29 November 2023

Aberdeenshire Council hits carbon budget target for 2022-23

Aberdeenshire Council beat its decarbonisation target for the 2022/23 financial year by more than a thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

An annual carbon budget is set each year to keep the council on track with its commitment to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030 and onto Net Zero by 2045.

A maximum of 47,383 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent was budgeted for the 2022/23 financial year and the council emitted 46,335 tonnes.

Aberdeenshire Council was the first local authority in Scotland to develop and approve a carbon budget, aligning itself with the ambitious targets set into law by the Scottish Government, which include emitting net-zero greenhouse gases by 2045.

Services and officers across the council fed into this year’s successful carbon budget, with projects ranging from constraints on business travel to continued resource swapping through the authority’s internal re-use portal for office supplies.

More externally, LED street lighting continues to be rolled out across the region with significant cost and emission savings and the move to warm-mix road resurfacing has brought in significant carbon savings with more to be realised in 2023/24.

In addition, the council has conducted a detailed analysis of its fleet using tracked vehicles to assess the future of hydrogen vehicle usage. This work also resulted in a more detailed assessment of the requirements for battery-electric vehicles.

The Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Sustainability Committee, Councillor Sarah Dickinson, said: “In terms of how we scrutinise climate change and sustainability-related work, our carbon budget is one of the main ways that we are setting targets and monitoring them.

“To reach net zero, there is an important role for each and every one of us, and I thank everybody who has contributed to the progress made over 2022/23 in meeting our targets.”

Vice-Chair Councillor Jim Gifford said: “Funding the long-term projects required to tackle the scale of what is in front of us—not just as a council but as a nation—will be increasingly difficult as we get closer to net zero. We cannot do this alone, and it is essential that we work together in the national context to fund and deliver these ambitious targets.”

Carbon reduction targets for the local authority are measured against the baseline year of 2010/11 and monitored alongside financial budgets to encourage ownership of emissions across the organisation.

Back in 2010/11, the council emitted 86,155 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, meaning the local authority has produced 46% less emissions this year than it did in its baseline year.

The carbon budget is measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), which shows the impact that various greenhouse gases have when compared to how much carbon dioxide would create the same level of global warming.

In addition to the efforts of meeting this year’s carbon budget, the council continues its work to identify new funding opportunities that will support the decarbonisation of the authority's emissions down to 21,539 tCO2e by 2030/31.