Mon, 25 Feb 2019
WEST Berkshire’s population has the highest carbon footprint in the county.
This is despite the district reducing carbon emissions per capita by a third over the past decade.
Latest estimates from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show the district emitted 8.9 tonnes of CO2 per capita in 2006.
In 2016, that number was down to six tonnes per capita – resulting in a reduction of 33 per cent.
But for an area where three quarters of its district is classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), West Berkshire tops the list for carbon emissions per capita among the six local authorities in Berkshire. It was also found to have the fifth highest CO2 emissions rate per capita in the South East.
The information, released last year, collated CO2 emission estimations from local authorities across the UK over an 11-year period up to 2016.
Within Berkshire, Reading saw the biggest reduction in CO2 emissions per capita and it is estimated to have the lowest carbon emission rate at 3.4 tonnes per capita.
Transport emissions are thought to be the biggest carbon contributor throughout West Berkshire, with an increase in this area every year since 2011, jumping from 342.8 tonnes that year to 349 tonnes in 2016.
This was followed by carbon dioxide released from industry and commercial activities (336.2 tonnes) in 2016, with emissions from domestic activities contributing the lowest (273.3 tonnes).
According to the West Berkshire Vision 2036 – the document which sets out the council’s ambitions for the district for the future – around 4.4 per cent of West Berkshire’s population is exposed to road, rail or air transport pollution during the day, while a further 8.8 per cent are exposed at night.
West Berkshire Council welcomed the 33 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions, adding that it supports a “variety of policies” which can help further decrease the emissions of carbon.
But the local authority also conceded it has “no emissions reductions targets for the area”.
More on this article appears in the Newbury Weekly News.