Our vision for a Carbon Neutral City by 2030

One Planet Cardiff – a strategic response to the climate emergency.

Climate Change is already shaping our lives. We are living in a climate emergency with stark warnings and evidence globally that urgent action is needed if we are to avert the dangers ahead. Our One Planet Cardiff Strategy (6mb PDF) proposes a wide range of ambitious actions that will begin to form the basis of a delivery plan to achieve Carbon Neutrality. It aims to do this in a way that supports new green economies and greater social wellbeing in the city.

Read our press release on the strategy.

Read our Action plan (9mb PDF) .

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One Planet globe

Cardiff Council has a target to be Carbon Neutral by 2030. Work has started with city-wide partners to develop a road map and action plan for a Carbon Neutral City by 2030

If we do nothing
If we act now

Where we are now – A Carbon Analysis

If we want Cardiff to become carbon neutral, then one of the things we need to know is how much green house gases we as the Council are responsible for and how much the city of Cardiff as a whole produces.

We’ve chosen 2019/20 as our baseline year for both so that we can avoid the statistical anomalies as a result of the pandemic and lockdowns in 2020/21.

map showing 1,626,059 tonnes C02We have used data published by the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to present the carbon emission for the whole city.

In 2019 it was estimated that the City’s (Net) Total Green House Gas Emissions stood at 1,626,059 tonnes CO2 e within its boundaries (Scope 1 – Direct and Scope 2 – Indirect only).

This is how those emissions break down:

Emissions from transportation and domestic properties were by far the biggest contributors to the emissions in the city and as such these are key areas of focus in our One Planet Cardiff Strategy.

*Sourced from BEIS (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) figures.

Using the Welsh Government’s Carbon Reporting Framework as a guide we have now developed a very detailed baseline measurement and understanding of the Council’s Green House Gas Emissions.

The Council currently produces 184,904 tonnes of CO₂e annually through its operations, and it has been estimated that the vast majority of these are “Caused” or Scope 3 emissions. These are a result of our purchasing and staff commute activities.

This is how it breaks down:

  • Scope 1 (Direct – Heating, vehicle fuel, etc)
  • Scope 2 (Indirect – electricity generated elsewhere)
  • Scope 3 (Caused – procurement, staff commute, etc)

What are we doing – Our projects

As a council we will:

  • Reduce the energy we use and increase energy efficiency in all our buildings.
  • Increase renewable energy supply.
  • Shift to more sustainable and more active modes of transport.
  • Understand and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from purchased goods and services.
  • Make smarter choices to waste less and recycle more.
  • Increase the opportunity to absorb emissions with our green infrastructure.
  • Increase resilience to climate change impacts across the city by improving infrastructure to cope with extreme heat and rainfall.
  • Prioritise actions to get the best return for our investments both environmentally, economically and socially.
  • Grow more of our own food and promote healthy eating.

We are working with other public sector partners and city stakeholders to encourage them to make the same moves.

All the projects we’ve got agreed and in the pipeline will remove 360,250 tonnes of CO₂e. That’s 22% of citywide emissions gone.

Our wider projects cover the key themes of Transport, Energy, Waste Management, the Built Environment and Housing Quality, Food, Green Infrastructure, and Water.

For example:

  • Establishing a 9MW solar farm.
  • Retrofitting Council-owned buildings with energy efficiency measures.
  • Switching our fleet of vehicles to electric and other alternative low emission fuels such as hydrogen.
  • Establish a Climate Emergency Board with our public sector partners to identify and implement mutually beneficial projects in partnership.
  • Engaging the experts at the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation to develop a public engagement and behaviour change programme.
  • Allocating capital funding to accelerate a number of new projects ranging from an EV charging pilot scheme, heat source pumps at Rhiwbina Library, to carbon reduction and heat recovery at Thornhill Crematorium.
  • Construction of phase one of our low carbon district heat network in Cardiff Bay starts January 2022. Buildings that connect will no longer need to use fossil fuel for heating and hot water – reducing their gas linked emissions by 80%.
District heat network
22% emissions removal

We are also aiming:

  • that by 2024, all forthcoming Council new build buildings to achieve near zero carbon performance levels.
  • to directly generate another 20MW of our own renewable energy, to power our buildings and recharge our growing EV fleet.
  • to make the necessary changes to our transport system to encourage the use of active travel and public transport.

