Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

Covid restrictions helped Ceredigion County Council improve its carbon reduction targets with more than £1million less spent on energy in 2020/21.

A progress update on the council action plan to become a net zero carbon local authority by 2030, and its route to this, was presented to thriving communities overview and scrutiny this week.

Committee members heard on Monday (November 1) that the global climate emergency was “a very serious issue for us for all sorts of reasons” as cabinet member Cllr Alun Williams outlined the progress made on the current focus of the plan – operational energy use and emissions.

These are routinely recorded and calculated annually as part of the council’s annual review of its carbon management plan, he added, with the operational emissions figures for 2020/21 financial year down 19 per cent across buildings, street lighting, fleet and business mileage.

Last year the reduction was six per cent and in 2018/19 just under six per cent.

Cllr Dai Mason said “it was covid that saved most of the money” with officers agreeing that much of the savings came from office closures and working form home, and the “most notable reduction was in relation to business milage” which was down almost 72 per cent to 180 tonnes of C02 and a cost of £297,738 down from more than £1million.

In 2020/21 total cost of energy and fuel reported within the scope of the Carbon Management Plan was £2,415,610. Ceredigion County Council spent £1,322,919 less on energy in 2020/21 than they did in the previous financial year (2019/20) – this equates to a 35.39% spend reduction, a report to committee states.

It was acknowledged that rising utility and fuel prices will impact future years, as will a return to previous working patterns, but savings could be maintained by incorporating many of the practices currently being used such as video conferencing remote attendance, said Bethan Lloyd Davies, carbon reduction manager.

In response to the argument that there was no point in trying to reduce carbon when large countries like China did not, she said: “As a local authority the expectation is that we lead by example and we should be promoting green ways of working, being greener and reducing emissions.”

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