SEPA to miss its CO2 target

7th June 2011

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The Scottish body responsible for protecting the environment will not meet its own targets to cut carbon emissions, it has revealed.

In annual reports to its board, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) admits that it is not that it is not lowering its carbon dioxide emissions quick enough to reduce its carbon footprint by 25% against 2006/2007 levels by 2012.

During 2010/2011, SEPA cut its CO2 emissions by 6% to 2,945 tonnes and the agency estimates it will only be able to achieve a 15% cut by 2012. However, SEPA remains positive it will be able to hit its 25% target by March 2013.

SEPA’s greatest emissions come from electricity consumption, which has actually risen since 2006/2007 from 1,224 tonnes to 1,365 tonnes. The agency argues that this is a result of staff numbers increasing since the targets were set, but that it has now put a number of steps in place to decrease emissions.

In March, the agency installed monitoring software on its computers that revealed some staff were leaving their machines on overnight.

The chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland Stan Blackley reacted to the news saying that SEPA was behind the curve on tackling the issue.

"The environment movement has been urging the switching-off of computers, electrical appliances and lights when they're not required for as long as I can remember,” he said.

"This has been a key message of the Scottish government's own 'do a little, change a lot' campaign for years. It sounds to me like SEPA could be doing a whole lot more to spread that message to its own staff."

However, SEPA responded arguing the number of computers left on were actually far below the average.

"Typical figures show that 40%-50% of computers are left on overnight. In March there were only 400 instances of computers being left on overnight out of 1,700 machines, with 100 of those being identified as business critical that cannot be switched off,” confirmed a spokesman.

“We have been undertaking a sustained campaign to remind staff to switch off their computers at night, with the installation of the Nightwatchman programme a part of that. We were the first UK environment agency to install this software.”

The move follows other successful initiatives at SEPA that have seen it reduce its paper consumption by 20% and a 24% reduction in emissions from business travel.


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