Wiltshire Council's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions report 2020/21

Background

Since 2011, the council has published an annual report on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from its own estate and operations as requested by government. The report is prepared in accordance with guidance published by the government.

The guidance is aimed at all sizes of business as well as public and third sector organisations and explains how organisations can measure and report their GHG emissions. Existing data sources such as utility bills, fuel consumption and car mileage can be converted into CO2 equivalent emissions by applying relevant conversion factors.

Through monitoring its emissions, the council is able to better understand the impact its operations have on the environment and, most importantly, to take action in order to mitigate this impact. The council is taking action to tackle the causes and effects of climate change and has made a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030.

A new carbon reduction strategy is being prepared to enable us to meet these commitments. The draft Climate Strategy is now available to view on Climate strategy consultation page.

GHG report details

When defining the boundaries of the organisation for the purpose of GHG reporting the aim has been to minimise the administrative burden and provide as much continuity as possible with previous reporting, while maximising the opportunities to reduce emissions.

1. Local Authority: Wiltshire Council

Wiltshire Council is a large unitary authority located in the South West of England. It covers a geographical area that includes 12 population centres of over 10,000 people, including Chippenham, Trowbridge, Devizes and Salisbury. Wiltshire's population is 49% urban, 51% rural, with urban classified as an area population of over 10,000 people.

The council provides a broad range of statutory and discretionary services to the community of Wiltshire. Some of the areas the council has responsibility for include: planning and building control; leisure and recreation; waste and recycling; parking; transport and street maintenance; council tax; housing and benefits; schools and learning; arts; heritage and libraries; health and social care; business advice; community and the environment.

Our priorities are reflected in our Business Plan 2017 - 27. Further information on the council can be found within our website www.wiltshire.gov.uk

2. Reporting Period: 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021

The council annually reports the GHG emissions associated with its estate and operations for a 12-month period corresponding to the financial year

3. Approach: The council uses conversion factors that are published annually by government. The set of conversion factors selected for use in this report is available from the council on request.

In order to measure and report on these emissions, the council records activity data such as the amount of electricity used or the distance travelled by vehicles, and then multiplies it by an emission (conversion) factor that gives an estimate of the GHG emissions. The activity data relates to the financial period 1st April - 31st March for any given year.

4. Organisational Boundary: We have defined our organisational boundary following the financial control approach. Further detail on which operations or activities have been included within our organisational boundary for the purposes of compiling this greenhouse gas report is provided under 'Operational Scope' Table 1 below. Reporting of Scopes 1 and 2 is mandatory while reporting of Scope 3 is discretionary. The breakdown of Scopes 1, 2 and 3 are detailed below in Table 1.

Table1: Emissions included in each of the three GHG reporting scopes.

Scope

Estate and operations included within the scope and exclusions

Scope 1 (Direct emissions):

Emissions from activities owned or controlled by the council that release emissions into the atmosphere. They are direct emissions. Typically, these relate to emissions arising from the combustion of natural gas, oil, wood pellets, LPG and automotive fuels.

 

Inclusions

1.     Council owned or controlled estate

2.     Council operational fleet and pool cars

Exclusions

1.     All schools and academies

2.     Social housing operated by the council

Scope 2 (Indirect emissions):

Emissions released into the atmosphere associated with the council's consumption of purchased electricity. These are indirect emissions that are a consequence of the council's activities but that occur at sources the council does not own or control.

Inclusions

1.     Council owned or controlled estate and buildings including offices and streetlights.

Exclusions

1.     Social housing operated by the council.

Scope 3 (Other indirect):

Emissions that are a consequence of the council's operations that occur at sources the council does not own or control and that are not classed as Scope 2 emissions. Typically, these relate  to the emissions associated with the transmission and distribution of the council's purchased electricity, outsourced or contracted operations and business travel by means not owned or controlled by the council.

 

Inclusions

1.     Business travel (travel by non-teaching staff and councillors by means not owned or controlled by the council).

2.     Transmission and Distribution emissions.

Exclusions

1.     Outsourced operations such as household waste management.

2.     Academies and non-Academy Schools, including travel by teaching staff.

 

5. Base Year: Our base year is 2009/10.

6. Targets: Wiltshire Council recognises the importance of reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases and reports on its performance in this area via this process on a yearly basis through GHG reporting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wiltshire Council's GHG emissions

Table 2: Wiltshire Council's GHG emissions in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). Figures are rounded to the nearest tonne.

Year

Scope 1

Scope 2

Scope 3

Total Gross Emissions

2009/10

17,840

27,662

4,357

49,859

2010/11

23,434

29,560

5030

58,024

2011/12

17,864

24,439

7,272

49,575

2012/13

19,182

23,047

13,979

56,208

2013/14

15,692

20,417

15,772

51,881

2014/15

8,709

15,049

2,680

26,438

2015/16

7,890

14,156

1,676

23,721

2016/17

7,782

12,047

1,487

21,316

2017/18

7,353

9,904

1,261

18,518

2018/19

7,002

7,862

1,005

15,869

2019/20

5,563

6,758

1,960

13,601

2020/21

4,401

 0

1,110

5,511

 

Notes on emissions:

1.     2020/21 Scope 2 emissions before application of the green electricity tariff were 4862 tCO2e.

2.     The 2020/21 Scope 1 emissions include the emissions from council operational fleet only and exclude emissions from outsourced services such as waste collection and highway maintenance.

3.     The 2019/20 figures use the revised methodology for data capture and reporting implemented in 2014/15. The council no longer collects school (either Academy or non-Academy) energy data in line with phase 2 Carbon Reduction Commitment reporting requirements.

4.     Wiltshire Council's GHG footprint fluctuates from year-to-year and this is caused by a number of influencing factors including: acquisition and divestment of buildings, change of use of buildings, seasonal weather conditions which affect the need for heating and cooling buildings, and improvements to energy efficiency made during the year. During accounting year 2020/21 occupancy and usage of buildings, and staff travel, were affected by COVID-19.

5.     Scope 3 emissions are made up of business mileage and transmission and distribution emissions only as we do not currently report emissions from outsourced operations as part of our Scope 3 GHG reporting.

 

Progress and how we will improve in the future

The council is engaged in a range of work to deliver savings in emissions and financial costs. This work involves energy management and emissions reduction at a strategic level, as well as implementing practical measures at a project level in the management of its assets, management of its contractors and delivery of its services.

Examples of measures include: developing a fleet strategy; rationalisation and improvement of the council's property portfolio; investment in energy efficiency measures within the remaining estate such as lighting and heating equipment upgrades; investment in appropriate renewable energy technologies; introducing a system to allow part-night lighting and dimming of streetlights and conversion of streetlights to LED.

For further information or queries on the report please email climate@wiltshire.gov.uk.