Taking Direct Action to Reduce our Emissions
East Cambridgeshire District Council is committed to reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible, and ultimately become a 'net zero' emitting organisation.
We will archive this by, first, understanding what greenhouse gases we are currently emitting. Then, we will target those emissions, trying to reduce or eliminate those emissions as quickly as possible.
How much Greenhouse Gas Emissions does the Council produce?
Since 2018/19, we have carefully monitored all available data and tried to work out how much greenhouse gas emissions the Council is directly responsible for. This is sometimes known as working out our 'carbon footprint'. We've done this using internationally recognised reporting tools, so that we are as accurate and transparent as possible.
As 2018/19 was the first year we calculated our total emissions, this is known as our baseline year, against which we can report progress. In 2019/20, we calculated that our total greenhouse gas emissions were 1,317 tCO2e (which stands for 'tonnes of carbon dioxide or equivalent carbon dioxide').
Each year since, we have made steady progress to reduce our emissions, so that by 2021/22 our emissions were calculated as being 1,204 tCO2e.
We've also learnt that the vast majority of our emissions, approximately 80%, arise from the fuel we use in our council vehicles, especially our refuse collection vehicles that collect your weekly black bag waste and green/blue recycling. Calculating this sort of data means we know where to target first. And remember, reducing our fuel use is not only good for the climate, but it also reduces costs.
If you want a detailed breakdown of our greenhouse gas emissions, please see our Current Environment Plan.
In 2019, we set ourselves the target of trying to see if it was possible to eliminate our emissions (often known as being 'net-zero') by 2050.
In 2021, we strengthened our targets, by not only bringing forward our 'net zero' target date to 2040, but also setting a series of interim targets for each five years.
We are currently investigating whether we can bring forward our targets even earlier.
The UK government has set in law a national target of becoming net zero by 2050.
Reducing the Council's emissions and Progress so far
Whilst we've made some progress to reduce our emissions, we know we have to make much deeper cuts, and soon, if we are to hit our targets.
To reduce, and eventually eliminate our emissions, we will have to:
- Reduce the energy we use in our buildings, and move away from gas and oil as a fuel - we've made progress on this by improving the energy efficiency of The Grange
- Produce our own renewable energy - we've made progress on this by installing PV solar panels at our office E-Space North, Littleport
- Reduce emissions arising from the vehicles we use - we've made progress on this by making our collection rounds more efficient, and plans to move away from diesel fuel to low carbon fuel
- Make sure we purchase goods and services from suppliers who offer low-emission products, and only purchase what we need - we've made progress on this by reducing the amount of paper we use