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Environment and Climate Change

Household Waste

Wakefield households recycled 38.9% of their household waste in 2015/16 (Defra). The average household also produced 601kg of residual waste. Since 2009/10, the trend in the District’s recycling rate has been fairly static (see graph below), as it has across England as a whole.

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

CO2 Emissions

Despite increases in the population and industry, estimated CO2 emissions in Wakefield have fallen 24% between 2005 and 2014, the same as the reduction across England as a whole. In 2014, industry accounted for around 39% of CO2 emissions, with the remainder accounted for by road transport (34%) and domestic uses (27%). The main change in this split has been in CO2 emissions from transport, which only represented 30% of all emissions in 2005. Expansion of renewable energy sources, more fuel efficient appliances, and falling demand for energy overall are part of the reason for the falls, as is a reduction in the use of coal in electricity production.

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). While the heating requirement in 2014 was 10% lower than in 2008, however, the amount of gas consumed fell by 24%. 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 rose 15%, but domestic gas prices rose 48%.

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