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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sustainability-plan/sustainability-plan
Protecting the environment from the effects of past mining activity is at the very heart of what we do. As an organisation we feel passionate about making sure the role we play not only protects the public, but also enhances the environment and encourages biodiversity.
Our sustainability plan sets out how we’re going to achieve this and also explains how we help to deliver key government initiatives including the 25 year environmental plan, clean growth strategy and the industrial strategy. This plan underpins our Corporate 5 year plan and sits alongside our recently launched people plan to demonstrate how we deliver it. Our sustainability plan shows both how our work directly delivers social and environmental benefits (for example protecting drinking water from mining pollution) and how we challenge ourselves to undertake our work as sustainably as we can – and look for low carbon opportunities (such as mine heat) from our mining legacy. It should be read in conjunction with our people plan, which shows how we contribute to sustainability by attracting, supporting and developing our people to deliver for the customers and communities we serve.
As part of this challenge 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 and enhancing biodiversity on our sites. We also want to enhance local communities and businesses, and contribute to a better quality of life for future generations.
We’re always interested in what you think of our aspirations, our work and our focus. You can get in touch with us by email, any of our social media channels or by writing to us.
Lisa Pinney MBE Chief Executive
2. Why we’re doing it
Environmental, economic and social sustainability is our core purpose. The work of the Coal Authority is to resolve the impacts of mining such as water pollution and land instability, and we are committed to doing this sustainably by considering the economic, environmental and social impacts of our wider role.
To us, operating sustainably means that we strive to resolve the impacts of mining, not only to safeguard the public and provide peace of mind, but to also protect and restore the environment and stimulate economic growth in historic mining areas, leaving the local environment in a better condition than we found it.
This Sustainability Plan sits within a wider national and global context. Whilst protecting and restoring the environment and communities in former mining areas, we also want to play our part in tackling climate change and supporting the UK as a key signatory to the International Paris Agreement, which is why our sustainability plan includes ambitions goals and targets on limiting our Greenhouse Gas emissions. We also want to make sure our operations contribute to the UK achieving its carbon emissions targets and wider sustainability objectives set out in the government’s 25 year environmental plan, clean growth and industrial strategies.
Figure 1 - outlines how the sustainability aspects of our core business plan are captured within the people plan and this, our sustainability plan.
Figure 2 – demonstrates the relationships between wider global and national drivers, our core business operations, and our sustainability plan.
3. Our objectives
We already have targets for continually improving performance in our core delivery functions, and ensuring we are compliant with all relevant legislation; for example to protect the health and safety of our staff and contractors.
To achieve our sustainability goals we have set ourselves a set of core sustainability objectives to focus on over the next 5 years. These are aligned with the UK’s strategic sustainability goals.
|UK strategic sustainability goals||Our objectives|
|People: ensuring good jobs and greater earning potential for all in our supply chains||To promote best practice construction skills and to enable our supply chain to invest in people’s development|
|Places: creating prosperous communities across the UK||To actively encourage the use of local and SME suppliers and to inform and involve local communities in our projects|
|Resources: using resources from nature more sustainably and efficiently||To identify and implement opportunities to use natural and finite resources better so that we use materials more innovatively and efficiently|
|Nature: thriving plants and wildlife||To minimise ecological damage and enhance biodiversity|
|Climate change: mitigating and adapting to climate change||To consider the impact of a changing climate on our operations. To reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in line with the UK carbon emissions reduction targets and to explore how we can help others minimise their carbon emissions (for example, by utilising mine heat for energy) and adapt to the effects of climate change (for example, by reducing flood risk by capturing flood waters)|
|Minimising waste||apply the waste hierarchy to maximise the value of our resources and eliminate single-use plastics from our offices and minimise their use in our operations and construction activities|
4. How we will achieve our objectives
Our SHE committee provides strategic direction and input into our sustainability plan, but importantly, our board endorses our sustainability policies and strategies to ensure that sustainability is embedded into all areas of our operations.
To support our activities, monitor and measure progress in achieving our sustainability objectives, we are:
- embedding sustainability into the organisation and corporate objectives and targets
- implementation of our sustainable procurement policy and environment policy
- developing specific departmental action plans that:
- define roles, responsibilities and timescales for activities
- set measurable departmental targets and specific actions for those teams achieving those targets
- implementing a sustainable procurement system, which seeks to align our suppliers and contractors with our sustainability plan
- reviewing the sustainability plan and the individual departmental action plans every year to make sure they align with external and internal priorities
5. How we will measure and report our progress
We continually review our sustainability performance and report monthly to our board and more widely through our annual report and accounts. We have recently redefined our key performance indicators that will enable us to measure and report progress on identified priority areas.
For successful delivery of our sustainability plan, we want to involve all of our staff across the organisation. We have therefore developed a sustainability webpage with resources for staff. We also communicate regularly with staff on sustainability in blogs, articles, and campaigns, and encourage staff to share their ideas with us so we can take action and make improvements.
We also work closely with our supply chain and communicate our requirements through tender documents and regular supplier reviews, encouraging our suppliers to bring new and innovative sustainability ideas to the work they deliver for us.