Our Environmental Sustainability Plan aims to make Humberside Fire and Rescue Service greener and more environmentally sustainable organisation for our communities.
Message from the Assistant Chief Fire Officer
Fire and Rescue Services in the UK have both social and corporate environmental responsibilities. Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is passionate about ensuring the role we play, not only protects the public but enhances the environment and encourages sustainability.
As the effects of climate change become more apparent, we continue to adapt our approach to daily activities, as well as our operational response, to cope with the additional pressures this puts on the Service. We are committed to reducing the environmental impacts of our activities and continually seek ways to further improve our methods in doing so.
We are setting ourselves ambitious targets to play our part in tackling global sustainability issues. These include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate change, minimising waste, enhancing biodiversity on our sites and contributing to a better quality of life for future generations.
We aim to reduce our environmental impact through everything we do.
Every person in the Service has a responsibility to minimise our footprint on the environment during our work activities. This Environmental Sustainability Plan clearly sets out practical measures we can take to reduce the impact we have on the environment by reducing our use of finite resources, utilising new greener technologies, protecting the environment and driving behavioural change.
These changes do not limit or restrict our ability to meet our statutory functions but embrace positive change that will improve our environmental sustainability and create a legacy of lasting social benefits.
Our Environmental Sustainability Plan aims to make Humberside Fire and Rescue Service a greener and more environmentally sustainable organisation for our communities.
This plan outlines how the Health, Safety and Environment Function will support the work of keeping the communities in the Humber area safe, keeping our firefighters safe, and contributing to the firefighting and rescue capabilities of the United Kingdom.
There is a clear local, national and global case for action on climate change and sustainability. Our Plan describes a broad statement of our commitment and planned actions to contribute to these important and urgent priorities.
Our Plan provides an overview of the various areas of work required to achieve a sustainable environment for many years to come. Efforts will be focused in areas that offer the greatest potential return in terms of people, planet and public purse considerations.
These areas also must be scrutinised in the context of enabling cultural and behavioural change. Humberside Fire and Rescue Service (HFRS) are currently working in line with the National Sustainability Charter as recognised by the emergency services sector and the NFCC. This is an industry agreed charter that demonstrates our commitment and compliance to environmental management.
We are aware of the inherent challenges that face our Fire and Rescue Service and in particular our responsibilities relating to climate change. Together with our strategic partners we are striving to create safer thriving communities, better prepared to respond to the short and mid-term implications of climate change as well as capitalising upon opportunities through a sustainable approach to our use of resources.
Implementation of this plan will be through a set of inter-related workstreams and projects, setting direction for the next three years. Inevitably the delivery plan will develop and be adapted appropriately over time. The Plan will be reviewed annually in line with our Community Risk Management Plan.
Longer term outlook
There is a range of environmental legislation which requires consideration for specific areas, and we are committed to meeting these as a minimum standard. We will monitor ongoing National Guidance and adopt as appropriate.
Proactively we will strive to reduce our resource use, with the aim to be carbon neutral by 2036. In the short to medium term we will not only deliver reductions in our direct carbon dioxide equivalent emissions but also reduce the environmental impact of our supply chain and our controllable costs through our procurement processes. This will not be a linear process as it will be dependent on financial constraints and technological advancements to support our progression and improvement. We will capture our carbon production as accurately as possible every year and publish our performance.
We aim to be carbon neutral by 2036
Alignment to the National Sustainability Charter allows us to build on the work already in place, supports innovation and flexibility for activities supporting sustainable qualities; supports benchmarking and supports the planning and prioritisation of proactive work rather than reactive system maintenance.
The objective of this Plan is to outline the key areas of focus for the Service over the next three years and to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability by continuously working towards a more sustainable environment. We will strive to identify, learn from and achieve best practice in all areas of our work and to make sure we do whatever we can to minimise our impact on the environment and make meaningful progress on our sustainability journey.
Environmental sustainability themes 2021 - 2024
The Environmental Sustainability Plan identifies the following six themes that are key to our delivery of our Strategic Plan.
Click on the titles below to find out more.
1. Sustainable Procurement
Specify wherever practicable the purchase of more sustainable goods and materials, encouraging our suppliers to demonstrate their commitment to environmental priorities.
Sustainable Procurement is 'a process whereby organisations meet their needs for goods, services, works and utilities in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organisation, but also to society and the economy, whilst minimising impact to the environment'.
