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An analysis isn’t available for local authority areas in Scotland, but please do check out the fantastic work Friends of the Earth Scotland is doing at foe.scot
Friends of the Earth has analysed data on how different local authority areas across England and Wales are performing on the actions needed to address the climate emergency. Unfortunately, there is much less data collected by local authority areas in Northern Ireland so here we provide statistics for the country as a whole. We identify how well Northern Ireland performs on a range of climate change actions and what we think it should be aiming for.
Northern Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions are 4.4% of the UK total but with only 2.9% of the UK populations. Emissions have only fallen by 16% since 1990 compared to 41% across the UK as a whole1. In other words, Northern Ireland is dragging its feet in the battle against climate change, despite an impressive recent growth in the renewable energy production.
There are different estimates of how fast the UK as a whole should reduce greenhouse gas emissions if it is to do its fair share in combatting climate change, with estimates ranging from around 7% per year to over 25% per year2. Researchers at the Tyndall Centre in Manchester University say that local authorities in Northern Ireland should on average reduce emissions by 13% per year3.
Only 49% of homes across Northern Ireland are well insulated (EPC C or above)4, although this is a higher proportion than in England (approx. 30%). This represents a shocking waste of energy, high greenhouse gases and unnecessarily high energy bills. 22% of households in the area are in fuel poverty, which means they can’t afford to heat their homes properly5. Poor insulation contributes to this problem. 38,715 homes need upgrading every year to ensure all homes are properly insulated by 2030 and to bring as many people as possible out of fuel poverty.
Oil remains the predominant fuel source for homes in Northern Ireland (68%)6. This is both a very expensive and very polluting form of energy. Fossil-fuel heating such as gas and oil need to be converted to low carbon eco-heating as soon as possible. The UK needs to fit around 1 million electrically powered heat-pumps per year7. A fair share of this number for Northern Ireland based on the number of households is 29,000 heat pumps per year, although given the number of homes heated by oil the target should be much higher (e.g. 50,000 per year). The fitting of heat pumps should be prioritised above fitting existing or new homes with a gas supply.
Research suggests that to deliver the greenhouse gas reductions needed will require car use to be reduced by anywhere between 20% and 60%, depending on factors such as the speed of the switch to electric vehicles8. Across the UK this means doubling the proportion of journeys by public transport, cycling and by foot9.
In 2018, just under one quarter (24%) of all journeys were taken by public transport, walking, or cycling in Northern Ireland10. This is similar to Wales but compares poorly compared to the 39% of journeys in England.
Friends of the Earth suggests a range of targets for Northern Ireland local authority areas, ranging from 40% of journeys by public transport, cycling or walking in countryside areas to 70% in Belfast11.
Where cars are used, they should be shared when possible and electric.
According to research published in April, Northern Ireland has 268 electric vehicle charging points (EV chargers)12. The Government advisors, the Committee on Climate Change, says there should be 1 EV charger for every thousand cars by 203013. This means that in Northern Ireland there should be at least 1,200 EV chargers by 2030 but in reality we need a much faster transition to electric cars which means many more EV chargers than this.
The proportion of electricity produced by renewable energy in Northern Ireland has increased significantly over recent years as the cost of solar panels and wind farms have plummeted. Northern Ireland now produces 40% of its electricity from renewable sources14. But around 8 times more renewable energy is needed to wean Northern Ireland off climate-wrecking oil and gas, including in transport and heating, by 2045 or earlier15.
Currently Northern Ireland has approximately 1.7 GW of renewable energy16. It will clearly need to expand this significantly, by around 0.7 GW per year. To give an indication of what this means in practice, the average onshore wind turbine in Europe is 2.7 MW and a 25-acre solar farm will produce about 5 MW of electricity. On average 1 MW of renewable power produces enough energy for around 125 homes17.
Trees play an important role in storing carbon and sucking the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They also provide a home for nature, clean-up air pollution and reduce flood risk.
