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Wiltshire Council's Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions report 2022/23

Background

Since 2011, the council has published an annual report on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from its own estate and operations. The report is prepared using the greenhouse gas accounting tool (opens new window) recommended by the Local Government Association.

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 Climate Strategy was adopted in February 2022 to enable us to meet these commitments. The Climate Strategy is now available to view in the Climate strategy and delivery plans area of this site.

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 53% urban, 47% rural, using the government's definition of rurality (opens new window) and government designated Output Areas from the 2011 Census.

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. Further information on the council can be found within our website www.wiltshire.gov.uk.

2. Reporting Period: 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023

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 the greenhouse gas accounting tool recommended by the Local Government Association which uses conversion factors that are published annually by government. The set of conversion factors (opens new window) 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 1 April - 31 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
ScopeEstate and operations included within the scope and exclusions

Scope 1 (Direct emissions):

Emissions from activities owned and 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. Buildings heating (gas, biomass)
  2. Fleet owned and operated directly by the council

Exclusions

  1. Social housing operated by the council
  2. Fleet operated by contractors

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. Buildings electricity
  2. Streetlights
  3. Electric Vehicles

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.
  3. Waste generated by the council through its operations.4

  4.  Outsourced waste collection vehicle emissions.5.

  5.  Leased vehicles (e.g. gritters)6.

  6. Schools and academies that have opted into Wiltshire Councils energy contract.

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 2014/15

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 1: Wiltshire Council's GHG emissions in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). Figures are rounded to the nearest tonne.
YearScope 1Scope 2Scope 1 and 2 total emissions
2014/158,70915,04923,758
2015/167,89014,15622,046
2016/177,78212,04719,829
2017/187,3539,90417,257
2018/197,0027,86214,864
2019/205,5636,75812,321
2020/214,40104,401
2021/225,27505,275
2022/23356803,568
Table 2: Wiltshire Council's Scope 3 GHG emissions in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). Figures are rounded to the nearest tonne.
YearScope 3
2013/1415,772
2014/152,680
2015/161,676
2016/171,487
2017/181,261
2018/191,005
2019/201,960
2020/211,110
2021/221,193
2022/239,854
Table 3: Breakdown of scope 3 GHG emissions for 2022/23, in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). Figures are rounded to the nearest tonne. 
2022/23 Emissions sourcestCO2e
Business mileage430
Transmission & distribution322
Leased vehicles (e.g. gritters) *2307
Council generated waste*52
Outsourced waste collection vehicles*2350
Schools opted in to our energy contract*4377

 *data captured for the first time in reporting year 2022/23 

Notes on emissions

  1. The 2022/23 Scope 1 emissions include the emissions from council operational fleet only and exclude emissions from outsourced services such as waste collection and highway maintenance which would be included in the council's Scope 3 emissions.
  2. 2022/23 Scope 2 emissions before application of the green electricity tariff were 3520 tCO2e.
  3. The 2022/23 figures use the revised methodology for data capture and reporting implemented in 2014/15. The council no longer collects complete school (either Academy or non-Academy) energy data. However, this year we have included data within our scope 3 emissions from those 132 schools who have opted to purchase their energy through Wiltshire Council's energy contract.
  4. A wider range of Scope 3 emissions have been captured this year (see Table 3). We do not currently report emissions from our outsourced operations as part of our Scope 3 GHG reporting. We are working with our key suppliers to understand the GHG emissions associated with those contracts.
  5. 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. Subsequently emissions increased as business returned to normal and have decreased again in 2022/23 putting us back in line with our Pathway to Carbon Neutral.

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. Specific actions are set out in the Climate strategy and delivery plans - Carbon Neutral Council Plan 2022-24.

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 (opens new window).

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