Sepa toils over GHG target

7th February 2014

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Reporting ,
  • Management ,
  • Benchmarking ,
  • Corporate governance


Philip Bailey

New figures reveal that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) is struggling to achieve its 2020 target to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 42% against a 2006/07 baseline

Data in the regulator’s latest sustainability report show that, although overall GHG emissions in 2012/13 were 10.1% lower than in the baseline period, total carbon emissions increased by 2.4%. Sepa also reports that it failed to achieve its goal to reduce travel emissions in 2012/13, as they fell by 1.9%, less than half of its 5% target.

“We are still openly and honestly struggling with following our own GHG roadmap and keeping pace with our target of an overall reduction in our emissions of 42% by 2020,” admitted Sepa chief executive James Curran.

The agency says its internal GHG plan predicts that emissions will rise temporarily as it moves from old buildings into new ones. In one such move, a new integrated laboratory and office building in North Lanarkshire replaced two buildings in East Kilbride and a laboratory in Edinburgh.

“The overlap of buildings will likely cause a net rise of emissions for a couple of years particularly as temporary additional IT server space and cooling is factored in to ensure the continuity of records, day-to-day inspections and sampling workloads,” states the report.

“We recognise that achieving our sustainable goals will not be easy, particularly as we will have to accept increased emissions at times as we adopt new buildings and before we dispose of old buildings,” conceded Curran. Sepa expects its emissions to drop significantly from the end of 2015/16, as it completes the consolidation of its estate.

The Scottish regulator has been more successful in achieving its other environmental targets for 2012/13, covering waste, procurement and biodiversity. Successes include:

  • hitting the target to segregate metals, glass, plastics, paper and cardboard nine months earlier than the Scottish national target (end December 2013);
  • increasing the recycling rate from 69% in 2011/12 to 73% in 2012/13;
  • achieving a 5% increase in the number of sustainable goods and services procured in line with its sustainability criteria; and
  • meeting its interim target to review all biodiversity action plans at local offices.

Transform articles

UK not on track to deliver net zero, CCC warns

The UK's strategy for decarbonising the economy will not deliver net-zero emissions by 2050 if progress continues on its current trajectory, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has warned today.

29th June 2022

Read more

The UK Infrastructure Bank has today published a £22bn plan to tackle climate change and boost regional growth, making clean energy the largest area of investment.

23rd June 2022

Read more

Europe can achieve a clean, reliable and expanded power system by 2035 with a similar overall cost to current plans for a smaller and more polluting supply, new modelling has found.

22nd June 2022

Read more

Climate-related floods and droughts are set to impact millions more people and cost the world’s major cities $194bn (£158bn) every year by 2050, new forecasts suggest.

22nd June 2022

Read more

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has revealed that the vast majority of its members in the pensions and long-term savings industry are now part of the UN's Race to Net Zero campaign.

9th June 2022

Read more

Three-quarters of UK pension schemes have plans to align their investments with net-zero emissions, or will do within the next two years, a recent survey has found.

26th May 2022

Read more

Tom Pashby talks about why the new Natural History GCSE is such an important step forward for climate and biodiversity preservation

26th May 2022

Read more

Tom Pashby gauges IEMA members’ reactions to recent IPCC reports

26th May 2022

Read more

Financial constraints are the biggest challenge for seven out of 10 councils when looking to achieve net-zero emissions, a survey of decision-makers at 50 UK local authorities has uncovered.

20th May 2022

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert