Corporate carbon highlight report 2020 to 2021

Introduction

This report covers the corporate carbon emissions over which East Sussex County Council has direct control. These are:

  • fossil fuels used for heating schools and corporate buildings, together with the Council's vehicles (called Scope 1 emissions).
  • electricity used in building and for street lighting (called Scope 2 emissions).

The Council's more detailed Climate Emergency Action Plan includes all emissions, for example from procurement. It can be found on our page about the corporate climate change strategy.


Looking back

Carbon emissions since 2008/09

Since 2008/09 Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions have been reduced by over 60%. About half of this reduction is due to coal being gradually replaced by renewables to generate electricity in the national grid.

From 2008/09 until 2019/20 our annual carbon reduction target was 3% year on year. Our new climate emergency target from 2020/21 is 13% per year for Scope 1 and 2 emissions. This is a science-based carbon budget that enables the Council to play its part in keeping the increase in global average temperatures to no more than 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Carbon reduction in 2020/21

In 2020/21:

  • buildings accounted for 79% of Scope 1 and 2 emissions, with schools being the largest share
  • heating made up 60% of building emissions
  • the Council’s fleet carbon dioxide emissions were down 19% compared with 2019-20 due to reduced mileage.
Pie chart showing sources of carbon emissions. The percentages for each source are given on our page about the corporate carbon emissions highlight report.
2020/21 carbon emissions from our own operations
2020/21 carbon own operation emissions
Source of emissions Percentage of emissions
School buildings 54%
Corporate buildings 25%
Street lighting 18%
Business fleet 2%
ICT servers 1%

COVID-19 impact

April to September 2020 saw a 25% reduction in energy use compared with the previous year. October 2020 to March 2021 saw energy use increase by 3% as schools reopened and buildings were heated, but required increased ventilation due to COVID-19. Overall total energy use was down 6%.

Bar chart showing energy consumption in kilowatt hours in 2019/20 and 2020/21. The figures for each month of the year are given on our page about the corporate carbon emissions highlight report.
Year on year energy consumption in kilowatt hours
Year on year energy consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh)
Month 2019/20 energy consumption in kilowatt hours 2020/21 energy consumption in kilowatt hours
April 3,952,842 2,956,009
May 3,277,901 2,252,337
June 2,682,520 1,903,948
July 2,385,969 1,906,607
August 2,011,969 1,852,584
September 2,680,162 2,540,811
October 3,965,018 4,049,579
November 5,763,441 5,174,151
December 6,205,656 6,155,799
January 6,808,737 7,393,735
February 6,052,262 6,088,813
March 5,666,721 6,205,086

Carbon budget targets

Scope 1 and 2 carbon dioxide emissions fell 13% in 2020-21 compared with 2019-20 (by 1,672 tonnes), keeping the Council within its carbon budget.

Bar chart showing progress against targets for the 5 year carbon budget 2021 to 2025. Targets are given for each year up to 2025. Baseline and actual results are only available for years up to 2021. The figures for each year are given on our page about the corporate carbon emissions highlight report.
Carbon emission targets and actual results for 5 year carbon budget 2021 to 2025

The bar chart shows progress against targets for the 5 year carbon budget 2021 to 2025. The measurement is in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).

Target and actual figures for 2019/20 are given to provide historical context and the baseline figure. In 2020/21 the 13% year on year reduction started to apply. Targets are given for each year up to 2025. Actual results are only available up to 2021.

Carbon emission targets and actual results up to 2021
Year Target tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) Actual tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e)
2019/20 13,056 12,461
2020/21 10,841 10,789
Carbon emission targets from 2022 to 2025
Year Target tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e)
2021/22 9,432
2022/23 8,206
2023/24 7,139
2024/25 6,211

Looking forward

As schools and staff gradually return to normal, we anticipate an increase in energy usage and carbon emissions compared with last year.

Projects underway in 2021/22 to reduce the Council’s carbon emissions include:

  • conversion of 14,000 streetlights to low energy LED lighting
  • installation of low energy LED lighting and solar panels in at least 6 sites
  • pilot installation of heat pumps in a primary school.