Corporate performance reporting
We recognise Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are among the main drivers for climate change and are a key contributor to the council environmental footprint.
We understand our role in reducing emissions, and making a substantial contribution to meet the UK’s national, legally binding fourth and fifth carbon budgets, covering UK emissions in the periods 2023-27 and 2028-32.
Policy, regulatory, and economic pressures drive us to reduce our emissions. We do this by developing projects that will:
- optimize resource efficiency
- achieve financial savings
- support the transition to a low-carbon economy
We have been accounting Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2008 and reporting them since 2011.
GHG emissions associated with our organisational boundary are included and categorized as scopes.
These are direct GHG emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by council, for example, emissions from combustion in owned or controlled boilers, furnaces, vehicles etc.
Examples of scope 1:
- generation of electricity, heat, or steam (gas oil, kerosene, natural gas and biomass)
- transportation of materials and employees (fleet vehicles)
These are indirect GHG emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by assets under our organisational boundaries.
The indirect emissions are produced outside the council boundaries (i.e. at a power plant level) but since we have control over consumption and can improve it with energy conservation measures, scope 2 emissions are allocated to our building portfolio.
Examples of scope 2:
- purchased grid electricity (building usage, water pumps and street lighting)
These are emissions that are a consequence of the activities of the council, but occur from sources not owned or controlled by it.
Examples of scope 3:
- transmission and distribution (generation of electricity consumed in a T&D system)
- outsourced transport activities (transportation of waste, transport service for schools)
- business mileage
These emissions are used to account for the direct CO2 impact of burning biomass and biofuels.
The scope 1 impact of these fuels has been determined to be a net '0' since the fuel source itself absorbs an equivalent.
Examples of outside scopes:
- biomass combustion
Total GHG emissions
In 2018-19 our total GHG emissions were 8,280 tonnes of CO2eq. This is a 41% reduction compared to our base year of 2009/10. This means we have exceeded the 30% carbon reduction target proposed in the Clean Growth Strategy, as well as our own target of 40%. We have managed to achieve this two years ahead of schedule (target year of 2020/21).
Update on GHG emissions
Since the publication of the 2018/19 GHG Report, we are adjusting our carbon emissions reporting approach. This is following advice in a carbon audit to support our transition to a unitary authority on 1 April 2020.
This reporting scope now addresses:
- scope 1 and 2 emissions in full
- staff business travel from scope 3
Emissions arising within our supply (e.g. contractors providing home to school transport) are not included. This will help to align our reporting scope with the practice of other authorities.
Following this approach, our total GHG emissions were 6,109 tonnesCO2eq for the 2018/19 financial year. This is a 53% reduction on our adjusted base year of 2009/10 (13,245 tonnesCO2eq), exceeding the voluntary 30% reduction target proposed by central government in its Clean Growth Strategy and also exceeding our ambitious target of 40%. This was 2 years ahead of target.