Toggle menu

Wiltshire Climate Strategy Discussion Document January 2021

Understanding Wiltshire's emissions

Where we are now?

To reduce emissions and work towards making Wiltshire carbon neutral, we first need to understand where those emissions come from and their extent.

The main sources of emissions for Wiltshire are from transport, taking up the largest share at 45%. Industry contribute 29% and homes at 26% make up the remainder. Wiltshire's total carbon emissions in 2018 totalled 2,694 ktCO2. Wiltshire Council's emissions in 2019 amounted to 13 ktCO2 - equivalent to approximately 0.5% of the county's 2018 emissions.

In 2018 over half of Wiltshire's energy consumption (opens new window) is for "other", encompassing coal, biomass, manufactured and liquid fuels - of which transport accounts for the largest proportion. 27% is natural gas, mainly used for heat.  While electricity has been a key focus for decarbonisation, it currently accounts for only 19% of energy use.  This proportion is expected to grow as transport and heat are electrified.

In 2019, Wiltshire's renewable electricity generation accounted for 680 GWh, supplying just under one third of the county's electricity demand (2172 GWh). This is equivalent to approximately 6% of our total energy demand, (based on 2018 consumption as 2019 data is only available for electricity (opens new window)).

Our baseline, carbon budget and trajectory

Wiltshire's emissions will be measured against a 2005 baseline, as this was the first reporting year by the Government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The orange line in Figure 5.6 shows that significant reductions have been achieved since 2005, in line with the national trend. Key factors driving these reductions have been improvements in energy efficiency and steady decarbonisation of the electricity grid, as renewables account for an ever-increasing proportion of all generation.

The Tyndall Centre (opens new window) trajectory for Wiltshire relates to reductions based on a science-based target and carbon budget - with the aim to limit global temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. There is only a finite amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted if we are to avoid irreversible and very damaging climate change, and we must use that allowance in the best way possible. The key issue is to minimise the total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases released into in the atmosphere, so a steeper reduction in emissions results in fewer total emissions than a slower reduction.

On the 4th December 2020 a new plan was announced by the government setting the UK on the path to net zero by 2050. The plan aims for at least a 68% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

There is a need for significant and radical cuts in carbon emissions to be sure we can reach the target. This will take considerable efforts by Wiltshire Council, residents and all businesses and organisations operating in the county, as well as central government. We have already started to have conversations with organisations and the next section sets out what we are hearing so far.

Share this page

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share by email