Information about our carbon emissions and what we are doing to reduce them.

Nearly all our council services emit carbon emissions, from lighting the streets to disposing of refuse and heating schools and care homes, but we are committed to reducing these and have an aspiration to achieve net carbon neutrality by 2030, or as near to that date as possible.

All councils must report on their carbon emissions to central government. These are reported as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in line with DEFRA guidelines on reporting of greenhouse gas emissions.

The carbon reporting scope includes:

  • buildings owned and used by the council, including schools, libraries, care homes and offices;
  • staff business mileage; and
  • street lighting.

The reporting scope excludes emissions from:

  • homes;
  • staff commuting to and from work; and
  • business properties owned by the council but outsourced.

We have been reducing our carbon emissions – or carbon footprint – for a number of years. The table below shows the decline in emissions since 2015/16. Our carbon footprint currently measures 11,473 tonnes CO2e which represents a 41% reduction since 2015. CO2e or carbon dioxide equivalent is a term for describing different greenhouse gases in a common unit. For any quantity and type of greenhouse gas, CO2e signifies the amount of CO2 which would have the equivalent global warming impact.

Our carbon emissions by scope

  2015/16 2016/17 2017/18 2018/19 2019/20
Scope 1 5,330 5,096 4,850 4,477 4,211
Scope 2 11,174 9,133 7,400 6,268 4,789
Scope 3 3,069 3,006 2,913 2,747 2,473
Total 19,573 17,235 15,163 13,492 11,473

The above table shows emissions in tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent).

  • Scope 1 covers direct emissions released straight into the atmosphere through activities owned or controlled by the council, for example gas boilers in council buildings and use of council owned vehicles.
  • Scope 2 covers indirect energy emissions through the consumption of purchased electricity, for example.
  • Scope 3 covers other indirect emissions as a consequence of our activities, for example business travel using staff’s own cars.
Service area Emissions in tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent)
Corporate property 38% 4,328
Business travel 34% 3,886
Streetlight 28% 3,259

The above table shows emissions in tCO2e (tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent).

In 2019/20 our corporate property produced the highest percentage of the Council's total CO2e emissions at 38%, with business travel at 34% and streetlights at 28%.

What we are doing to further reduce carbon emissions

We are developing a carbon reduction plan to help us reach our target of net-zero neutrality for the council by 2030, or as near to that date as possible.

We are also working on a range of ongoing projects and programmes which will reduce both costs and the associated carbon emissions from energy usage. These include:

  • having dedicated staff who work with schools to help teachers and students understand and reduce energy use;
  • supporting the popular environmental scheme eco schools
  • producing mandatory display energy certificates and accompanying advisory reports for schools and public offices;
  • monitoring energy and water bills to spot errors and ensure accuracy;
  • monitoring heating and hot water systems remotely in many of our buildings to ensure they are running efficiently;
  • reducing the number of buildings we use;
  • undertaking changes to building systems to improve efficiency; and
  • increasing use of video conferencing and remote working.