DECC publishes carbon emissions data by local authority

DECC publishes data on carbon emissions broken down by local authorities and main sources of origin.

Online PR News – 10-July-2010 – – The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has collated carbon emissions data today that split up the 8.3 million tonnes carbon footprint of local authorities' buildings and transport in England into local authorities chunks - equivalent to 1.6% of the UK's carbon emissions in 2008.

The carbon emissions data shows a wide disparity in the carbon footprints of the different local authorities. At one end of the spectrum are large, bustling metropolises with large populations, such as worst offender Birmingham with 177,360 tonnes of carbon emissions for 2008 to 2009; and at the opposite end, the tiny Isles of Scilly, where schoolchildren get to school by boat and the year-round population amounts to just over 2,000.

The government's low-carbon transition plan published in July identified the importance of local authority action on climate change. Around 340 local authorities have already signed the Nottingham declaration on climate change which is designed to help local authorities plan strategies for reducing their carbon emissions.

Being the first year that this carbon emissions data has been collected, there are no trends yet. But, over time the data will help local authorities to assess their carbon emissions and decide what energy efficiency measures to take. DECC could exploit friendly competition to get local authorities to make their carbon footprints lighter.

A motivating compensation is that climate change secretary Chris Huhne yesterday removed the legal barrier from local authorities wishing to sell energy they generate back to the grid, so they can raise funds to pay for services.

One of the good things of releasing the data on carbon emissions is that it will lead some activists to take their local authorities to task. For example, Haringey's carbon footprint is 39,553 tonnes, which is higher than the average Greater London borough, which works out as 34,788 tonnes. Considering that it has a population of 225,500 people, less than average per London borough, which is about 235,000.

The carbon emissions per person in each borough together with the full dataset from DECC - which also includes other carbon emissions besides CO2 - are available for downloading here.