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City of York Carbon Reduction Analysis

Carbon Descent has been commissioned to develop a comprehensive carbon emissions baseline, data hub and various carbon modelling works for the City of York.

This work is intended to inform and add supporting information to York’s Climate Change Framework Action Plan (CCFAP). The CCFAP is the overarching document that will enable York, over time, to accelerate actions to reduce carbon emissions across the city.

It demonstrates the actions already on-going across the city and highlights the key areas the city needs to begin to drive forward in order to eventually reach an 80% reduction in CO? emissions by 2050. The Framework is to be used by organisations across the city to focus and drive coordinated action to tackle climate change.

In addition to national policies, the existing regional and local authority specific planning policies have an impact on the carbon emissions of the district’s domestic, commercial & industrial and transport sectors. Planned growth in the number of dwellings in the region coupled with more stringent building regulations has a significant effect on the emissions of the domestic sector. In the commercial & industrial sector, growth must be considered against improvements in Building Regulations for the non domestic sector to determine the impact on carbon emissions. Transport has been taken as the anticipated growth in car trips without the influence of new policies.

By carrying out the above analysis and producing a Low Carbon Transition Plan translation scenario Carbon Descent have determined the likely local impact of the Low Carbon Transition Plan on York, in addition various scenarios have been developed which identifies possible permutations of meeting York’s Carbon reduction commitments, namely Friends of the Earth, Covenant of Mayors, and CCFAP. 


  • To reduce York’s carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions in line with government targets
  • To coordinate carbon and other greenhouse gas emission reduction initiatives across York
  • To coordinate actions to better prepare York for future climate change
  • To raise awareness and understanding of climate change throughout the Without Walls Partnership, City of York Council, and within communities and businesses across York
  • Contribute to the city’s Sustainable Community Strategy and the creation of a sustainable, environmentally friendly city

The aforementioned policies/ action plans are briefly defined in the following lines:

The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan plots how the UK will meet the 34 percent cut in emissions on 1990 levels by 2020 – UK emissions of the basket of six greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol were 22.0 per cent lower in 2008 than in the base year, down from 779.9 to 608.4 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent. The Plan shows how reductions in the power sector and heavy industry; transport; homes and communities; workplaces and jobs; and farming, land and waste sectors could enable carbon budgets to 2022 to be met. A Carbon Budget for local authorities is a budget limiting the carbon their area can emit.

The Friends of the Earth ‘Get serious’ policy campaign is calling for local authorities to commit to cutting their emissions by at least 40 % by 2020 (on a 2005 baseline year) and to produce an action plan showing how they will make these cuts.

Covenant of Mayors (CoM) is a commitment by signatory towns and cities to go beyond the objectives of EU energy policy in terms of reduction in CO? emissions through their own Sustainable Energy Action Plan regarding enhanced energy efficiency and cleaner energy production and use. 2173 European local authorities participate in the CoM obligation; their reduction targets range from 23 % by 2020 (Genova) to 65 % by 2020 (Växjö). The aforementioned targets are on a 1990 baseline year.

Climate Change Framework Action Plan. The framework and action plans will help everyone in York to live and work in a more sustainable, low-carbon city where people live and work in energy-efficient buildings with smaller fuel bills, drive less and walk and cycle more, use renewable sources of energy to heat buildings or power cars and buses and create less waste. The framework will focus on ten key areas, including sustainable homes and buildings, sustainable energy, sustainable waste management, sustainable transport and creating a sustainable low carbon economy.

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