Climate change


South Tyneside Council declared a climate change emergency on 18 July 2019.

We are implementing strategies that will bring about real change.

We aim to:

  • make the Council carbon neutral by 2030
  • move to cleaner, greener, renewable sources of energy 
  • enhance our natural environment

For information on what climate change is and why it's important, visit:

OECD: Climate change - consequences of inaction
Met Office: What is climate change?
GOV.UK: Climate change explained
Climate Change Committee: What is climate change?

Our commitment to become carbon neutral

South Tyneside residents, businesses and organisations have asked us to act on climate change, with 99% of people who responded to our public consultation saying they are concerned about the impacts of climate change.

We have committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 to protect South Tyneside.

This is to:

  • support our local economy and rates of employment, to make us resilient and to embrace innovation and opportunity
  • improve and protect residents' health and reduce pressure on the NHS
  • protect South Tyneside's long-term growth and provide the best future we can for our children and grandchildren
  • protect our countryside and wildlife
  • reduce climate inequality and support the most disadvantaged in our community

We believe that:


What we are doing about climate change

To help limit the impact of climate change, we:

  1. declared a climate change emergency.
  2. are taking all necessary steps to make the Council carbon neutral by 2030 (25% reduction by March 2023 and a 50% reduction by March 2025).
  3. are a champion for a carbon neutral future for South Tyneside. This includes using our advocacy role to influence actions that promote carbon reductions, across all our communities and the region.
  4. asked the Leader and Chief Executive of the Council to write to the government to pass the necessary legislation, and provide the rights and resources needed to deliver our climate change goals.
  5. created a climate change strategy and action plan.
  6. prepare a report for full Council every year, setting out performance against agreed targets and recommending any changes to the published action plan.
  7. make sure that all Council strategic decisions, policies and strategies are in line with the move to becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
  8. produced a Green Economic Recovery Plan.

What we have done to reduce our emissions

Our pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030 refers to the carbon emissions from:

  • our gas and electricity usage
  • our fleet's fuel usage

What we have done to reduce emissions:

  • Delivering a significant building rationalisation programme
  • Installed solar panels to a number of Council buildings
  • Delivered a significant improvement programme of LED upgrades to street lighting, with continued capital investment taking place
  • Building modernisation and retrofit improvement programmes
  • Installed Combined Heat and Power (CHP) units at some of our highest consuming sites  

What we have done to protect our environment and tackle climate change

We are committed to leading by example and driving investment in a green future.

Our strategy goes beyond our direct carbon emissions. 

What we have done to protect our environment and tackle climate change:

Future plans

Our future plans include: 

  • The Viking Energy Network Jarrow: A renewable energy scheme that will harness low-grade heat from the River Tyne to heat a number of Council buildings
  • The Hebburn Renewable Energy Scheme: The scheme will use minewater from former coal seams to provide heat to a large leisure facility and a high rise residential block, with future network expansion opportunities
  • The Holborn Renewable Energy Network: An energy scheme that will aim to generate renewable energy, by using heat from abandoned flooded mines and the River Tyne
  • The Middlefields Energy Scheme: The scheme will provide on-site renewable electricity energy generation to key Council buildings
  • The continuation of our phased capital investment programme, focused on upgrading old and inefficient street lights to LEDs
  • Saltmarsh restoration: A project to recreate rare habitats such as saltmarshes of the River Tyne, working with the Tyne Estuary Partnership
  • The Healing Nature Project: A project to restore priority habitats in five wildlife sites in the Borough, working with the Durham Wildlife Trust
  • An awareness and engagement programme to increase understanding of climate change across the Borough, and highlight what can be done to reduce its worst effects

For more information about what are doing and what we plan to do about climate change, read our climate change strategy and action plan

Energy efficiency of residential accommodation

The reports below outline what we have done to improve the energy efficiency of residential accommodation in the South Tyneside area.

South Tyneside Council's Home Energy Conservation Act Progress Report 2017

South Tyneside Council's Home Energy Conservation Act Progress Report 2015

South Tyneside Council's Home Energy Conservation Act Further Report 2013

Protection against flood and coastal change

Find out more about what the Council is doing to make sure South Tyneside is protected against flood and coastal changes.

For more information see CIWEM: Adapting for Tomorrow's Environment.

How climate change will affect South Tyneside

Climate change will affect South Tyneside due to:

Local weather changes

Local weather will keep changing, meaning the Borough will be likely to see:

  • more severe and frequent flooding
  • summer droughts and heatwaves
  • more intense and frequent storms, especially in the winter

This will effect our:

  • transport, with increasing road and rail disruption
  • buildings, including schools, hospitals and businesses
  • health and wellbeing
  • animals and plants
  • food quality and availability 

For more information, see Met Office: Effects of climate change.

Global changes

Global changes will have a local impact.

It is likely that South Tyneside will be affected by:

  • Food shortages
    As a changing climate and overexploited land affect global food production, South Tyneside may see more empty supermarket shelves and fresh produce is likely to decrease in quality and nutritional value.
  • Mass immigration
    An estimated 1 billion climate refugees will be forced northwards by 2050.
  • Further pandemics
    Degraded natural environments increase the likelihood of new virus outbreaks around the world.  
  • Financial problems and unemployment
    The cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action, with poorer regions being the worst hit.
  • Loss of land to sea-level rise
    See Climate Central: Land projected to be below 10-year flood level in 2050

The impact on South Tyneside will depend on how quickly and effectively we act.

How you can help

There is a lot you can do about climate change.

For more information on nine steps you can take to help with climate change, visit Imperial College London: 9 things you can do about climate change.

To help you understand your personal carbon footprint and how to reduce it, there are some free apps and websites you can use:

There are some social media accounts that provide information and advice:

Opportunities in South Tyneside

There are lots of opportunities in South Tyneside for you to support the local environment and lower your carbon footprint. 

