Nearly half of England’s councils ‘don’t know carbon footprint’


Almost half of England’s councils cannot put a number to their own carbon emissions, an engineering trade body has discovered.

Quizzed by the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), 43 per cent of town halls say they don’t measure all energy use in council-owned buildings like offices, homes, depots or sports centres.

And 47 per cent of 214 English local authorities admit they’ve no plan in place to peg back emissions.

“There’s a lot of rhetoric out there, but very few action plans” said ECA energy advisor Luke Osborne.

Pressure from voters has led 65 per cent of 408 councils to declare a climate emergency, according to data from Climate Emergency, as of in October 2019.

Some 23 per cent of England’s councils responding to the ECA insisted they would be carbon neutral as early as 2030. But a quarter even of these are yet to measure their current carbon emissions.

“It’s positive that almost one in four councils are seeking to radically exceed the government’s net zero target by 20 years. But that figure needs to rise significantly,” said the ECA.

The probe suggests some councils are failing to undertake basic energy management. It found four civic HQs were each pumping out 10,000 tonnes of CO2, eight times the town hall average.

Alongside chronic lack of funding following central government cuts, civic ignorance of carbon emissions revealed in the ECA survey casts serious doubt on Britain’s chances of becoming a carbon neutral economy by 2050, the deadline set late in Theresa May’s government.

Local councils keen to tackle carbon emissions should attend the Energyst’s free Delivering Net Zero conference and exhibition, 22-23 April at Silverstone, to hear from  public sector peers, plus firms taking concrete action to decarbonise across heat, power and transport. Details here.

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