Only 7% of Northern Ireland is tree cover, half of the level in Wales, and the Northern Ireland government’s aim is only for 12% by 205418. All areas in Northern Ireland should aim to double tree cover as soon as possible and make an additional commitment to increase tree cover to 20%, including in urban areas.
Making the stuff we buy, using it, and throwing it away all contributes to climate change. Buying less stuff is an important step in cutting greenhouse gases.
For the stuff we do buy, we should reuse, recycle or and compost it. Northern Ireland has a household waste reuse, recycling and composting rate of 47% which is similar to the rate in England, but less that the 57% achieved in Wales19. Wales has set its local authorities a target of 70% reuse, recycling and composting by 2025. Northern Ireland local authorities should aim for the same figure.
Agriculture is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Northern Ireland. The fabric of rural Northern Ireland which is defined by 25,000 family farms is being undermined by a high carbon intensification strategy which prioritises factory farming at the expense of family farms.
The UK as a whole needs to move towards a ‘less but better’ approach to meat-eating. Northern Ireland needs a moratorium on new intensive factory farms which has been driven by the Going for Growth Strategy which wasn’t accompanied by a Strategic Environmental Assessment. Not only are the climate impacts unacceptable there are also significant impacts on nature, for example 98% of protected nature sites including Special Protection Areas and Special Areas of Conservation are being damaged by excess ammonia from intensive factory farms.
Northern Ireland has no legally binding climate targets and no independent Environmental Protection Agency. The regulatory agency, NIEA, now sitting within the powerful Department for Agriculture has neutralised the opportunity for independent environmental regulation. Northern Ireland has been described by the UK Environmental Law Association as “the dirty corner of the UK” and more recently by Alex Easton on Channel 4 news as “the dirty corner of Europe”. In addition to an independent EPA Northern Ireland needs equal rights of appeal for objectors on planning matters and a new environmental court. Post-Brexit the Office for Environmental Protection needs to be extended to Northern Ireland.
Local authorities across the country invest billions of pounds in fossil fuel companies, the very companies that have caused the climate emergency. Working out which local authority has what investments is not straight forward because the money is often pooled with other local authorities. An analysis of data on investments by local authority pension funds suggests that on-average UK local authorities invest many millions of pounds into fossil fuels. Friends of the Earth along with many others are calling on local authorities to stop investing in fossil fuels.
Summary of targets for Northern Ireland
Cease supporting or promoting high carbon activities such as new roads or intensive factory farming.
Introduce an independent Environmental Protection Agency, provide equal rights of appeal for objectors on planning matters, and introduce a new environmental court.
Annual emissions reductions – 13%
Homes to insulate per year - 38,715
Number of eco-heating systems such as heat pumps to fit each year – 29,000 – 50,000
2030 target for the proportion of people walking, cycling or using public transport to work - 40% countryside areas, 70% Belfast.
Electric vehicle charging stations – at least 1,200 by 2030
Renewable energy – approximately 0.7 GW per year
Trees – Aim aim for 20% tree cover
Household waste reuse, recycling and compositing – 70% by 2025 (on path to reach zero waste as soon as possible)
Divestment – zero investment in fossil fuel companies as soon as possible.
1. DEARA, 2019, Northern Ireland Environmental Statistics Report,https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/northern-irelandenvironmental-statistics-report
2. The lower estimates assume much higher potentials for future action to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and also tend to exclude consideration of historical emissions (for example, see Equal Cumulative Per Capita here), whereas higher estimates assume very limited drawdown and take some account of historical emissions and also sometimes embedded carbon in imports (e.g. here).
3. Researchers at Tyndall Manchester have developed an online tool to help local areas set their own climate change targets aligned with the UN Paris Climate Agreement based on the latest science. The emission reduction rates are based on grandfathering principle (recent emissions data from 2011 to 2016) which captures most of the socio-techno-economic factors of the area considered. Reduction rates should be considered as the minimum effort for the area’s fair contribution towards meeting the Paris objectives. Hence more ambitious targets are compatible with Paris Agreement. The targets apply to CO2 emissions from the energy system (power, heat, cooling, surface transport and industry) only. Emissions from aviation, shipping, cement process emissions and land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) are excluded. Full dataset on climate change targets for local authorities, combined authorities, city regions and county regions is available at the website https://carbonbudget.manchester.ac.uk.
