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Carbon emissions on downward trend amid Ceredigion Council net zero commitment

CARBON emissions are on a “downward trend” at Ceredigion County Council as it works towards its commitment to be a net zero authority by 2030.

The current focus is on operational usage and emissions in reviews of a net zero action plan following its approval by the council last year – with a cumulative reduction of 20 per cent from 2017/18 to 2021/22 against a target of 15 per cent.

A report to thriving communities overview and scrutiny committee on Wednesday, October 19 shows that most service areas increased emission during 2021/22 compared to the year before when the UK was locked down due to the pandemic.

“Despite an emission increase in 2021/22, when compared to the previous financial year, emissions are still overall on a downward trajectory and are 9.96 per cent lower than they were in 2019/20 (pre-pandemic) and 20.48 per cent lower than the baseline year of 2017/18,” states the report.

Cabinet member for highways, environmental services and carbon management Cllr Keith Henson outlined the report, that also notes an increase in energy costs of £735,699 due to contact price increases in 2021/22.

Cllr Henson has taken over as chairman of the carbon management and climate change group, which the committee heard has been well attended by cross-party representatives to develop and oversee delivery of the net zero action plan.

Staff working from home, and using their own energy, as well as commuting emissions, are recorded under a new Welsh Government methodology, the committee was told and do count towards the authority’s targets.

Cllr Mark Davies raised concerns about whether sufficient funding to meet targets will be available, referring to Mark Drakeford’s claim the Conservatives had “trashed our economy and reputation”, adding “there will be less money to come in the next few years.”

The new methodology also include transport, waste and the procurement of goods and services and in Ceredigion 76 per cent of its overall footprint relates to supply chain emissions but questions have been raised regarding it being calculated on spend alone.

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