Sepa on track to meet its 2020 targets

1st September 2016

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Max Alexander Meltzer

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) reduced its greenhouse-gas emissions by 13.6% in 20156, taking the regulator more than halfway to its target of cutting emissions by 42% by 2020.

Sepa said more efficient offices, optimising the use of its Angus Smith Building (ASB) near Glasgow, sustained drops in travel emissions, and a range of carbon reduction initiatives had contributed to the overall fall.

Electricity and gas use at ASB fell 15% and 17% respectively in 2015–16, saving 239 tonnes of emissions. Replacing most desktop and laptop computers with a virtual desktop system reduced energy demands by 86% and the regulator expects the introduction of flash storage in March to replace its conventional systems will lead to further reductions. The new equipment consumes 90% less power and the regulator expects it to reduce annual electricity demand in the building by more than 5%. The flash storage should reduce annual emissions by around 88%.

The latest progress report on how the regulator is tackling its environmental impacts also revealed travel emissions declined by 6.6% in 2015–16 compared with 2014–15, which was mainly due to an increase in the number of video conferences. Last year, Sepa employees were holding the equivalent of 18.5 hours of video conferencing a day, and 300 web conferences a month. Business car usage claims were down 12% on the previous year, while the number of kilometres travelled in low-emission electric vehicles totalled almost 6,200. Overall, staff travelled 2.41 million km less by car in 2015–16 than in 2009.

Sepa reduced its waste arisings by 18% in 2015-16 compared with 2014–15, with 67% recycled, saving 92 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions. However, 12.7% of waste still went to landfill.

Terry A’Hearn, chief executive at Sepa, said work to tackle the agency’s environmental footprint was essential and a powerful example to other organisations. ‘There is still much for us to do to meet the challenging targets we have set, but the past year’s performance is a strong result. It lays clear foundations for us to accelerate our efforts so that we can strongly deliver on our responsibilities to help Scotland to tackle climate change.’

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