Switch off your engine

You should turn your car engine off when you're waiting for more than a few seconds, for example:

  • when waiting outside a school / business / hospital, or other place where you're picking up or dropping someone off
  • when waiting at a level crossing

Keeping your car engine running unnecessarily when you are stationary:

  • pollutes the environment
  • costs you money
  • is illegal if you are on a public road

Eat for the planet

How you can eat for the planet:

  • Waste less
  • Eat more vegetables
  • Eat seasonally
  • Reduce packaging
  • Think 'quality not quantity' with meat

Things in South Tyneside:

For more information on eating for the planet, see:

Travel sustainably

What you can do to travel sustainably:

  • Walk more
  • Cycle more
  • Take public transport
  • Car share
  • Go electric
  • Drive less
  • Fly less

Things in South Tyneside:

For more information on sustainable travel see BBC Future: How are daily travel harms the planet.

Protect our wildlife

What you can do to protect wildlife:

  • Add greenery to your yard, garden, windowsills and balconies
  • Go chemical free
  • Volunteer in local parks

Things in South Tyneside:

For more information on enhancing your greenspaces, see:

RSPB: Green living
RSPB: Nature on your doorstep
RHS: Garden inspiration
National Trust: How to garden in small spaces

Waste less

What you can do to waste less:

  • Reduce, reuse and recycle
  • Buy less
  • Choose second hand
  • Mend and repair
  • Share
  • Avoid single-use items
  • Regift

Things in South Tyneside:

Save energy

What you can do to save energy:

  • Waste less
  • Be energy smart
  • Insulate your home
  • Choose a green energy tarrif
  • Install renewable energy technology

For more information on how to be energy smart, see:

How you can prepare

Check with your insurance company what damage you are covered for.

If your area is classed at being at risk of flooding, please mention this when organising your insurance.

If you are not sure if your area is classed at being at risk of flooding, please contact us on 0191 427 7000.

For more information on insuring your property against weather damage like flooding, contact the Association of British Insurers.

Read more about flooding.

Advice for businesses

Climate change can affect your business. This could be caused by:

  • flooding
  • storms
  • extreme temperatures
  • extreme rainfall
  • reduced water availability
  • power disruption

You can be prepared by:

For more information on how to prevent an emergency see emergency situations.

For more about adapting your business to a changing climate visit Met Office: Adaptation.

Latest news and updates


South Tyneside Trialling Electric Bin Lorry - 26 January


Flood Protection Measures Set to Begin - 23 November

Update on Hebburn Renewable Energy Scheme - 10 October

On Track for Improved Sustainable Travel - 4 October 

Network Extension to Boost Carbon Savings - 19 August

Prestigious Green Flags for South Tyneside Parks - 26 July

Climate Change Strategy in Council Spotlight - 14 July 

'Greener' Meals on the Menu - 21 June

Call for Action on World Ocean Day - 8 June 

Cutting the Cost in Bulky Waste Trial - 22 March 

Council has Designs on Flagship Renewable Energy Centre - 21 March 

New Vehicles Hitting the Streets of South Tyneside - 8 March 

Green Revolution to take Centre Stage at Jobs Event - 4 March 

Taking Charge in World First Energy Scheme - 2 March 

Bigger and Better Bins in Fight Against Litter - 1 March 

Council Seeks Views on Air Quality - 28 February

A Ceremonial Tree for the Queen's Jubilee - 24 February

Carbon-Cutting Scheme to Enter Next Phase - 23 February

Thousands of New Trees for a Greener South Tyneside - 18 February

Driving Forward a Greener Future - 15 February

Action to be Taken to Protect Coastline - 14 February

South Tyneside Makes Ocean Recovery Declaration - 21 January 


Carbon-Cutting Schemes Close to Completion - 30 December 

Go Green and Recycle - 21 December 

South Tyneside Backs Flood Action Week - 25 November

Plan to Encourage Active Travel on Agenda - 24 November 

Digging Deep for the Environment - 12 November 

Keeping Faith in a Greener Future - 10 November 

Council Drives Forward Response to Climate Change - 29 October 

South Tyneside Residents have the Power to do More - 25 October 

Schoolchildren to Draw up Vision of the Future - 21 October 

Leader's Pledge for Carbon Neutrality - 21 October 

Summit to Strengthen Council's Commitment to Sustainable South Tyneside - 15 October 

Green Scheme to Make Waves at Jarrow Pool - 26 August 

Primrose Goes Green - 3 August 

Creating a Coastline More Resilient to Climate Change - 3 August 

Council Shortlisted for Climate Response Award - 2 August 

Council on Target with Carbon Cutting - 15 July 

Taking Action on Climate Change - 23 June

First Phase of Major Carbon-Cutting Scheme Underway - 20 May

Seaside Award for Sandhaven - 14 May

Tree-mendous Project that can Bear Fruit - 14 May

Green Light for Innovative Energy Scheme - 10 May

Schools to get new weapon in fight against climate change - 7 May 

Green Light for UK-First Renewable Energy Scheme - 29 March

Gearing up for a Greener Borough - 24 March

Switching to a Greener Future - 24 March

Habitat Recovery at Hebburn Riverside - 22 March

Reducing Carbon Footprint by Recycling Rainwater - 26 February

£8m to Cut Carbon - 19 February

Milestone for Minewater Energy Scheme - 28 January 

Carbon Cutting Scheme Complete - 28 January 

Flood Protection Project Put to the Test - 15 January 

Strategy and action plan

Climate change strategy and action plan

'Sustainable South Tyneside 2020-2025' is the Council's climate change strategy and five-year action plan, which covers 11 key themes to bring about carbon neutrality for the Council.

For more information see, Climate Change strategy and action plan