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Do Local Authorties need to up their game when it comes to indirect emissions

Local authorities are falling behind the private sector when it comes to collecting data on indirect emissions, finds new data. 

The study, which was conducted by climate technology company Mobilityways, found that only 29% of the local authorities surveyed had started gathering data on ‘Scope 3’ emissions. 

Greenhouse gas emissions explained

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions fall under three categories. According to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, these include:

  • Scope 1: direct emissions controlled by the owner/organisation e.g. vehicles and heating sources. 
  • Scope 2: indirect emissions e.g. the generation of purchased or acquired energy.
  • Scope 3: emissions from purchased goods and services such as employee commuting, waste disposal, investment and distribution. 

Julie Furnell, managing director of Mobilityways, said: “Our research findings suggest that local authorities are behind other sectors.

“They don’t seem to be able to devote sufficient resources to gathering and making sense of emissions data and then setting achievable category-level emission reduction targets.’

Mobilityways also indicated that local authorities raised significant issues regarding the accuracy of the emissions data they collected. 

These concerns encompassed both the absence of uniform standards and excessive dependence on data provided by suppliers.

Nevertheless, the company noted that councils have shown advancements in decreasing emissions from their structures, partially attributed to Government grants.

Ms Furnell added that councils’ “hard focus on chasing central Government grants to improve the energy efficiency of their buildings has come at the expense of tapping other, more cost-effective, emission reduction opportunities.

“Encouraging staff behaviour change to reduce emissions is surely the next big opportunity to ensure local authorities stay on track to hit their 2030 or 2035 net zero targets,” she concluded. 

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