We will wherever practicable purchase more sustainable goods and materials in-line with Government standards. We will encourage our suppliers to demonstrate their commitment to environmental best practice within tendering processes and contracts.
The procurement of vehicles and equipment is no longer made in isolation. Whenever there is a need to make purchases, regional and national partners are considered, not only within Fire Sector but also the wider blue light partners. This will be achieved through existing frameworks or new joint procurement arrangements to make the best use of resources, and can influence in scale.
While innovation and value for money are key drivers for procurement, environmental sustainability must always be considered as part of the process.
We will work towards creating circular economies, a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible.
Key Areas of Focus:
- Minimising any negative impacts of goods, services and works during their life cycle and through the supply chain.
- Ensuring resource demand is managed by using energy efficient appliances and products containing recycled content where possible.
- Supplier sustainability evaluation within our procurement processes.
- Improve and expand end user involvement.
- Optimising local supplies wherever possible.
- Utilisation of latest energy efficient technologies during new builds and other major works, considering whole life cycle costs and impacts.
3. Biodiversity and Wildlife Conservation
Encourage and enhance our estate where possible and endeavour to protect the local environment in our operations.
HFRS has already demonstrated a level of commitment by previously achieving ISO14001 environmental accreditation as part of our aims to reduce the organisations environmental impact.
We will encourage and enhance biodiversity on our own estate where possible and endeavour to protect the local environment in our operations whilst ensuring we step up to our biodiversity duty.
We recognises that climate change is almost certainly the most significant challenge facing nature conservation. The scale and rate of predicted change over the next century will place greater pressures on habitats and species.
We are committed to making sure that we preserve as well as promote aspects of biodiversity on our sites. We will actively encourage our staff to become aware of the diverse habitats that exist in the area around their place of work so that they can take ownership and help promote positive improvements as part of the wider commitment.
Key Areas of Focus:
- Ensure that future construction/ refurbishment projects take account of their impact upon the environment.
- Actively support conservation on Service sites.
- Provide staff with information on bird and wildlife habitats that are present at their place of work
- Encourage staff to become involved with projects that seek to protect and improve habitats; ensure staff are aware of the technologies available to them and how to use these effectively to reduce environmental impact.
- Set out clear guidance on the use of pesticides etc on our premises.
5. Operational Activities
Consider use of equipment and firefighting media during training and operational activities to minimise environmental impacts.
Our highest priority will always be the safety of our community and our firefighters. We must also consider the potential damage to the environment caused by the emergency incidents we attend and other fire and rescue service activities, which can affect air, land and water.
We regularly help our community with incidents that arise from the impact of the climate, such as flooding and wildfires. Committed to achieve and to develop our capability to deal with these incidents, effectively, efficiently and with due regard to the environment.
We will consider the use of our equipment, during essential training activities as well as during operational incidents to establish what impacts they may have on the environment. Such aspects will consider the use of water and foam as a means of firefighting media. We will closely monitor their effectiveness against the potential harm they may cause to the environment.
We will keep a watching brief on new technology that will assist us to potentially reduce our overall impact on the environment while at the same time ensuring that we maintain an effective emergency response capability to the community we serve. Using our well-established safe and well visits to promote safer homes.
This will not only protect lives but will also reduce the likelihood of property fires and the resultant emissions into air that arise from such unfortunate events.
Key Areas of Focus:
- Introduce recycling considerations when disposing equipment to maximise sustainable investment processes.
- Review the means of capturing water consumption rates during training and operational activities for benchmarking and setting reduction targets without compromising staff safety or service to the public.
- Utilise firefighting equipment/media to ensure the lowest possible environmental impact.
- Work with the Environment Agency in the provision of specialist equipment to reduce environmental impact.
- Continuous training for operational crews to mitigate the adverse effects of incidents.
- Promote safety advice to our domestic and business community to reduce fires.
2. Estates Management
Seek to decrease our consumption of natural resources by reducing consumption of energy and water while minimising waste through reduction, reuse, and recycling.
We will measure, manage and reduce the consumption of utilities across the Service by using the latest technologies to improve the quality of usage data in order to establish accurate consumption and carbon baselines from which to target suitable reduction initiatives.
