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City’s carbon emissions fall again

Published on Monday, November 27, 2017

LEICESTER is on track to smash its targets for long-term carbon reductions after continuing to cut its annual emissions.

The most recent annual figures recorded by the Government for cities across the UK show that Leicester’s carbon levels in 2015 were 1418ktCO2 – a nine percent reduction on 2014 levels, and a huge 41 percent reduction on 1990 figures.

If emissions continue to fall at the same rate, then the city will achieve a 60 percent cut on CO2 levels by 2025 – exceeding the already ambitious target of a 50 percent reduction.

The figures were revealed as Leicester hosted the fifth annual Low Carbon Lecture, which saw some of the leading lights in climate change science mix with representatives from cities across the UK last week.

Leicester’s domestic emissions, from gas and electricity consumption, stood at 464.1ktCO2 in 2015 – which is down three per cent since 2014, and 30 percent since 2005.

Emissions from industry, such as gas, electricity and other fuel use, were 620.5ktCO2 in 2015,  which is an 18 percent  drop since 2014 and 40 percent reduction since 2005, while emissions from transport have fallen by one percent since 2014 and 40 percent since 2005., to stand in 2015 at 333.5ktCO2. 

Leicester City Council’s own carbon footprint, including emissions from its buildings, schools, travel and public lighting, is also well on target to meet its goal of a 50 percent reduction by 2025 compared with 2008/9 levels. 

Using a measure to calculate ‘operational carbon dioxide equivalent’ (CO2e), the council’s carbon emissions in 2016/17 fell 7.5 percent on the previous year, and 30 percent on the 2008/9 baseline levels.

The city’s progress towards its targets was revealed during a day-long series of seminars and workshops as part of the Low Carbon Lecture, which included representatives of 10 UK cities, along with leading campaigner and activist Polly Billington, and Mark Watts, who is one of the world’s most highly-regarded experts in green issues.

Leicester deputy city mayor for the environment, health and health integration, Cllr Adam Clarke, said: “These figures are really encouraging and mean we are making real progress in cutting carbon emissions and improving the city’s air quality. 

“The figures are even more impressive when you take into account the growth of the city’s population since 1990, which is the baseline figure from which we are working.

“The reductions in emissions from housing are due to less use of coal and more people using more efficient heating and more renewable energy.  The same is true of the industrial sector where coal has given ground to newer, cleaner energy.

“As a council we have invested in more efficient low energy public lighting, and replaced 13 of the council’s fleet vehicles with ultra-low emission vehicles, as well as using our operational buildings more efficiently to cut gas and electric use.

“The target for a 50 percent carbon reduction by 2025 was very ambitious when it was set back in 1990 – a real aspiration for the future, which we are now very much on track for not just achieving, but exceeding. 

“Of course, lots can change before then and we mustn’t rest on our laurels –through our Sustainability Action Plan, and by working alongside the other cities whose representatives were present at this week’s Low Carbon Lecture, we are determined to do all we can to make sure that we achieve these goals.”

Cities represented at last week’s Low Carbon Lecture included Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds, Newcastle, Liverpool, Southampton, Birmingham, Bristol and Nottingham.

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