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City council cuts carbon emissions by a quarter

Winchester City Council has today announced its Carbon Footprint Report 2020-2021 has been published. The findings show that the local authority has reduced carbon emissions by 26% within the last year and over 41% over the last 10 years.

Since the announcement of the Climate Emergency in June 2019 the council has dedicated resources to making positive, sustainable change. Winchester City Council’s Carbon Neutrality Action Plan (CNAP) has two targets – to become a carbon neutral council by 2024 and to get the district to meet the same goal by 2030. The council began assessing its carbon footprint in 2008 and continues to monitor data annually in order to track progress. The purpose of the report published today is to summarise results and to use them to provide practical recommendations that will further reduce carbon emissions.

Key findings from the report show:

  • A 26% reduction in on-site electricity plus moving to renewable energy supplier for the year 2020-2021. This was exacerbated by offices and the Guildhall being vacant during COVID-19 lockdowns.
  • A 97% reduction in employee commuting. However this was offset by the inclusion of home working emissions, which we’ve included in the Carbon Footprint Report for the first time.
  • That 91% of Winchester City Council sites are on a 100% renewable energy tariff.

The council is investigating further opportunities to reduce emissions associated with services by continuing the transition to sites owned by the council, that are not related to housing, to 100% renewable energy tariffs (the housing stock is being constantly developed to lower carbon emissions). They are also looking to switch to alternative fuel/low carbon energy for buses and are looking to lease and purchase electric vehicles and install charging points on-site to transition their fleet.

Cllr Hannah Williams, Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency, said:

“It’s excellent to see that our efforts are proving to be making a difference as our Carbon Footprint Report shows we have been reducing our negative impact on the climate crisis since we declared a climate emergency three years ago.

“I’m proud to be continuing the incredible work that was started by my friend and colleague, Cllr Lynda Murphy, who was determined to tackle the climate emergency within our district.

“However, there’s more work to be done to ensure we meet our goals and prevent the detrimental repercussions we could face if change doesn’t continue to be made.

“Offsetting carbon emissions will help to turn the current global situation around – there is great concern that we are surpassing the 1.5C global temperature increase threshold. Evidence shows that climate change has been exacerbated by our current lifestyles generating too much greenhouse gases, which is warming the global atmosphere. This will continue to get worse if we don’t all take action and we will likely see sea levels rise, flooding, extreme weather changes, and crop growth will be affected. That’s why we all look to assess our part to play in the climate emergency and identify ways we can make change.

“We’re excited to reveal what we have in store over the next few years to ensure we and future generations have the best chance possible.”

To read the full report click here.

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