our audience. Food was cited as a major omission and should be considered as a stand-alone theme. Others that climate change adaptation should be included. Also, that a seventh cross-cutting theme could be introduced to capture human capital, pooling knowledge, and bringing experts together.

Communications. It was clear from breakdown of respondents in the survey and the focus group recruitment resulted in disproportionate representation despite best efforts to gather views from all. It was fed back to us that there is work to be done to improve awareness of the strategy. Some members of the focus groups recognise the difficulty of appealing to some groups. These particularly include young people, students, people early in their careers and those with young families. We were also able to gather feedback on preferred communication methods.

Tone and language. One of delivery principles as drafted is ‘emphasise prosperity as a focus for sustainable growth’. This didn’t sit well with some. Additionally, there were reoccurring comments of this nature around the ‘deliver a strategy that is value for money’ principle. In these and similar instances, we will be reviewing how we communicate our approach to delivery.

The complete executive summary of the survey is published here

Key messages were summarised in Section 2 of the Cabinet paper

We did

These findings and feedback will be closely considered in the development of a final Sustainable Futures Strategy due to be presented to Cabinet in November 2023. This will be augmented by additional feedback following a resolution to commence further engagement.

As a result of strong interest and engagement in the Strategy across Warwickshire, coupled with multiple offers to support the Council in refining the Strategy, it was recommended to Cabinet that further engagement be undertaken over the summer.

It was recommended that several theme-based expert panels be established with the specific aim of deriving shared solutions, understanding barriers and initiating collaboration. Taking advantage of these offers would also have the benefit of resulting in a strategy with improved stakeholder buy-in to the strategic aims and partnership actions and a strategy that has been subject to external scrutiny. 

At Cabinet on the 15th June 2023, Councillor Heather Timms, portfolio holder for Environment, Climate & Culture applauded the strong engagement from various groups and the ambition to extend that work further. She gave an overview of the different stakeholder groups involved and the proposed establishment of expert panels to help to further develop this work. The aim was to present the draft strategy to the Overview and Scrutiny Committees in September 2023 before submission to Cabinet in the Autumn.

In resolving the matter, Cabinet:

 1)    Acknowledges the progress made since the approval for engagement of the draft Sustainable Futures Strategy in October 2022 and the stakeholder feedback.

2)    Supports the establishment of theme based expert panels drawn from industry and Warwickshire communities to enable production of a final strategy and action plan; and

3) Requests that the draft strategy be considered by Overview and Scrutiny Committees in September 2023, and the Members’ Climate Emergency Group on 20th September 2023 for comment and any recommendations before consideration of the final Sustainable Futures Strategy and supporting action plan by Cabinet.


The Sustainable Futures Strategy Cabinet paper considered on the 15th June 2023 contained the following:

  • Recommendations
  • Section 2: findings from the engagement work
  • Section 7: Recommendations, and timescales

This paper was supported by Appendix 1: summary feedback and reasoning

Results updated 13 Nov 2023

Following the Cabinet consideration in June 2023, the final Sustainabe Futures Strategy and supporting delivery plan was approved by Cabinet in November 2023.


We would like to hear your views on Warwickshire's Sustainable Futures Strategy. 

Warwickshire County Council is committed to acting decisively to tackle climate change and the biodiversity crisis.   

Climate change is one of the most important issues facing the world. The continued burning of fossil fuels is affecting weather patterns around the world as well as causing devastating extreme weather events more locally, leading to flooding, heatwaves, drought and wildfires. These events pose a direct risk to Warwickshire’s communities and economy.  

At the same time, the decline in biodiversity is impacting directly on our wellbeing and economic prosperity.  

Our Sustainable Futures Strategy establishes our approach and actions to reduce carbon emissions, support biodiversity and promote economic growth across our county.  

Why your views matter

These issues will affect everyone that lives or works in Warwickshire, so we’re keen to get your feedback on our Strategy to:

  • ensure we are we focussing on the right things
  • get your views on our ambitions and if you think we are ambitious enough
  • help us to understand how to get more residents and other stakeholders involved
  • help us to understand if there are any barriers to making progress and, if so, what these are.

Your views will influence the final version to go before our Cabinet in Spring 2023.

Before you begin the survey, please read our Sustainable Futures Strategy Summary. This will give you the headlines and key points of our Strategy and should only take five minutes to read. You may also want to look at our Sustainable Futures Strategy Action Plan which details our first actions to deliver on the Council's goal to be net zero by 2030.

If you’d like to examine our strategy in more detail, please read the full Sustainable Futures Strategy instead. This is a much longer read, but will give you a more comprehensive understanding of our aims, context, specific objectives and challenges for each key theme as well as more information about our delivery approach. 

How to share your views

  • Complete our online survey by clicking on the link below. This asks questions about different areas of the strategy. Please feel free to just answer the questions you want to focus on. 

  • You can request a paper copy or the survey in an alternative format or language by telephone (01926 410410) or email (

  • You can also feed back to us directly by email ( by writing to: 
    FAO Rachel Killian
    Warwickshire County Council
    Shire Hall
    Market Place
    CV34 4RL


  • All Areas


  • Anyone from any background


  • Engagement and surveys