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The 2020 Package

The 2020 Package


by Dr Thomas Knowland

FMP Event at The Celtic Manor Resort

2016 will go down as a year of turmoil. Few of us a year ago would have anticipated we would be in 2017 with an unexpected occupant of the White House, and a Government now tasked (almost to the exclusion of all other aspects of policy) with getting the UK out of Europe.

The international Paris Agreement on climate change has come into force earlier than expected (4 November 2016) now that more than 55 countries have adopted it, representing more than 55% of global emissions. The UK Government has signalled its intention to adopt the agreement as well.

On a more sombre note, in September 2016 carbon concentrations in the global atmosphere passed the symbolic 400 ppm (parts per million) threshold at a time of the year when atmospheric carbon dioxide is usually at its minimum. This means that global efforts to address climate change will need to be all the more urgent in order to avoid 2'C of warming which is generally considered the safe threshold for global climate change. But even at this level we are likely to see climatic change which will be very serious for parts of the world.

In response to this global challenge and in order to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits locally, Leeds City Council adopted Cutting Carbon and Improving Air Quality as one of its priority Breakthrough Projects. The current carbon reduction targets (from the Leeds Climate Change Strategy: Making the change 2012 to 2015) are summarised below.


Baseline year

[approx. CO2 emissions]*


[approx. CO2 emissions]

Progress to date using latest data available

Internal (LCC’s operational buildings and services)


[137k tonnes]

40% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 [82k tonnes]

The council emitted 137k tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2008/09 and in 2014/15 this had reduced to 110k tonnes, a reduction of 20%.



[5m tonnes]

40% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 [2,993k tonnes]

80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 [998k tonnes]

Citywide emissions were 5.06m tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2005 and in 2014 this had reduced to 3.66m tonnes, a reduction of 27.7%.



In 2015, Leeds joined 50 other UK cities in signing a pledge that commits to eradicating carbon emissions (i.e. 100% reduction) and running the city on green energy by 2050. The current Climate Change Strategy for the city requires updating in the light of the progress made to date and to take account of these new targets.


The Council reduced its own emissions by 20% by 2014/15, against the 2008/9 baseline, which means the emissions have reduced in line with the 40% target. Key achievements include:


  • The council installed solar panels in 2012 on 7 major buildings. The scheme was then placed on hold due to the significant reduction in Feed in Tariffs (FITs) in 2012. This year it was determined that, despite the reduction in FITs, the cost of materials had decreased sufficiently to make solar panels a worthwhile investment again. An additional 627 kW peak have been installed across the corporate estate.
  • An additional 2,400 kW peak has been installed on 1,000 council houses. In total, these 3 solar schemes will save 1,200 tonnes of CO2 per year as well as saving tenants £130,000/ year on their fuel bills. However, the drastic cuts in FITS in 2016, mean that solar schemes will no longer be financially viable.
  • Work commenced in October 2013 to look at street light selective part night switching, subsequently a total of 3489 street lights have been modified resulting in a consumption saving of over 1,079,000 kWhs. LED Lanterns have also been installed, converting 345 lanterns on the Inner Loop Road. An annual saving of 304,000 kWhs is being achieved.
  • Salix funding has been utilised to finance a range of energy efficiency measures, such as installation of Building Energy Management Systems(BEMS), improved insulation, LED lighting schemes and boiler replacements across the authority’s estates. Salix Finance delivers 100% interest-free capital to public sector organisations to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Cumulatively Salix funded schemes are now delivering over 2,000 tonnes of CO2 savings per year as well as delivering revenue savings.
  • Salix funding has also been utilised to deliver energy efficient lighting schemes to schools on the same payback basis.
  • The replacement programme for LCC’s fleet has been reviewed with alternative fuel and low emission vehicles determined as the preferred option where available. Identification of all opportunities to introduce alternative fuel and low emission vehicles saw 7% of the authority’s fleet having been converted by the end of 2015/16.


The following are identified as the key deliverables to continue to work towards the 40% reduction by 2020 in carbon target within the Council’s estate and fleet:

  • Installation of a compressed natural gas station to support the conversion of the Council’s Refuse Collection vehicles and vans as well as other vehicles across the city, estimated to reduce carbon emissions of vehicles that convert by circa 30% as well as reducing the emissions that contribute to poor air quality by approximately 90%;
  • Installation of an electric vehicle charging network to support the Council’s vehicles;
  • Improved energy management of corporate buildings via the increased use of energy data and Building Energy Management Systems;
  • Continued investment in corporate buildings, utilising SALIX revolving funding;
  • The LCC corporate travel plan will be reviewed with the objective of changing travel practice across all Council Services to provide safe and sustainable commuting and business travel activity particularly sustainable travel choices for our employees utilising schemes such as the Cycle Superhighway.
  • The terms of the Street Lighting PFI determine that the supplier, SSE must deliver a reduction in consumption based on forecast use over the term of the contract (to 2031). This incentivises SSE to promote and introduce innovation aimed at reducing the overall street lighting energy consumption.
  • An evaluation of new to market ‘Budget’ LED lanterns will be undertaken with a view to introduce 3000 to the portfolio. An estimated consumption saving of 928,125kWhs per annum through these conversions has been made.
  • The fleet replacement programme will be reviewed annually to ensure that lower emission vehicles are considered for all vehicles due for replacement. By 2020/21 it is anticipated that 25% of the Council’s fleet will have been replaced by alternative fuel or low emission vehicles.


However, the next 20% reduction will be more difficult to achieve as many of the cheaper and easier measures have been completed and the items that are left are the more challenging items such as behaviour change and installation of district heating.


Dr Tom Knowland

Leeds City Council

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