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Guildford Borough Council

Declarations & pledges

Climate emergency declaration

This council declared a climate emergency on July 23, 2019.

Whole area pledge for 2030

“As a result of this, the Council formally declared a climate emergency and set a goal for the borough to reach net zero emissions by 2030.”

Climate documents

Last update: March 6, 2023

Climate Plan Scorecard

This council’s climate plans as of 20th September 2021 were assessed and scored by trained Climate Emergency UK volunteers, as part of the Council Climate Plan Scorecards project.

Show the full Scorecard Read more about the scoring process

SectionGuildford Borough CouncilAverage district council
Total score39%43%
Section 1 Governance, development and funding
Section 2 Mitigation and adaptation
Section 3 Commitment and integration
Section 4 Community, engagement and communications
Section 5 Measuring and setting emissions targets
Section 6 Co-benefits
Section 7 Diversity and inclusion
Section 8 Education, skills and training
Section 9 Ecological emergency

Emissions data

631.3 ktCO2

Total 2020 emissions

4.2 tCO2

per person

2.3 ktCO2

per km2








Public Sector





Data from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy “subset dataset”, representing carbon dioxide emissions within the scope of influence of local authorities.

These councils are the most similar to Guildford Borough Council in terms of emissions profile, deprivation, rural/urban population density, and geographical nearness. Read more about how we calculate this.

Council nameSimilarityHas planCarbon Neutral byDeclared emergency
Chelmsford City Council85%Yes2030July 16, 2019
Oxfordshire County Council84%No2030April 2, 2019
West Berkshire Council84%No2030July 2, 2019
Warwick District Council83%No2030June 26, 2019
Test Valley Borough Council82%Yes2050Sept. 4, 2019
Surrey County Council82%Yes2030July 9, 2019
Mole Valley District Council82%No2030June 18, 2019
Mid Sussex District Council82%YesNo targetNo
Waverley Borough Council81%Yes2030Sept. 18, 2019
East Hertfordshire District Council80%Yes2030No

These councils are the most similar to Guildford Borough Council in terms of their emissions profile, based on the latest data from the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. Read more about how we calculate this.

Council nameSimilarityHas planCarbon Neutral byDeclared emergency
Winchester City Council89%Yes2024June 5, 2019
Middlesbrough Borough Council86%No2029Sept. 4, 2019
Cambridgeshire County Council86%Yes2050May 14, 2019
Oxfordshire County Council81%No2030April 2, 2019
Warwick District Council81%No2030June 26, 2019
Chelmsford City Council81%Yes2030July 16, 2019
West Berkshire Council81%No2030July 2, 2019
Vale of White Horse District Council80%Yes2045Feb. 13, 2019
Peterborough City Council79%Yes2030July 24, 2019
Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council79%Yes2030May 23, 2019
Council nameSimilarityHas planCarbon Neutral byDeclared emergency
Woking Borough Council99%Yes2030July 25, 2019
Surrey County Council99%Yes2030July 9, 2019
Waverley Borough Council98%Yes2030Sept. 18, 2019
Surrey Heath Borough Council98%Yes2030Oct. 9, 2019
Runnymede Borough Council98%NoNo targetOct. 17, 2019
Elmbridge Borough Council97%No2030July 17, 2019
Spelthorne Borough Council97%No2050Oct. 14, 2020
Rushmoor Borough Council97%Yes2030June 20, 2019
Mole Valley District Council97%No2030June 18, 2019
Bracknell Forest Council97%Yes2050No

These councils are the most similar to Guildford Borough Council in terms of the proportion of their population living in high deprivation, medium deprivation, and low deprivation neighbourhoods. Read more about how we calculate this.

