We measure the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of all the work we do, including emissions from:
- our buildings
- our travel
- our operational work, such as pumping flood water and maintaining river levels.
Since 2006/07 we have reduced our CO2 emissions by 10,058 tonnes - around 15 per cent . Our carbon emissions last year actually increased by 600 tonnes compared to the year before. This increase is wholly accounted for by drought related pumping. Emissions generated by other activities were down 9 per cent on the previous year which is a magnificent 24 per cent less than the baseline year (2006/7).
How have we made our reductions?
- By driving fewer miles.
- We have employed renewable technology at some of our sites so we can both generate our own energy and use less energy overall. For example, we have installed photovoltaic cells, solar hot water heating, biomass boilers and micro hydro turbines.
- Our innovative Carbon Reduction Fund takes our staff’s good suggestions to reduce emissions and turns them into reality where feasible.
- We continue to deliver improved performance through our facilities maintenance and improvement, national accommodation and desktop transformation programmes.
- We have achieved much through our Regional Carbon Reduction plans and we need to maintain momentum with these as well as embrace new innovations in pumping.
Successes in 2011/12
- Large scale photovoltaics (PV) have been installed at five sites in the Midlands and at the Thames Barrier, saving an estimated 88 tonnes of CO2 per year, bringing savings in electricity costs of £18.5K per year and generating Feed In Tariff income. We now have major PV installations at 22 sites with 7 further installations planned during 2012/13.
- 26 Carbon Reduction Fund (CRF) projects were successfully completed. Savings from these projects are nearly £40k per annum (a combination of energy costs, mileage and hardware savings) and over 180 tonnes of CO2 per year.
- We ranked 275th in the CRC league table (within the top 15 per cent of companies in the scheme). We forecast that we would be in the top third and so exceeded our expectations.
- Our national project on large scale wind turbines continues on track. Our partner, Partnership for Renewables (PfR), submitted its first planning application in March for 4 – 5 turbines on land near the Louth Canal in Lincolnshire.
Improvements we have made over the past year have helped offset the weather related increases in operational emissions. As we continue to track towards our 2015 target we will need to push in all areas to continue to manage the risk that extreme weather events can have on our performance.
Our biggest challenge remains to reduce the emissions from our essential operational work, such as when we need to pump flood water. We’ve assessed all of our pumping operations and come up with some innovative ways to reduce the emissions from them. Earlier this year we also launched an innovation competition to deliver low / zero carbon pumping solutions to complement this work on and four finalists’ prototypes are currently in the process of being trialled in the field.