4. National Statistics and Housing Executive, Housing Condition Survey 2016, https://www.nihe.gov.uk/Working-With-Us/Research/House-Condition-Survey
5. TNational Statistics and Housing Executive, Housing Condition Survey 2016,https://www.nihe.gov.uk/Working-With-Us/Research/House-Condition-Survey
6. TNational Statistics and Housing Executive, Housing Condition Survey 2016,https://www.nihe.gov.uk/Working-With-Us/Research/House-Condition-Survey
7. The Committee on Climate Change has said the UK needs to fit 19 million heat pumps by 2050. Because climate change is a result of cumulative greenhouse gases the earlier action is taken the less warming there is. We are therefore calling for an average of 1 million a year to be fitted each year over the next 10 years.
8. Sloman and Hopkinson, 2019, More than electric cars, Friends of the Earth, https://policy.friendsoftheearth.uk/insight/more-electric-cars
9. Doubling public transport, cycling and walking would reduce car journeys by approximately 40%.
10. Dept for Infrastructure, 2019, Travel Survey for Northern Ireland Headline Report 2016-2018 https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/system/files/publications/infrastructure/tsni-headline-report-2016-2018.pdf
11. The UK Office for National Statistics has identified groupings of local authorities depending on factors such as economy, demography and geography. 7 local authorities in Northern Ireland are in the ONS group ‘Northern Ireland Countryside’ which has similar characteristics as the Country Living Group ONS Group in England and Wales for which we suggest a target of 40% for public transport, cycling and walking. The local authorities are Antrim and Newtownabbey; Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon; Causeway Coast and Glens; Fermanagh and Omagh; Lisburn and Castlereagh; Mid and East Antrim; Mid Ulster; Newry, Mourne and Down. Belfast is in the Larger Towns and Cities ONS Group for which we suggest a target of 70%. Derry City and Strabane is in the Services, Manufacturing and Mining Legacy ONS Group for which we suggest a target of 50%. And Ards and North Down is in the Town Living ONS Group for which we suggest a target of 50%.
13. Based on the proportion of licensed cars in the area.
14. Department for the Economy, 2019, Issue 12 - Electricity Consumption and Renewable Generation in Northern Ireland July 2018 to June 2019, https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/articles/electricity-consumption-and-renewable-generation-statistics
15. Based on total energy consumption in Northern Ireland.
16. Soni Ltd, 2018, Generation Capacity Statement 2018, table A-9, http://www.soni.ltd.uk/media/documents/Generation_Capacity_Statement_2018.pdf table A-9
17. Based on government figures on 2018 renewable energy capacity and production for 2018, excluding marine renewables, biomass, and energy from waste (table 6.4) and Ofgem typical values for household energy consumption (using medium consumption values)
18. DAERA, Forestry Planning website, accessed 9 Sept 2019 https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/forestplanning#targetText=The%20Forest%20Service%20directly%20manages,private%20forest%20in%20Northern%20Ireland.
19. Defra and UK Statistics Service, 2019, UK Statistics on Waste, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/784263/UK_Statistics_on_Waste_statistical_notice_March_2019_rev_FINAL.pdf
Data compiled by Chris Gordon-Smith and Mike Childs, Friends of the Earth Policy & Insight Unit.
Using the latest data, Friends of the Earth has analysed how different local authority areas across England and Wales are taking action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Compared to what needs to be achieved by 2030, we’ve identified how much progress has already been made and how much more is needed.