Council nameSimilarityHas planCarbon Neutral byDeclared emergency
Mole Valley District Council98%No2030June 18, 2019
East Hampshire District Council98%No2050July 18, 2019
Surrey County Council98%Yes2030July 9, 2019
Stroud District Council98%No2030Dec. 13, 2018
Winchester City Council97%Yes2024June 5, 2019
Rochford District Council97%Yes2030No
Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead97%No2050June 26, 2019
Harrogate Borough Council97%No2038April 10, 2019
Buckinghamshire Council96%No2050No
Cotswold District Council96%NoNo targetJuly 3, 2019

These councils are the most similar to Guildford Borough Council in terms of the proportion of their population living in urban, rural, and highly rural neighbourhoods. Read more about how we calculate this.

Council nameSimilarityHas planCarbon Neutral byDeclared emergency
Midlothian Council97%No2030Dec. 17, 2019
Mole Valley District Council96%No2030June 18, 2019
Fenland District Council95%NoNo targetNo
Swale Borough Council95%Yes2025June 26, 2019
Bath and North East Somerset Council95%Yes2030March 14, 2019
Cheshire East Council (Unitary)95%Yes2025May 22, 2019
Bromsgrove District Council94%YesNo targetJuly 24, 2019
Lewes District Council94%Yes2030July 15, 2019
Worcestershire County Council94%Yes2030July 15, 2021
Vale of Glamorgan Council94%Yes2030July 29, 2019


This council’s climate plan has been tagged with the following features:

Powers & Responsibilities

Guildford Borough Council is a Non-Metropolitan District, with powers over:

Council buildings and staff

Climate actions might include:

  • making council offices more energy efficient
  • incentivising ‘Active Travel’ or public transport use among employees
  • providing carbon literacy training for employees
    Environmental health

    Climate actions might include:

    • reducing industrial emissions through air quality enforcement
    • bringing up insulation and energy efficiency standards through enforcement of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and Decent Homes Standard 2000, for cold and damp conditions in private rental and social housing

    See more in the Climate Emergency UK checklist.

    Planning and building control

    Climate actions might include:

    • imposing reasonable requirements that new developments comply with energy efficiency standards and get a proportion of their energy from local, renewable sources (Planning and Energy Act, 2008)
    • incorporating additional energy performance standards into their Local Plan, for new works that require planning permission
    • using Area Action Plans to guide development proposals towards lower carbon emissions or more cycling and walking routes, for example
    • enforcing legislation that requires private rental properties to be of Energy Efficiency Rating E or above (Energy Efficiency Regulations, 2015)
    • funding energy efficiency improvements on existing homes, through initiatives such as Green Homes Grants

    See more in the Climate Emergency UK checklist.


    Climate actions might include:

    • setting energy standards above building regulations (Planning and Energy Act, 2008)
    • enabling housing associations to improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock through loans
    • where councils operate their own social housing, prioritising energy efficiency – for example, by requiring Passivhaus standard for newly built schemes

    See more in the Climate Emergency UK checklist.

    Spending, procuring, and investing

    Climate actions might include:

    • embedding carbon impact assessment as part of the council’s budgeting and financial accountability process
    • utilising Public Works Loan Board loans or the Business Rates Retention Scheme to invest in emissions-reducing capital projects that otherwise wouldn’t get funded
    • specifying low carbon equipment and practices when procuring for relevant services from suppliers
    • prioritising positive environmental impacts during procurement, through the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012
    Waste collection

    Climate actions might include:

    • establishing ‘Joint Waste Solutions’ with neighbouring councils, to get more value out of waste, recycling, and street cleaning contracts
    • running marketing campaigns to encourage residential recycling, reuse, and waste minimisation

    See more in the Climate Emergency UK checklist.

    Read more about English local authority powers in the UK100 Power Shift report.

    More about this council
    Guildford Borough Council’s official homepage.
    Tyndall Centre Carbon Budget report
    Check Guildford Borough Council’s ‘carbon budget’ – their share towards meeting the UK’s Paris agreement targets.
    Friends of the Earth ‘Near You’ tool
    Discover climate groups in this area, data about Guildford Borough Council’s climate performance, and actions you can take.

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    Cite this page

    mySociety, Climate Emergency UK (2023). CAPE: Guildford Borough Council. Available at: [Accessed 26 Mar 2023].


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