Our progress

The falls in carbon emissions seen in 2020/21 were heavily influenced by the Covid pandemic, when lockdowns forced some significant behaviour changes, with many buildings closed and very limited opportunity for car travel.

As the economy fully reopens and we return to a new normality, we expect that WCC emissions in 2021/22 are likely to be higher than those in the unprecedented year of 2020/21. The challenge to achieve our net zero targets remains a significant one, and we are working to retain the reduction in carbon emissions and grow the green shoots of recovery. 

Ongoing work includes focusing on delivering carbon savings through agile working: reduced office working and commuting, better use of ICT, replacing gas heating with electric heating in our buildings, fitting solar PV arrays, and reducing emissions from our vehicle fleet through modernisation, electrification and alternative fuels. Due to our positive actions and the ongoing impact of COVID-19, we expect the footprint in 2021/22 will still show reductions on the pre-pandemic 2019/20 levels.

We are confident that our commitment to net zero carbon and wide-ranging interventions will secure continued carbon reductions over the longer term.

Carbon (all sources)

Proportion of 2020/21 total Emissions type tCO2e 2020/21 tCO2e 2019/20 Saving
24% Heating 1,909 2,196 13%
0% Fugitive emissions 0 0 0%
9% Authority's fleet 717 1,181 39%
16% Electricity (buildings) 1,254 1,713 27%
28% Electricity (streetlights) 2,224 2,592 14%
18% Staff business travel 1,398 3,327 58%
4% Grid losses 299 365 18%
0% Water 21 21 0%
100% Total emissions 7,822 11,395 31%

Carbon (buildings)

Emissions type tCO2e 2020/21 tCO2e 2019/20 Saving
Heating (gas) 1,909 2,196 13%
Electricity (buildings) 1,254 1,713 27%
Electricity (streetlights) 2,224 2,592 14%


Emissions type kWh 2020/21 kWh 2019/20 Saving
Heating (gas) 10,379,711 11,942,414 13%
Electricity (buildings) 5,377,929 6,701,059 20%
Electricity (streetlights) 9,539,887 10,139,107 6%

Emission factor electricity

2020/21 2019/20 Saving
0.233 0.256 9%

Future projections

Emissions type Likely future trend Reasoning Intervention
Heating Down Building disposal Insulation, decarbonisation
Fugitive emissions      
Authority's fleet Up Full operational service HVO, vehicle renewal, Evs
Electricity (buildings) Down Grid decarbonisation Increased renewables
Electricity (streetlights) Down Grid decarbonisation Little scope
Staff business travel Slightly up Full operational service Minimised by Agile
Grid losses As per electricity Directly linked (although factor decreasing slightly) Reduce electricity consumption
Total emissions Possible down (slightly) Grid decarbonisation, Agile  

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