It’s important to ensure that actions to address the climate and ecological emergency are central to local councils’ Covid-19 recovery plans. Many of these actions are also great for job creation and growing the green economy across the whole of the UK. Recent research suggests that over 200,000 jobs could be created by 2030.1
In [foe:climate:name] [foe:climate:proportion_domestic_emissions]% of emissions come from housing, [foe:climate:proportion_transport_emissions]% from transport, and [foe:climate:proportion_industrial_and_commercial_emissions_excl_large_installations]% from industrial and commercial activity.2
There are different estimates of how fast the UK should reduce greenhouse gas emissions if it’s to do its fair share in combating climate breakdown, ranging from 7% to over 25% per year.3 Researchers at the Tyndall Centre have published a detailed carbon report for every local authority and say that [foe:climate:name] should reduce its emissions by at least [foe:climate:recommended_annual_emissions_reduction_rate]% per year.4
What can local authorities do?
Local authorities alone can’t deliver all the change needed by 2030. Much of the change needed in an area will require action by businesses, householders and others. And the government has a critical role, which includes giving local authorities the powers and resources they need to deliver to their full potential.
All local authorities should adopt an ambitious local climate action plan such as ours, which has been updated to take account of the Covid-19 crisis.
Local authorities should also join with Friends of the Earth and others in urging more government action. Each local authority should declare a climate emergency as a sign of political intent. And, importantly, they should stop making things worse by promoting, investing in or giving permission for infrastructure that will increase greenhouse gas emissions (for example, new roads or airport expansion), even though there’ll be pressure to do so by vested interests with the pretence that carbon-intensive developments will help the recovery from Covid-19.
Local authorities have an important role in protecting the most vulnerable, from both Covid-19 and climate change. These are often people on lower incomes and are also often people of colour. For climate change, their vulnerability may be because they’re less able to replace and repair damage from flooding or insure against it. [foe:climate:name] has [foe:climate:neighbourhoods_particularly_vulnerable_to_surface_flooding] neighbourhoods with high social flood risk for surface flooding.5 For Covid-19, some of the most vulnerable are those with pre-existing respiratory problems, whose exposure to air pollution from traffic will exacerbate their illness.
Only [foe:climate:proportion_of_homes_well_insulated_epc_c_or_above]% of homes are well insulated in [foe:climate:name].6 This represents a shocking waste of energy, high greenhouse gas emissions and unnecessarily high energy bills. [foe:climate:proportion_in_fuel_poverty]% of households in the area are in fuel poverty, which means they can’t afford to heat their homes properly.7 Poor insulation contributes to this problem. The number of people in fuel poverty will increase if Covid-19 social distancing measures mean more people need to spend more time at home in the winter.
Upgrading the insulation of [foe:climate:number_of_homes_requiring_insulation_each_year_all_epc_c_by_2030] homes per year within the [foe:climate:name] area will ensure all homes are properly insulated by 2030. The Energy Savings Trust is calling for all homes to be at least EPC C-rated by 2030, and for local authorities to sign up to a Housing Retrofit Compact for a decade of action to retrofit our homes.
We also need to switch from gas central heating, which is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, to eco-heating (such as heat pumps) powered by renewable energy. The government provides grants for installing eco-heating. There are only [foe:climate:domestic_ecoheating_installations] government-funded eco-heating systems in [foe:climate:name], yet the UK needs to fit around 1 million per year. Fitting [foe:climate:target_ecoheating_installations_per_year] eco-heating systems every year would be a fair share for [foe:climate:name].8
Transport is the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, and it continues to grow. To deliver the emissions reductions needed, research suggests car use will need to drop by 20-60%, depending on factors such as how quickly we switch to electric vehicles.9 This means that the UK should more than double the proportion of journeys by public transport, cycling and walking.10
In [foe:climate:name] only [foe:climate:proportion_commute_by_public_transport]% of people commute by public transport, [foe:climate:proportion_commute_by_bike]% cycle, and [foe:climate:proportion_of_commuter_journeys_by_foot]% walk. In the best performing similar local authority area, the proportions are [foe:climate:highest_proportion_commute_by_public_transport_from_same_ons_group]%, [foe:climate:highest_proportion_commute_by_bike_from_same_ons_group]% and [foe:climate:highest_proportion_of_commuter_journeys_by_foot_from_same_ons_group_name]% respectively.11
Much more is possible. Research shows that [foe:climate:proportion_that_would_use_bike_in_ebike_scenario]% of commuter journeys in [foe:climate:name] could be by bike (assuming good cycling infrastructure, such as segregated cycleways and the uptake of E-bikes).12 Local authorities need to urgently improve cycling infrastructure, as people are being encouraged to avoid public transport during the pandemic. But around half of low-income households don’t have a car, and the proportion of women that don’t have access is twice that of men.13 Many of these people are the key workers the nation relies on during lockdown. Better walking routes can encourage more journeys on foot and improve health.
