On 20 February 2019, Durham County Council declared a climate emergency and pledged to:

  • immediately adopt a new target of 60% by 2030 making significant progress towards making the county and ourselves carbon neutral, taking into account both production and consumption emissions
  • investigate what further actions are necessary to make the county completely carbon neutral by 2050 and pledge to achieve this.

Meeting these two Climate Emergency Targets is the overarching aim of all of the Council’s work on carbon reduction within the authority and across the county.

Information about existing strategies

The County Durham Partnership launched a Climate Change Strategy in 2015. It can be found here. The aim of this strategy was to create a vision and a set of high level objectives for where we wanted County Durham to be by 2020. The publication of this strategy was only the beginning. The Sustainable Energy Action Plan and our Climate Change Delivery Plan then detailed how the vision was to be delivered.

Internally, Durham County Council’s carbon reduction efforts follow a five-year Carbon Management Plan. The current plan expires in March 2020 and will be followed by a new plan to run until 2025. This new plan will contain appropriate actions and targets to bring us closer to the Council’s Climate Emergency target of 60% reduction in emissions by 2030.

In response to the declaration of a Climate Emergency, a report (52MB) was published in July 2019 which outlined what can be done to reduce carbon emissions across the County and within the County Council. Following a consultation on this report, two action plans will be produced which will detail the actions needed over the next two years to bring us closer to the Climate Emergency Targets. These plans will be renewed every two years.

The following graphs and data show how far we’ve come as an authority and as a county in our efforts to reduce our contribution to the Global Climate Crisis.

County Durham CO2e Emissions

The following graph shows the annual carbon footprint of County Durham from the baseline year of 1990, including the most recent data sets up to 2017. These figures are provided by the Government’s department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, BEIS. The amounts given are in kilo-tonnes of carbon dioxide, ktCO2. The figures for 2017 show a 52% reduction from 1990 figures.

Durham County Council Emissions

The following graph shows the annual carbon footprint of Durham County Council from the baseline year of 2008/09 to the most recent year, 2018/19. These years run from April to March, in line with our financial year. The figures are calculated by the council’s Low Carbon Economy Team using actual invoice data, consumption records, and other information such as business mileage claims. The amounts are shown in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, tCO2e. In 2018/19, a reduction of 47% from 2008/09 levels was achieved.

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