Climate change and energy – guidance

Sharing information on greenhouse gas emissions from local authority own estate and operations (previously NI 185)

How local authorities' information on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is shared with DECC.

Overview

This guide gives the background to changes to the information sharing process on greenhouse gas emissions for local authorities. It also provides specific guidance on how to submit and interpret this data.

Revisions to information sharing and the Local Government Association MOU

On 31 January 2011, the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) requested views from local authorities on a way forward on sharing information on greenhouse gas emissions from local authority own estate and operations.

In response to the comments received, DECC revised the previous request (made under National Indicator (NI) 185)) to take into account a number of issues, such as:

  • ensuring the data collection and publication is in line with international reporting standards
  • reducing the burden of data collection on local authorities partly through aligning the data with the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
  • aiming to embed accountability for local authorities’ own carbon emissions at local authority level

DECC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Local Government Association (LGA, formerly the Local Government Group) on 9 March 2011 to recognise the pivotal role local authorities have in reducing emissions at the local level. The first milestone in the Annex to the MOU was to develop and agree an approach for sharing information on greenhouse gas emissions from councils’ own estate and operations.

DECC and the LGA agreed and signed an updated MOU in July 2013 that recognises councils have a unique insight and reach into communities and can ensure carbon reduction policies and programmes benefit communities and protect the most vulnerable.

Memorandum of Understanding between the Local Government Association and the Department of Energy and Climate Change

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Request to publish annual emissions report

To confirm the process for sharing information on GHG emissions, Minister for Climate Change Gregory Barker wrote to chief executives of local councils in England on 13 April 2011:

Letter from Greg Barker to chief executives of councils in England, on sharing information on greenhouse gas emissions from local authority own estate and operations

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The letter from Gregory Barker requested that each local authority publish its GHG emissions report by the end of July 2011 for 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 data and annually thereafter. This is to support the localism agenda by ensuring local authorities are accountable to their local people for their greenhouse gas emissions.

Data for 2011/2012

Gregory Barker subsequently wrote to chief executives of local authorities in England on 28 March 2012 advising that DECC had produced a spreadsheet summary of the GHG emissions published by local authorities for 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 (where provided) and requesting that local authorities measure and report emissions data for the 2011/12 financial year by the end of July 2012.

Letter from Greg Barker to Chief Executives of Local Authorities in England: 28 March 2012

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Data for 2012/2013

Gregory Barker wrote to chief executives of local authorities in England on 6 June 2013 requesting that authorities measure and report emissions data for the 2012-13 financial year by the end of July 2013.

Letter from Greg Barker to Chief Executives of Local Authorities in England: 6 June 2013

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2013/2014 data: new request

Gregory Barker wrote to Chief Executives of authorities in England on 14 April 2014 requesting that authorities measure and report emissions data for the 2013-14 financial year by the end of July 2014.

Letter from Greg Barker to Chief Executives of local authorities in England: 14 April 2014

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When preparing their emission reports local authorities should follow the guidance for businesses and organisations, which was published by DECC and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in June 2013.

Each local authority should publish its own GHG report locally on its own website, and as a minimum totals in CO2e for Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions (if provided), as defined by the joint Defra/DECC guidance above, should be clear. DECC has produced some FAQs to help answer queries on the process.

Sharing information on greenhouse gas emissions from council own estate and operations: Frequently asked questions

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Summary of local authorities’ GHG emissions data for 2011/2012 and 2012/2013

DECC has collated the total figures for those local authorities that have provided details of their published GHG emissions data for the 2011/12 and 2012/13 financial years. These have been added to the data for previous years 2008-09 to 2010-11, which have been revised where local authorities are showing updated figures in the newer reports. The figures for each authority are summarised by total for Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 (if provided) as defined by the joint Defra/DECC Guidance on how to measure and report your greenhouse gas emissions. On 14 April 2014 DECC published this summary (available below). This replaces and updates the previous summary spreadsheet published on 28th March 2012 for the 2009/10 and 2010/11 financial years.

The summary document also contains information local authorities were asked to report (where provided) namely:

  • a website link to the GHG report that contains totals for Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions in CO2e on the local authority’s own website
  • a short description detailing what is within the scope of the report and any specific exclusions (where provided)

Important note before using the spreadsheet

Users should exercise caution and avoid making direct comparisons between local authorities as the coverage and basis of the reports varies. Before using the spreadsheet, users are therefore strongly recommended to read the user guide included within the Excel file.

Local authority own emissions reporting: emissions reported in tonnes of CO2e

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Contacting DECC

We welcome any comments you might have on the spreadsheet. Please contact us at: local.carbon@decc.gsi.gov.uk

Clarification over definition of ‘local authority’

To clarify what is meant by ‘local authority’, this applies to England only and DECC considers county councils, district councils (in two-tier areas), metropolitan districts, unitary authorities, London boroughs, the City of London and the Isles of Scilly to be captured.

DECC would recommend to organisations in other local authority categories (i.e. National Park authorities, police authorities etc) that this guidance is good practice but DECC does not intend to collate such data centrally.