Agenda item


A report by the Climate Change and Environment Officer.



Boston Borough Council had agreed an ambitious target to reduce their carbon emissions to net zero by 2040, with a minimum reduction of 45% by 2027, in line with the Carbon Reduction Plan and the strategic aim of the Corporate Strategy.  This report and accompanying analysis sought to provide an annual update on our progress towards these targets.  Climate Change remains one of our greatest challenges, and local authorities have a crucial role to play in driving forward change and leading by example, to do what they can to effectively tackle this challenge and achieve a more sustainable future. As part of Boston Borough Council’s commitment to reducing their carbon emissions, its’ annual Carbon Footprint had been recorded to enable monitoring of emissions and guide the authority as it worked towards its’ net zero ambition.  


Key data was referenced which included:

Notification that in FY21/22, Boston Borough Council’s total emissions had decreased by 32% compared to the baseline year (FY2018/19), however they had increased compared to the previous year by 13%, going from 2,382 tCO2e in FY20/21 to 2,688.85 tCO2e in FY21/22.  

In the FY20/21 Carbon Footprint significant reductions had been made to emissions, largely as a result of impacts of the COVID pandemic such as reduced occupancy of buildings and agile working. Whilst the Council hoped to maintain these gains as far as possible, re-opening of leisure facilities and offices had resulted in an increase in electricity and in particular gas emissions this year.

In FY21/22, electricity emissions of 339.8 tCO2e had been recorded and represented a 25% increase from the previous year.  These increases arose primarily from the Geoff Moulder Leisure Centre (GMLC), Municipal Buildings and Crematorium.  Gas emissions of 698.1 tCO2e were recorded and represent an 87% increase from the previous year. This has largely been caused by emissions from GMLC.

Gains have been retained however, and the behavioural shift towards online meetings and working from home has led to a further 10.5% reduction in emissions from business travel which were recorded as 5.1 tCO2e, and a further 21% reduction in emissions from Commuter Travel which were recorded as 95.4 tCO2e. This is a positive indicator that a long-term change to working behaviours has been achieved and should continue to be encouraged and supported through communications and training opportunities.

Water emissions for FY21/22 had been recorded as 5.3 tCO2e which representeda 60% reduction. 


Committee comment followed which included:

Referencing the GMLP, discussion noted the project to redevelop the site and officers confirmed they were in negotiation with the project team to ensure a good understanding of what was needed.  Voicing concerns in respect of the problems with the Biomass a member questioned what was happening as when it had been installed, it had been done so on the understanding that it would reduce emissions with the Biomass itself being sourced from a local supplier to reduce the is travel footprint.  In response to a question about the maintenance contract officers advised they would feed the information back, but noted that at the point of installation when it had been thought to be sustainable, it had maybe not been as sustainable as had been expected. 

The Assistant Director – Regulatory (and Lead Officer for the committee) noted that had the Council not installed the Biomass and Solar Panels when it did, then the Councils’ carbon footprint would be significantly higher.  It had worked but with new and improved technologies since that time, then alternative options needed to be looked at.


Referencing the Solar Panels officers advised that they had be productive but a number were not operating as they should be, with issues around access to het the repairs carried out. 

The Portfolio Holder advised that current day solar panels produced twice the output of those initially installed and stated that any repairs or replacement / renewables needed to be undertaken at the time of the redevelopment and not retrospectively which would be extremely costly.


Commenting on the current footprint of the Municipal Buildings and the probable significant costs of upgrading it, a member questioned relocation to a more suitable building and disposing of the asset of the Municipal Buildings.  Officers advised that in terms of their work in identifying the investment needed and payback, upgrading the heating system at the Municipal Buildings would be significant and discussions on the viability of retaining the building would be needed.


Whilst congratulating the officers on the work to date a member stated that they would have hoped for more, being mindful that as 2040 came ever nearer I would be increasingly harder to make savings.


Committee noted the report.

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