Emissions from a car

Equivalent tonnes of CO2 emissions from WSCC activities

In April 2019, the Council acknowledged the threat of climate change and passed a motion pledging to try to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2030. This pledge was based on a long record of work to reduce our emissions.
We were one of the first local authorities to set a carbon reduction target, and in 2011 pledged to reduce our emissions by 50% by 2020.
We introduced a corporate wide energy and water management programme that assessed the energy performance of our estate and identified areas where we could improve efficiency and operating costs. We rolled out comprehensive programmes to improve our building management systems, improve insulation and upgrade lighting both in our own buildings but also in street lights across the County. We have also invested in renewable energy with solar panel installations installed on a range of our corporate buildings including administration hubs and libraries.
As result of this work, and a general reduction in the size of our corporate estate, at the end of 2019/20 we met our target and reduced our corporate carbon emissions by 51%.
Despite this success, the Council’s pledge to net carbon zero demonstrates we understand that we need to lead by example and do more, faster. In reflection of this, we used the opportunity of the new commitment to review the scope of the emissions included within the target and have chosen to broaden the scope.
In addition to emissions from our corporate estate, highway street light and signs, and business miles we also now include emissions from the school estate and water use. Emissions have also been incorporated representing the broader indirect carbon emissions caused by our energy consumption. Often referred to as Scope 3 emissions, these inclusions cover for example the emissions generated by transmission and distribution of grid electricity that we consume, as well as emissions generated by production of the fuel we use within our vehicles. It does not include emissions stemming from contracted services or emissions embedded into the materials we utilise.
More detail about the scope of our target and our plans to achieve it can be found in our Carbon Management Plan

March 2022 performance

  • Carbon emissions for Q4 totalled 10,314 tonnes of CO2e, -9% vs 20/21 and -8% vs the 19/20 baseline. This retains performance in-line with targeted 2021/22 total emissions volume.
  • Heat demand was the primary emission source, owing to the winter months covered within this quarter. Demand was though reduced compared to 20/21, in part due to warmer external temperatures.
Full Year
  • Recorded 21/22 carbon emissions have matched our targeted KPI of a 10% reduction against the 19/20 baseline.
  • Heat demand from the Schools Estate remained the largest recorded source of carbon emissions.
  • Total carbon emissions from the Schools Estate rose marginally, with onsite activity increasing as the impact of covid restrictions dissipated. This increase was partly offset by reduced emissions within the Corporate Estate.
  • Business Transport related emissions showed a minor increase across the year as activity returned post Covid-19 restrictions, though remains significantly lower than pre Covid-19 levels.


Corrections to some emissions data from corporate administration sites are anticipated to take place shortly, which will likely result in a minor increase to recorded quarter 2 21/22 emissions. Any changes will be reflected during the next quarterly report.