And if we do them right, these projects offer the opportunity to build new sustainable jobs and economic sectors, secure greater economic wellbeing and equity and steer us to a cleaner, greener future.

What changes can you make?

  • Get a SMART meter to help you understand and manage your energy consumption and costs.
  • Check your loft insulation, doors and windows to prevent heat loss and reduce and manage your carbon footprint. If you live in rented accommodation check that your landlord is aware of the rules about energy efficiency and encourage them to look into opportunities for Improvement
  • Switch to a green energy tariff. This involves choosing a supplier and tariff that only sources energy from renewable generators such as wind, solar or Anaerobic Digestion. This could reduce emissions by 79%, saving 1.25 tonnes of carbon each year for the average home.
  • Consider having solar PV panels or solar hot water at your home.
  • Insulate your home to reduce heat loss and drafts. By saving energy through better insulation, smarter heating or appliances, the average household could reduce its carbon emissions by 0.6%.
  • Consider how much energy you are using. Could you use less or switch certain appliances off to save carbon and money? Turning down your heating 1 Degree Celsius can save 3% off your energy bills.
  • If you are in receipt of means tested benefit or have a health condition that is made worse by a cold home and live in an inefficient private property you may be entitled to NEST support to install energy efficiency measures
  • Volunteer with our Park Ranger Team or join a local park Friends Group who have a shared interest in biodiversity issues.
  • Make more sustainable use of your garden by planting trees or bushes or growing fruit and vegetables as an alternative to paving, artificial grass or decking.
  • When possible, walk or ride your bike in order to avoid carbon emissions completely.
  • Consider switching to an electric or hybrid vehicle if you are replacing your car as this could save 2 tonnes of carbon per year. If this isn’t affordable, choose a more efficient diesel or petrol vehicles, as this could save 0.9 tonnes of CO2 each year.
  • Think about how your travel patterns changed and how you shopped locally during the lockdown, and see if you can continue these habits going forwards.
  • Pass any unwanted larger items that you want to throw away to someone in need or an organisation that accepts them. These items can be reused and redistributed to someone else in need.
  • When drying clothes, if the weather permits, dry your clothes using a clothes line or airer rather than a tumble dryer.
  • Use a reusable water bottle when you are at home and on the move. Plastic production leads to a lot of carbon emissions so you’ll be lowering both your water and carbon footprint.
  • Don’t put hot items in either the fridge or` the freezer. If you let your leftovers cool before putting them in the fridge, less energy is required from your fridge to keep them cold. Your fridge is one of the biggest consumers of energy in your home so any added efficiency helps.
  • Clean out your fridge more often. You can reduce the energy your fridge uses by cleaning out any food you are not going to eat. When food sits in the fridge, it takes up space and energy. Clean out your fridge weekly but don’t leave it too empty, otherwise it won’t maintain its cold temperature.
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle as much of your waste as possible. This includes recycling any old clothes rather than throwing them away. By reducing the amount of waste you produce and recycling more, emissions from an average home could fall by 0.25 tonnes each year.
  • If you have space in your garden, consider home composting uncooked food, such as vegetable or fruit peelings rather than using the Council composting services. All leftover cooked food has to be put in the food waste caddy for collection though.
  • Join a Love Where You Live volunteer group to help the community you live in.
  • Eat locally produced seasonal fresh food. This reduces the carbon emissions of processing, storage and transportation.
  • Cook smart as much as possible. The most environmentally friendly way of cooking is using a stove-top or a microwave.
  • If you have space in your garden, grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs at your property.
  • Try going vegan or vegetarian for one day a week, reducing meat and dairy intake reduces carbon emissions.
Capital Ambition | Uchelgais Prifddinas
One Planet Cardiff
Cardiff Council | Cyngor Caerdydd

It often takes a massive high-impact event to change attitudes to the climate – so let’s hope what’s been happening recently with extreme weather will raise the will to tackle the problem

Liz Bentley, head of the Royal Meteorological Society July 2021