Environment and Climate Change

 

Source: CO2 emmissions.
(Defra; LG Inform API).

Despite increases in the population and industry, estimated CO2 emissions in Wakefield District have fallen 28% since 2005. In 2019, transport accounted for 39% of CO2 emissions, with the remainder accounted for by domestic uses (25%), industry (24%), commercial (9%) and public sector (4%). Local reductions haven't kept pace with the national trend in the past few years, principally because emissions from industrial and commercial activities have been slower to fall. In particular, industrial, commercial and public sector emissions from gas have risen locally while they've fallen regionally and nationally.

Falling demand for energy overall is one reason for the overalls falls in CO2 emissions, as is the continuing reduction in the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation. Short-term variations in domestic emissions can also be observed in years with unusually mild or unusually cold winters.

Household Waste

 

Source: Local authority collected waste.
(Defra; LG Inform API).

Wakefield households recycled 49.3% of their household waste in 2019/20 (Defra), maintaining the improvements first seen in the 2016/17 statistics. The average household also produced 491kg of residual waste, lower than the regional average (508kg). The recent improvements mean that in 2019/20, only 14% of waste collected by the Council went to landfill, while 38% of the waste was incinerated at the Ferrybridge Multifuel plants to generate electricity - up from 0% six years previously.

Domestic Energy Consumption

Annual domestic energy consumption (corrected for climate trends) is continuing to fall, and Wakefield district has the lowest levels of domestic gas and electricity consumption, per consumer, in West Yorkshire.

Domestic gas usage (and the CO2 emissions associated with this) increases during years with colder winters (as reflected in the number of degree days of heating required), as heating systems work harder to keep homes at a comfortable temperature (see graph below). However, while the heating requirement in 2019 was 21% higher than in 2008, the amount of CO2 produced from domestic gas consumption was 13% lower than in 2008. Improvements in property insulation and heating systems will be making a contribution to this trend, but gas price increases may also be affecting how much heating people can afford. Over this period, gross disposable household income per head has risen by around 25%, while domestic gas prices have risen by 36%.

 

Source: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; and Stark.

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