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The council's carbon footprint


This page looks at the carbon emissions from the Council and its activities.

For carbon emissions from County Durham as a whole, see County Durham's carbon footprint.

The council's carbon footprint is calculated at the end of each financial year. The most recent figures cover April 2020 to March 2021. This information will be updated at the end of July each year with the latest figures.

Targets

The Climate Emergency Target for the council is to achieve 80% actual reduction on carbon emissions from 2008/09 baseline by 2030. That means that in the financial year 2029/2030, we should have a carbon footprint no greater than 21,526 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

YearActual EmissionsTarget Emissions
 Footprint (tonnes CO2e)Reduction (%)Footprint (tonnes CO2e)Reduction (%)
2008/09105,7690%  
2020/2144,31958%  
2021/22    42,41460%
2024/25  31,96270%
2029/30  21,52680%

Carbon footprint 2020/21

Our carbon footprint is split into three scopes.

Scope 1 is direct emissions, which means any emissions that come as a direct result of us burning a fuel such as oil, gas, or petrol.

Scope 2 is indirect emissions, which here just refers to the emissions produced when our electricity was generated in a power station.

Scope 3 is emissions from areas where we can't have full control. There has been a significant change in this since our baseline year of 2008/09 as Local Authorities no longer have control over all of our schools and some other services. Scope 3 also includes business travel, as we can not control the type of vehicle our staff choose to use, though we do encourage active and public transport or use of our electric pool cars whenever possible. Although some emissions have moved into scope 3 from scopes 1 and 2, the total footprint still covers the same total scope.

Annual Carbon Emissions (tonnes CO²e)

Source of Emissions2008/09 (baseline year)2020/21 (last year)
Scope 1 (direct emissions)  
Solid Fuel (wood pellets)07
Liquid fuels 51540
Gaseous fuels34,3457,245
Vehicle fleet and plant  11,2599,409
Scope 1 total46,11916,700
Scope 2 (indirect emissions)       
Purchased electricity (Grid)51,0657,696
Scope 2 total51,0657,696
Scope 3 (emissions outside of DCC's control)  
Business Travel3,830499
Solid Fuel (wood pellets)02
Liquid fuels0605
Gaseous fuels2312,275
Purchased electricity (Grid)3345,414
Electricity Distribution3,9961,127
Scope 3 total8,18319,922
Annual total footprint105,36744,319

The data in the table above shows a reduction from 105ktCO²e to 44ktCO²e from 2008/09 to 2020/21. That's a reduction of 58%. The graph below shows how that reduction has happened year-on-year.

The chart shows annual carbon emissions from 2008/09 to 2020/21. Reduction from the baseline year has progressed steadily to 58% in 2020/21. The biggest reduction is seen in emissions from electricity.

The chart shows annual carbon emissions from 2008/09 to 2020/21. Reduction from the baseline year has progressed steadily to 58% in 2020/21. The biggest reduction is seen in emissions from electricity, so we need to do more work on heat and transport. The table below contains all of the data used in the chart. All figures are in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

Year

2008/09

2009/10

2010/11

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

Transport Emissions

15,400

15,760

14,494

14,484

13,613

13,224

13,441

13,849

13,891

12,985

12,210

10,812

9,907

Heat Emissions

34,973

34,336

33,676

27,476

33,736

28,748

25,925

24,883

21,716

22,587

21,633

22,700

20,174

Electricity Emissions

55,395

56,539

54,504

50,807

50,539

46,736

45,852

41,727

33,770

27,917

21,750

18,275

14,238

Total Footprint

105,768

106,635

102,674

92,767

97,888

88,708

85,218

80,459

69,377

63,488

55,593

51,787

44,319

Reduction so far

0%

-1%

3%

12%

7%

16%

19%

24%

34%

40%

47%

51%

58%

More information on the council's carbon footprint can be found on the Durham Insight: carbon emissions page.

Where our emissions come from

The footprint includes:

  • Gas, electricity, biomass, and oil used in;
    • Buildings owned and used by us (the council) including; schools, leisure centres, libraries, depots, offices and more
    • Buildings leased by us or from us where we pay the utility bills
  • Street lighting including bus shelters
  • Fuel used by fleet vehicles owned and used by us, such as refuse collection vehicles
  • Staff business mileage for road, rail, and air travel

The footprint excludes:

  • Domestic properties and council owned housing
  • Staff commuting to and from work
  • Buildings owned by us which are leased to and operated entirely by third parties including some industrial units and some schools
  • Procurement of goods and services
  • Water use (see note 1 below)
  • Fugitive gasses (see note 2 below)
  1. Water use is monitored and well managed, but accurate metering is not always available. The total carbon footprint is estimated to be less than 1% of the total footprint.
  2. These are monitored separately. It is our intention to include them in the main footprint report in future.
Contact us
Sustainability Carbon and Climate Change
03000 265 545
Our address is:
  • 5th Floor
  • County Hall
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UQ