South Lakeland District Council's carbon footprint

Last Updated: 27 August 2021

We measure our Carbon (co2) emissions. We have already taken action to reduce our co2 emissions and have set targets to reduce then even more.

The carbon footprint measures greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are under our direct control. This includes the emissions from our buildings, fleet vehicles and outsourced services.

We currently emit around 2,500 tonnes of greenhouse gases annually this is largely from transport (waste and recycling and business transport) and our utilities (including contactors such as leisure centres). The largest emitters are waste collection 47% of our CO2 emissions and leisure centres 21%.

We are also working with partner organisations, our community and other Cumbrian councils on what we can do to reduce carbon emissions.

What we have done to reduce our emissions

We have been measuring our GHG emissions in detail since 2010 and SLDC organisational carbon emissions have seen over a 50% decrease falling from 5259 tonnes in 2010 to 2475 tonnes in 2019/20.

This drop has come partly from increased efficiency throughout our estate, but also it must be noted that for electricity the carbon factor used has reduced by nearly 40% in the UK due to an increase in renewable energy in the energy mix of electricity UK wide. Additionally the council has sold some properties so the size of the council’s estate has reduced. Therefore, while the council has made significant progress on reducing emissions through mitigation actions, the greening of the national grid and organisational changes have also had significant impacts.

The work we have done to reduce our emissions so far includes:

  • adopting a climate change policy and a biodiversity policy
  • approving a council plan commitment to reduce our carbon footprint
  • fitting PV panels to some council owned buildings
  • commissioning an energy audit of SLDC owned buildings
  • planting almost 4,000 trees in four years
  • hiring a dedicated sustainability coordinator

CO2 emissions reduction targets

We are aiming to reach zero carbon emissions by 2030.

To reach this target we will need to accelerate our progress by aiming for a more ambitious decrease of around 25% per year.

Future changes to national policy and in technology mean our year on year reductions may look different

We will review our carbon emissions at the end of each financial year.

What we're doing to reduce our emissions

Objectives, actions and timescales we have set to reduce our own carbon emissions
Objective Action Timescale
Achieve required carbon efficiencies at SLDC
  • create a council project team and governance to implement action plan
  • create a tailored carbon emissions database to inform systematic reductions
  • devise a carbon emissions impact tool to support informed and positive council decision making
Short term
Achieve carbon neutrality in our buildings
  • commission building by building reports on external and internal measures with recommendations (utilising the energy hierarchy: use less energy, improve your energy efficiency, and create new energy from renewable sources)
  • maximise water efficiency
Short term
Assess the potential for minimising emissions and improving biodiversity on SLDC owned land and assets
  • commission report(s) on enhancing biodiversity of SLDC land and parks, linking with our Green Infrastructure Strategy, Local Nature Recovery Strategy and Nature Recovery Networks
  • review streetlights and potential energy-saving technology
Short term
Assess and implement measures to significantly reduce SLDC business travel emissions
  • develop and embed employee green travel protocol
  • investigate potential for electric vehicle and bike use for employees on council business
  • encourage councillors to minimise travel
Short term
Assess and implement measures to significantly reduce carbon emissions from SLDC waste and recycling service
  • look at the efficiency of existing waste collection rounds making changes where appropriate.
  • investigate emerging technologies to support reduced emissions.
  • investigate enhanced recycling options (e.g. food waste)
  • encourage community engagement with our recycling service
Long term
Assess and implement measures to significantly reduce carbon emissions from SLDC contractors
  • review procurement to optimise carbon-efficient operations in council contractors
Short term
Work with partner agencies across Cumbria to share best practice and achieve joint outcomes
  • invest and support in partnership working arrangements across Cumbria
Short term
Develop a productive and positive interaction with communities to stimulate actions
  • develop and implement a communications plan and seek to proactively engage with the public
Short term
Develop and implement a carbon offsetting plan
  • work with local partners to create an offsetting and biodiversity strategy for SLDC
Medium term

The plan prioritises carbon reduction measures to achieve our targets. But for the irreducible emissions we are looking to offset our emissions by working with partners such as the Lake District National Park on offsetting measures, for example tree planting and biodiversity creation.