Agenda item

GBC Emissions Report 2020-21 - Presentation


The Climate Change Officer gave a presentation.

The Guildford Borough Council (GBC) Scope 1,2 and 3 Carbon Emissions Report for 2020/21 was written by the Association for Public Sector Excellence (APSE). It was prepared in March and revised in July 2022.

The evidence baseline was for 2008/09. The calculations had been made in-house at GBC and had been reviewed by APSE. The net carbon footprint from Scopes 1,2, and 3 for 20/21 was 6,057 tCO2e. From the baseline data that represented a reduction of 9519 tCO2e or 61%.

Due to the pandemic 20/21 was classed as a ‘non-standard’ year and the data should not be sued for comparison against standard years. This was because of lockdowns and closure of the leisure centre etc. Data from 2021/22 had been commissioned and would be compared against data from 2019. Data informing the new Action Plan would be drawn from 2019 data.

Scope 1 was direct emissions and represented natural gas usage and was the largest source of emissions at 2,393 tCO2e per annum. Council vehicles were also accounted for under Scope 1 at 920 tCO2e per annum and it was noted that waste vehicles accounted for 68% of Council vehicle emissions. Scope 2 was indirect emissions and represented electricity use and accounted for 2,116 tCO2e per annum. Scope 3 emissions accounted for 644 tCO2e per annum, however Scope 3 emissions needed focus to ensure that there was full capture. Scopes 1 and 2 accounted for 98.4% of all Council emissions.

The revised Carbon Trajectory report had also been received from APSE in July. For the year 2020-21 the Council had produced less carbon emissions than forecast because it had been a ‘non-standard’ year. Therefore, the year 20221-22 was expected to see a rise as business returned to normal. The trajectory report provided an indicative cost to the Council to attain net-zero by 2030 for Scopes 1 and 2 at £56.8M. It was recommended in the report that the Council undertake a review of all vehicles and assets and provide an action plan setting out what interventions could be undertaken, along with a calculation of capital costs and funding opportunities. Additional recommendations from the report were to centralise and store all Scope 1 and 2 emissions data via SystemsLink[1]; to develop an understanding of and report on Scope 3 emissions; that waste disposal data be recorded and reported; and that Scope 3 be expanded to include purchased goods and services. Under SystemsLink the 331 electricity meters that the Council were responsible for were currently under review to seek to reduce emissions. A new carbon tab would be included on the SystemLink carbon table to ensure that renewable energy generation could be counted to offset as energy reduction?? A number of assumptions had been made to calculate Scope 3 emissions. Currently, only water supply was calculated and not used water treatment. It had been assumed that 95% of the water used by the Council had been returned to the sewer. Carbon emissions associated with used water treatment were twice as high as that of water supply. The Council would need to more closely monitor used water and work with the water company to improve emissions.

Business travel by rail was included in Scope 3 calculations but had not been included in the report as it had been assumed that during the pandemic there would have been very few such journeys.

Emissions from waste disposal had quadrupled due to conversion factors. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) had said that conversion factors were regularly reviewed and updated to provide more accurate and relevant data. Refuse waste was calculated as 5% sent to an energy from waste facility and 95% as landfill. Waste from the Freedom Leisure sites were not included in the report, but gas and electricity were.

Members of the Board made the following comments:

It was queried how working from home during the pandemic and the general shift in behaviour in working arrangements post-pandemic by both officers and councillors might be measured in terms of emissions. The ‘Cost of Living Crisis’ might also result in a change in the other direction with a greater office attendance due to warm offices. It was suggested that it would be an interesting topic that might be taken up nationwide or a potential study for the Council itself. It was noted that the Council had in place a policy of ‘agile working’ where officers could work from home 50% time which might help with calculations.

In future calculations of business travel emissions would include all rail travel but should also include all forms of travel including flights, albeit rare. Details of tickets and costs had been forwarded to APSE for calculation. APSE was also suggesting reviews of mileage information which had not yet been provided.

It was estimated in the region of 50 tCO2e per annum was offset by the borough via land use and forestry. Further offsetting might be increased by extending greenspaces or renewables. It was suggested the offsetting data be included on the pie chart graphic in future. The Board was reminded that it was important to mainly focus on the reduction of emissions from gas and electricity use rather than to seek offsetting opportunities, although this was an area of great interest.

With regard to including goods and services in the calculation of Scope 3 emissions, it was queried how value for money and consideration of the Council’s financial circumstances could be reconciled with a low carbon agenda. This would be a balance to be struck by procurement when evaluating the benefits to the Council and its overall objectives.

The timescale moving the waste disposal fleet over to EV was queried and it was noted that Waverley Borough Council had recently agreed to re-engineer its fleet to run on biodiesel at a cost of £100,000. The National Waste Strategy from Government was awaited and this was expected to impact the Council’s plan to move the fleet to EV because it was not clear what type of refuse was to be collected in future and how this would influence the design of the vehicles.

It was suggested Scopes 1 and 2 should be presented separately from Scope 3 as the Council had more control over Scopes 1 and 2. It was also suggested that the trajectory forcast bar chart might be altered to accommodate the data from the ‘non-standard’ year 2020-21 so that the anticipated increase was explained. The details of the bar chart would be discussed with APSE.

Scope 3 calculation would need to include all goods and services procured by the Council and to include the supply chains of the suppliers/providers to the end of the line. It was suggested that a consultant might be recruited to deliver this work or that a partnership with the University (UNIS) could be appropriate. The importance and potential impact of Scope 3 emissions for the Councils zero-carbon objectives was noted and a decision on which option to select would be taken soon.

It was noted that the Council did have a Procurement Strategy which the Climate Change Officer would review and it would also be shared with the Board. It was noted that SCC was currently reviewing its procurement strategy with a view to sharing with the Surrey districts and boroughs.