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Climate Change Strategy

Current position and goals

Further to the Climate Emergency declaration in July 2019 a Climate Emergency Task Group was been formed, consisting (at the time) of a minimum of:

  • Cabinet Member responsible for the Environment (in the Chair);
  • Chairs of each Neighbourhood Forum;
  • Representatives of each political group represented on the council (2 Labour Members (including Air Quality Lead), 1 Liberal Democrat Member. 2 Conservative Members);
  • Air Quality Lead;
  • Such other Members, including co-opted members, as the working group shall consider appropriate.

The climate emergency task group has agreed the following aim and objectives:


To achieve carbon neutrality for the borough of South Ribble by 2030, taking account of any carbon offsetting identified. 


  • to carry out an assessment of current activities, including estimating the current Carbon Footprint of South Ribble.
  • to research best practice and look for innovative new approaches to reducing carbon emissions, carbon off setting and climate mitigation.
  • to produce a Climate Emergency Strategy and way forward for Council to consider.
  • to include those elements contained within the Greenhouse Gas Protocol defined as Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Direct emissions shall be taken as including fuel (energy), vehicles, farming, quarrying, waste produced and deposited within the borough from Domestic, Commercial, Industrial, Educational, Farming and leisure activities. It does not include those emissions generated by vehicles travelling through the borough, i.e. on motorways or by railway.
  • to define all emissions and reductions against a base year of 1990.


Current Emissions Profile - The Council (organisation)

In 2020 the Council employed One Carbon World, a resource partner of the United Nations Climate Neutral Now initiative, to quantify the Council's carbon emissions for the period 2018-2019 and identify possible improvements.  The findings of One Carbon World were published as an Appendix to the 2020 version of the Council's climate emergency strategy.

Since this time the Council has undertaken its own annual carbon / Greenhouse Gas (GHG) calculations for the years 19/20, 20/21, and 21/22.

The methodology for the annual GHG calculations is provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).  This standard national approach allows the Council to benchmark against others and share best practice and improvements amongst similar Authorities and other organisations.

Annual Greenhouse Gas Emission to the end March 2022

The total carbon footprint for 2021 - 2022 was 3,373,957kgCO2e. (CO2e = Greenhouse Gas equivalent emissions). 

This is an increase on the previous year, owing to the inclusion of the leisure centre operations, which came back into Council ownership from April 2021.  However, it is anticipated that in the coming year the emissions arising from the operation of the leisure centers will reduce significantly as a result of the heat decarbonisation works.

In 2022 the Council received grant funding to undertake heat decarbonisation works at 6 of our largest energy using buildings within our estate, including the Civic Centre, Moss Side depot and the four lesiure centres.  During 22/23 these 6 buildings are undergoing works to remove mains gas as a source of heating, introduce new heating technologies and improve our use of renewable energy.  In reporting years to come this reduced reliance on mains gas, and the resulting reduction in carbon emissions, will be evidenced.

For 2021/22, the most significant sources of CO2e emissions were identified as fuel use, primarily natural gas, but also diesel and petrol use in Council fleet vehicles.  These emission sources are being prioritised as part of the Council's climate emergency action plan, which details those actions the Council are and will be taking as an organisation, to reach the goal of carbon neutrality by 2030.

A full breakdown of the annual emissions is provided within the Annual Greenhouse Gas Report 2022, included as Appendix 3.

Current Emissions Profile - The Borough of South Ribble

The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published UK local authority estimates of carbon dioxide emissions statistics from 2005 to 2019.

Data for the Borough can be accessed at Data source and also in the PDF of the Climate Emergency Strategy (PDF) [1MB] .

Emissions inventory for the South Ribble borough- the emissions contributions from various sectors across the borough (data correct on 17.08.2022):


Percentage contributions to Borough emissions

Residential buildings


Commercial buildings and facilities


Industrial buildings and facilities




Fugitive emissions


On road






Solid waste disposal


Wastewater treatment and discharge


Industrial process




Land use


Institutional buildings and facilities



In considering those actions within the Council's action plan, and their prioritisation, it has also been necessary to consider how these total figures break down into emission scopes, and further subsections beyond.


Borough CO2 emissions by subsector (tCO2e) (data correct on 17.08.2022):


Tonnes CO2e

Residential buildings


Commercial buildings and facilities


Industrial buildings and facilities




Fugitive emissions


On road






Solid waste disposal


Wastewater treatment and discharge


Industrial process




Land use


Institutional buildings and facilities




Current Emissions Profile - Lancashire

In 2022, Atkins produced a report, Lancashire Net Zero Pathways Options,  on behalf of Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Council, Blackpool Council and the Lancashire Economic Partnership (  It provides an evidence-based assessment of Lancashire's current carbon footprint at a territorial level and  generates a carbon reduction pathways that would put the region on track to achieve three targets as follows (against the national target of Net Zero by 2050):

  • net Zero emissions by 2030 (100% reduction relative to 1990 levels);
  • 68% reduction of emissions by 2030 (relative to 1990 levels); and
  • 78% reduction of emissions by 2035 (relative to 1990 levels).