Energy costs increase over time which necessitates utility users being more accountable for their usage to minimise costs and maximise efficiency. Our building stock will aim to be environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout its life-cycle. Taking advantage of latest technologies for green energy i.e. solar cells, wind generation, grey water, ground source heating, biomass.
We will seek to decrease our consumption of natural resources by minimising waste through reduction, reuse, and recycling as more sustainable alternatives to disposal.
The waste hierarchy indicates that minimisation at source is much more sustainable than recycling of waste materials, because it avoids or reduces the use of resources in the first place. Reducing waste at source, which leads to less pollution will be the Service’s main aim.
We will measure our water consumption and set targets to reduce it. We will seek to gain a detailed understanding of the true cost and scale of water used in our operations and make every effort to conserve this resource.
Key Areas of Focus:
- Monitor utility usage to obtain accurate data on usage and identify areas for further improvement.
- Provide staff with details on how best they can contribute to the Service’s objectives in maximising utility efficiency.
- Identify levels of energy usage at all our sites to set realistic targets for reduction
- Installation of energy saving devices such as flush controls where possible
- Promote recycling initiatives with Service staff with the aid of information, awareness and the siting of waste recycling bins at all our sites
- Reduce the amount of waste produced and increase re-use.
- Explore and invest in more sustainable energy sources, products and equipment.
4. Fleet Management
Develop and implement a sustainable strategy utilising technology to reduce the need to travel and promote the use of more environmentally-friendly transport options.
We will develop and implement a sustainable travel policy and look to encourage the use of communications technologies to reduce the amount and length of journeys required by the organisation.
We will promote the use of more sustainable transport options for our staff where travel is necessary.
We are committed to reducing the carbon footprint that is generated by the use of our fleet and we will seek to achieve this by constantly reviewing the use of modern engine technology in conjunction with sustainable fuels and associated additives across all of our fleet. We will also introduce hybrid, electric and vehicles with lower carbon footprints as opportunities arise and technology improves.
In order to achieve a holistic approach to our objectives we will set out defined limits of CO2 emissions for our fleet and lease vehicles. This data will become a key feature of the future vehicle procurement strategies that will assist the organisational objective of reducing our overall carbon footprint.
Key Areas of Focus:
- Invest in new technologies to improve our service delivery and reduce environmental impact.
- Explore alternative fuel sources to meet the government’s agenda of 2035, where practical purchasing ultra-low emission vehicles or electric vehicles as fleet replacements.
- Establish the number of business miles currently undertaken by Service fleet and lease car users in order to set a realistic reduction strategy including the most efficient vehicles.
- Actively promote a car-sharing culture considering the introduction of cost effective initiatives.
- Encourage cycle to work schemes that will also contribute to wellbeing standards within the workplace.
- Explore options for staff to invest in green vehicles for personal use through salary sacrifice schemes.
- Encourage the use of home-working where possible in an accountable manner without detriment to service delivery.
6. Behavioural Change
To reduce environmental impacts through positive change in individual behavioural patterns.
At the heart of this plan is the need to reduce environmental impacts through a positive change in behavioural patterns. This will have strong links with the other five themes to enable a reduced impact on the environment.
By delivering our actions we will work towards achieving our vision of being a high performing, environmentally conscious and responsible organisation through prevention, partnership, our people and continuous improvement.
By engaging our employees in developing an environmentally conscious culture within the Service, we will embed eco-friendly thinking in our decision-making processes and day to day activities.
It will be essential for us to communicate clearly and effectively with all our staff, Fire Authority Members, and wider stakeholders and public alike.
We recognise that we not only have an opportunity to environmentally improve local communities, but also to influence the wider behaviour of the public. As such we will work with others to ensure that our environmental message is clearly communicated.
Key Areas of Focus:
- Consideration of the impact on HFRS’ carbon footprint in everything we plan and do.
- We will make use of both internal and external sources to raise awareness of our approach and expectations so that we can encourage discussions on their merits.
- Promotion of initiatives that will contribute to reducing environmental impacts.
- Increase staff awareness and knowledge about our work especially in aspects of waste management, recycling and energy control by conducting carbon literacy training to middle managers.
- Instigate energy efficiency arrangements.
- Promote the prevention agenda to prevent fires and other incidents occurring.
- Creation of a staff focus group and forum to develop and implement environmental initiatives across the service.
- Engage with the National Emergency Services Environmental and Sustainability Group and contribute and learn from best practice.