2.Vision and targets

2.1 Our vision

Our vision has three strands. These are:

  • To lead the Wychavon district to be carbon neutral as quickly as possible and by 2050 at the latest.
  • To make the most of the opportunities that tackling climate change presents to further strengthen and grow our local economy.
  • To increase and improve a range of habitats across the district to support carbon capture and biodiversity.

 2.2 Our targets

Our vision is underpinned by five targets for the next ten years. These are presented below. Three of these are in line with the Worcestershire Energy Strategy.

Target 1: Reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions by at least 75% from 3,066 tCO2e in 2018/19 to 767 tCO2e in 2030

This target focuses on carbon emissions that are in our control. In 2018/19, our operations generated an estimated 3,066, tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent gases (CO2e), which is a 30% reduction compared with 2013/14.

More than half of those emissions were generated from our three leisure centres and the lido. Another 29% came from our waste and street cleaning contractor’s vehicles and 11% were generated from heating and powering the Civic Centre. The remainder were from our public toilets and other buildings, staff and councillor travel and the waste we produced at the Civic Centre.

Target 2: Halve district wide carbon emissions from 992 kt CO2 in 2005 to 496 kt CO2 in 2030

This target is about carbon emissions generated by households, businesses and travel across the Wychavon district.  According to the UK Climate Change Committee, we have the ability to influence around 40% of these emissions.

In 2005, the Wychavon district generated 992 kilo tonnes of carbon dioxide (kt CO2). These excluded emissions from heavy industry, agriculture and motorways, which are beyond our direct influence and control.

In 2017, the district generated 723 kt CO2, this amounts to 5.8 tonnes of CO2 per person. Industry and commerce accounted for 37% of these emissions, 36% were from transport and 27% were from homes. Industrial and domestic emissions have fallen steadily over the past decade.  However, since 2013 transport-related emissions have increased.

There has been a 27% reduction in carbon emission across the district between 2005 and 2017, which is the last year for which figures are currently available. Some of this will be down to decarbonisation of the National Grid. To reach our target, a further 226.65 kt CO2 would need to be removed or offset through schemes to reduce emissions and capture carbon.

Target 3: Double the size of Wychavon’s low carbon economy by 2030

Valued at over £1 billion in terms of sales and growing at some 4.9% a year, it has been estimated that more than 7,600 jobs and over 400 Worcestershire businesses are directly involved in the low carbon and environmental goods and services sector. These activities are spread across a range of industries including advanced manufacturing and agri-food growth sectors.

The low carbon sector is an important part of the current and future make-up of the district’s economy.  To help develop and grow the green economy we need a better understanding of the sector and where support is needed.  The Midlands Energy Hub is commissioning a study to identify and quantify the low carbon goods and services sector for each Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and local authority area.  This should provide us with a more definitive picture of Wychavon’s local carbon economy by the end of 2020.

Target 4: Treble renewable energy generation in the district from 108,119 MWh in 2016 to 324,357MWh in 2030

The district has substantial energy resources.  The amount of renewable energy generated in Wychavon has grown by 302% from 59,796 MWh in 2005 to 240,542 MWh in 2018. Energy from waste accounts for around 70% of the growth.

There has been significant growth in photovoltaics and energy generated from other sources such as hydropower and anaerobic digestion has also increased.

There is potential for further development of low carbon energy generation, including solar, wind and geothermal heat. To triple the amount of renewables generated since 2016 an additional 132,423 MWh of energy from renewables needs to be generated by 2030.

Target 5: Capture at least 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2025 through restoring, enhancing and creating a range of habitats across the district

This target recognises that the vital role the natural environment has to play in reducing our carbon footprint.  Retaining good quality habitats and creating new high carbon storage habitats, such as grassland, wetland and woodland, are crucial elements of this plan.   

Worcestershire County Council, together with partners including Wychavon, is working on a Nature Recovery Map that will identify the best places to create different types of habitat. It is also important to ensure they have the right management to maximise the benefits.

2.3 Are we being ambitious enough?

We believe this is an ambitious, yet deliverable plan.  It leaves scope for us to do more and move at a faster pace as technological, policy and financial developments allow.

We recognise there will be some people who would like our vision and targets to be even more ambitious.  However, we recognise that over half the district’s emissions and many of the changes needed to make the district carbon neutral much sooner than 2050 are outside of our control or influence.

We want to focus on delivering actions that will be most impactful and use our influence to support residents, businesses and partners to reduce their own carbon emissions.