As all Council's across Lancashire have stated their intention to be carbon net zero by 2030, the report examines those actions needed to meet this commitment.

The report details those measures necessary across the County, including but not exclusively relating to:

  • transport - providing sustainable modes of transport, the infrastructure for clean transport and the need for behavioural change
  • buildings - key improvement measures suggested include fabric improvements, LED lighting, decarbonisation of heating and renewable energy sources
  • industrial installations - including energy efficiency, fuel sources, and carbon capture and storage

However, in considering potential future national and regional actions, the report warns that 'net zero emissions are unlikely to be possible any earlier than 2040.

The report also considers the wider benefits of pursuing net zero including enhancing business opportunities, employment opportunities, the overall health and wellbeing of residents, reduced energy costs, enhanced biodiversity and improved air quality.

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

In December 2019 the world saw the first reported cases of COVID-19, also known as Coronavirus. In the following months we witnessed the development of a global pandemic as the World Health Organisation and individual nations reacted to the surge in cases around the world.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been and will continue to be a life changing, traumatic event for many people around the world. The statements below are in no way intended to detract from that.

Environmentally, the pandemic has brought both positive and negative effects, as summarised in the table below:

Positive Impacts

Negative Impacts

Increased outdoor air quality

Increased ecological risk to natural ecosystems due to use of disinfectants

Decrease in energy consumption and GHG emissions

Increased medical waste

Increase in surface water quality

Increased disinfection routines with chemical substances in household and outdoor environments


In June 2020 the DEFRA Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) published estimations of changes in air pollution emissions, concentrations and exposure during the pandemic within the UK (9).  The findings at that time were that emissions of pollutants related to transport were markedly decreased, particularly relating to nitrogen oxides (NOx) in urban environments, with typical reductions of 30 - 40%.  However, the report suggests that for some people, increased time spent on activities in the home such as cooking and cleaning may have increased emissions and concentrations of pollutants such as PM2.5 and Volatile Organic Compounds.

Also in 2020 the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has wrote to the UK Government advising on how the nation could emerge from the pandemic whilst delivering a stronger and cleaner economy. (10). These recommendations included -

  • build new homes that are fit for the future, Scale up housing retrofits,
  • invest in low-carbon, resilient infrastructure such as improved broadband instead of new roads,
  • make it easy for people to work remotely, walk and cycle, Expand tree planting,
  • ensuring the benefits of climate change are shared widely and that actions taken do not burden those who are least able to pay

The CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, said 'The COVID-19 crisis has shown the importance of planning well for the risks the country faces. Recovery means investing in new jobs, cleaner air and improved health. The actions needed to tackle climate change are central to rebuilding our economy. The Government must prioritise actions that reduce climate risks and avoid measures that lock-in higher emissions'

These themes have been used to influence the Council's Climate Emergency Action Plan.


COP 26

In November 2021 the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) brought together, in Glasgow, 120 world leaders and over 40,000 registered participants.  For two weeks they deliberated all facets of climate change — the science, the solutions, the political will to act, and clear indications of action.  The eventual outcome of COP 26 was the  Glasgow Climate Pact - including a recognition of the need for action to prevent global heating of over 1.5°C, a phasing down of coal power, and discussions as to how developed countries would contribute financially to delivering global climate change.

Ahead of the summit the Government published the UK Net Zero Strategy ( setting out plans for the UK to be carbon neutral by 2050.  Actions forming part of this strategy include:

  • electricity from low carbon generation and storage technologies
  • hydrogen to complement the electricity system, for example in aviation and shipping
  • carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) to capture carbon dioxide from power generation and industrial processes
  • the use of biomass and other wastes to support low carbon fuels for industry, buildings and transport

At the same time as the summit the Environment Act 2021 came into force, addressing air quality, water quality, waste and recycling, and biodiversity.

The next Conference of the Parties (COP 27) will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt during November 2022.  Further information on this summit, as it is released, may be found at


In July 2019 South Ribble Borough Council declared a climate emergency and set a goal to become Carbon neutral by 2030

Within the 2019 climate emergency Council declaration, the statement is made:

'This Council declares that the effect of climate change within the borough poses an immediate danger to the health and well-being of our residents and therefore proclaims a Climate Emergency with immediate effect.

To combat this threat, the borough sets a goal of rendering the borough carbon neutral by the year 2030.'

A full copy of the Council motion is detailed as Appendix 2

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