Recovery JSNA: Environment
Globally the planet is one degree warmer than before the industrial revolution and this is already causing significant climate impacts. Efforts are now being made to reduce the effects and impacts of climate change.
UK Climate project (UKCP) from the Met office suggest that without any action there will be a 4°C rise in global mean surface temperature by 2070. Due to this, not only will we have to also reduce the impact on the climate but adapt the climate change. To achieve this the council has declared a climate emergency and have committed to becoming carbon neutral/net zero carbon by 2030.
Carbon neutral/net zero carbon means the amount of carbon dioxide emitted needs to balance with the amount captured. Nature can only absorb a limited amount of CO2 from the atmosphere thus efforts are being made to reduce the CO2 levels
During the pandemic the government has made a range of climate-related announcements although some expected national strategies have been delayed. The European Environmental Agency briefing discussed the key findings of the impact of the pandemic on the environment:
- -The COVID-19 pandemic further highlights the interrelations between our natural and societal systems: societal resilience depends on a resilient environmental support system.
- -Biodiversity loss and intensive food systems make zoonotic diseases more likely.
- -Often related to social inequalities, environmental factors such as air quality appear to influence COVID-19 outcomes.
- -Increased reliance on single-use plastics and low oil prices resulting from lockdowns have negative consequences.
- -Lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic may have some direct, short-term, positive impacts on our environment, especially in terms of emissions and air quality, although these are likely to be temporary
For more information visit: COVID-19 measures have mixed impacts on the environment
A paper by Rume & Islam (2020) presented a useful graphic on the likely impacts of the pandemic, adapted below:
Priorities for Wiltshire
There are many natural places in Wiltshire and its what makes Wiltshire an attractive place. Nature enhances our quality of life, improves physical and mental health, and underpins our economy. Yet Wiltshire’s natural environment, is undergoing substantial changes due to population growth, development and climate change.
More information about Wiltshire environment can be found on www.wiltshireintelligence.org.uk
A survey of more than 6000 residents was carried in autumn 2019 and showed that environmental priorities featured high for their area as did antisocial behaviour and highway maintenance (2020).
Source: Wiltshire Community Area Joint Strategic Assessment 2020
Wiltshire Emissions (2019)
From 2006 to 2019 Wiltshire's total emission has dropped from 4,460.4 (kt CO2) to 2,586.9 (kt CO2). Though Wiltshire Council still has a long way to go becoming carbon neutral, this is still a huge achievement.
Wiltshire total emissions
Wiltshire's Emissions Per Capita
The emissions per person per year of Wiltshire compared to the South West and nationally. Since 2009 Wiltshire emissions have been similar to national emissions.
Wiltshire Emmisions by Source
In 2019, Wiltshire’s total carbon emissions was totalled to 2,731 ktCO2.
Transport taking up the largest share at 45% followed by Industry, commercial & agriculture at 29% and homes at 26%.
Wiltshire's renewable energy has been increasing yearly. From 2014 to 2019, Wiltshire's renewable energy has increased from 224,990(MWh) to 679,827(MWh).
In 2019, Wiltshire’s renewable electricity generation accounted for 680 GWh, supplying just under one third of the county’s electricity demand (2172 GWh). This is equivalent to approximately 6% of our total energy demand.
According to the government’s Department for Transport (DfT), in 2016 transport became the largest emitting sector of greenhouse gases in the UK.
The Department of Transport analysis show that road traffic is the biggest source of emissions within domestic UK transport, providing 91% of the total. Almost 4 billion miles were driven on Wiltshire roads in 2019, contributing to this national figure.
Wiltshire is a rural county, so car use is even more prevalent for most residents. 87% of personal trips in rural areas are made by car or van; 78% in urban areas (DfT). Therefore, plans are being made to replace non-electric vehicles with electric or other zero emissions vehicles instead. As well as giving residents opportunities to be able to choose their modes of travel such as, cycling, walking, shared and public transport. As these are convenient, affordable, green and inclusive.
To ensure that homes are energy efficient, new development plans are being built to net zero carbon standards as well as retrofit existing buildings to become energy efficienct and use low carbon sources for energy.
From 2019 to 2020 the Energy Performance certificates (EPC) have reduced in Wiltshire. Yet there is still a long way to to improve Energy performance.
There are different types of retrofit technologies that will help become energy efficient, such as using air source heat pump to ensure a well-established insulation, Energiesprong and hydrogen boilers.
National policy and funding will have an important role in driving change. National policy needs to avoid being a barrier to the implementation of higher local standards, such as for example current limits on the measures that can be put forward via planning policy. Significant funding will need to be allocated for retrofitting schemes, building on the Green Homes Grant and Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.
The graph shows Wiltshire’s carbon reduction pathway. The baseline is measured against 2005.
- The blue line shows that significant reductions have been achieved since 2005, in line with the national trend.
- The Tyndall centre trajectory in green relates to reductions based on a science-based target and carbon budget - with the aim to limit global temperature increase to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.