Bedford records drop of nearly 30% in CO2 emissions since 2005

The council also says it’s aiming to secure innovative transport solutions to improve air quality
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Bedford Borough Council has recorded a drop in carbon dioxide emissions since 2005, new figures show.

The data comes as a new report heavily criticises the Government for a lack of action on climate change.

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Over 900 solar PV systems were installed in 2022 in Bedfordshire as a result of promoting the Solar Together scheme (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty)Over 900 solar PV systems were installed in 2022 in Bedfordshire as a result of promoting the Solar Together scheme (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty)
Over 900 solar PV systems were installed in 2022 in Bedfordshire as a result of promoting the Solar Together scheme (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty)
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Greenhouse gas emissions are normally measured in kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (ktCO2e).

New figures from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero show carbon dioxide emissions in Bedford have dropped 29.4% from a total of 1,012 ktCO2e in 2005 – when data is first available – to 715 ktCO2e in 2021.

This was the equivalent of 3.8 tonnes of CO2 emitted per person in 2021.

These figures cover emissions "within the scope of influence" of the local authority, meaning it excludes pollution from sources such as motorways and large industrial plants.

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A Bedford Borough Council spokesperson said: “This is really good news for residents and the environment.

"Bedford Borough Council is committed to reducing carbon emissions through its own operations as well as encouraging and supporting local residents and businesses to do the same.

"As a council we aim to put the environment at the heart of our actions and decisions in order to deliver on our commitment to address climate change. We want to improve our overall environmental impact by promoting sustainability and reducing waste. Schemes such as Solar Together, Sustainable Warmth and the Mayor’s Climate Change Fund all offer necessary advice, guidance and, in some cases, funding that allows residents and community groups to explore how they can lower their energy bills whilst also saving on carbon emissions.

“Over 900 solar PV systems were installed in 2022 in Bedfordshire as a result of promoting the Solar Together scheme, If every house installed a 6kW system, they could save nearly 1 tonne CO2 and over £1000 a year.

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“Community groups across Bedford have made successful applications to the Mayor’s Climate Change Fund which provides 50% match funding for energy-saving measures. Local churches and religious buildings, community halls, schools and charities have all benefited from the fund. Up to March 2023, there were 13 successful applications ranging from replacing inefficient lighting, solar panels, replacement heating systems, insulation and replacing windows. Over 60 tonnes CO2 were saved and many community groups have benefitted from lower energy bills.

“Further to these schemes, Bedford Borough Council will strive to secure innovative transport network solutions to improve air quality, health, well-being and safety, along with encouraging sustainable growth by promoting well-designed homes and introducing higher, more energy-efficient standards for all new developments. Our green spaces are also part of our overall commitment to lowering carbon emissions in Bedford borough, we will continue to enhance and protect our green spaces and high-quality environment through well-developed maintenance regimes, responsive front-line services, and effective enforcement.”

The Government has committed to slashing emissions by 68% by 2030, when compared to a 1990 baseline.

Local authority emissions across the UK have dropped 39% since 2005, including a significant fall in 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, they saw an 8% increase between 2020 and 2021 as the UK came out of lockdown and economic activity resumed.

In Bedford, this meant a rise of 10.3% from 648 ktCO2e in 2020.