1.1 The period of the last two annual Carbon Reduction Plans have seen
significant change within the Council as an organisation, with both positive and
negative effects on the ability of the organisation to reduce its own carbon emissions.
The unprecedented pressure on public sector budgets and the resultant down-sizing
and re-structuring of staffing and business units have taken priority, with the effect
that improving environmental understanding and performance has made less
progress than originally anticipated. At the same time, a focus on the contribution that
carbon can make in meeting savings targets, via reductions in overall utility costs and
reduced financial pressures from the Carbon Reduction Commitment has enabled
progress to be made. This plan builds on this.
1.2 There are two key issues impacting on the Council’s energy consumption in
2011/12 that will influence consumption comparisons in future years. Firstly, the
particularly mild winter, (especially compared to 2010/11), which resulted in lower
demand for gas for the Council’s heating systems. Secondly, there are a small
number of large buildings, such as First Street, that the Council currently occupies on
a short-term lease, and where energy use is included in service charges, and not
monitored by EMU. Therefore, when staff relocate to the newly refurbished Town Hall
Extension and Central Library in 2013/14, the corresponding increase in energy
consumption in those buildings will be captured in future emissions reports.
1.3 This plan primarily includes actions that impact on the City Council’s direct
carbon emissions. However it also includes some actions taken by the Council which
have an indirect influence on carbon emissions – by residents, businesses or visitors
– but which also reduce ‘embedded emissions’ which would be incorporated in the
Council’s total carbon footprint. This is currently not being measured, but exploratory
work has been undertaken which may lead to this being adopted in future years.