As lockdown is progressively lifted, the normal use of public transport will return. 6 in 10 drivers have said they would shift to public transport if its quality improved.14
Friends of the Earth says [foe:climate:name] should aim to have [foe:climate:10_year_target_for_use_of_public_transport_walking_cycling]% of people commuting by public transport, cycling, and walking by 2030.15
When cars are needed, they should be electric and shared as much as possible. Only [foe:climate:current_proportion_of_people_commuting_sharing_a_lift]% of commuters share their car when commuting in [foe:climate:name].16 According to the social enterprise Liftshare, at the best businesses, 40% of staff share journeys to work.
According to government research [foe:climate:name] has [foe:climate:ev_charging_devices] electric vehicle charging devices (EV chargers).17 The Committee on Climate Change, which advises the government, says there should be 1 EV charger for every thousand cars by 2030. This suggests that in [foe:climate:name] there should be at least [foe:climate:ev_charging_device_target] EV chargers.18 But Friends of the Earth says we need a much faster transition to electric cars, which means many more EV chargers than this.
The proportion of our electricity produced by renewable energy has increased massively over the last ten years to around a third, while the cost of solar panels and wind farms has plummeted. But if the UK is to wean itself off climate-wrecking oil and gas, we need to produce up to 8 times more renewable electricity, including for our transport and heating. Much of the additional renewable energy will come from offshore wind, but there’s also a need to significantly increase onshore wind and solar power.
Currently [foe:climate:name] produces [foe:climate:renewable_energy_generation_within_area] MWh renewable energy per year.19 The best similar local authority areas produce [foe:climate:target_renewable_energy_generation_mwh] MWh.20 Reaching this level is a minimum target to be achieved rapidly, and all local authorities should look to do much more.
To give an indication of what this means in practice, the average onshore wind turbine in Europe is 2.7 MW and produces 6,019 MWh of electricity whereas a 25-acre 5 MW solar farm produces about 4,900 MWh of electricity.21
Green space and trees
Much of the population lacks access to good quality green space. A new study by the Office for National Statistics reveals 1 in 8 households in Great Britain lack access to a private or shared garden, rising to 1 in 5 in London. And in England, white people are nearly 4 times as likely as black people to have access to outdoor space at home, whether it’s a private or shared garden, a patio or a balcony.22 Increasingly, the NHS recognises the importance of green space and is prescribing time in parks to aid wellbeing. But for those without access to green space, Covid-19 lockdown has put an even greater strain on their mental health. So, now's the time to transform some roads and car parks into communal green spaces in nature-deprived urban areas, and green all our streets with trees and planters.
Trees also play an important role in sucking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it as carbon. They provide a home for nature, clean up air pollution and reduce flood risk. According to aerial survey company Bluesky International Ltd total tree cover in the area is [foe:climate:proportion_of_land_which_is_tree_cover]%.23
All local authority areas should aim to double tree cover as soon as possible. Those areas with very little tree cover (less than 10%) should commit to increase tree cover to 20%.24
Making the stuff we buy, using it, and throwing it away all contribute to climate breakdown. Acquiring less stuff is an important step in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
For the stuff we do buy, we should reuse, recycle or compost as much as we can. [foe:climate:name] reuses, recycles and composts [foe:climate:proportion_of_household_waste_reused_recycled_or_composted]% of its household waste.25 The best figure is [foe:climate:highest_proportion_for_waste_reuse_recycle_compost_in_same_ons_group]% in similar local authorities. Wales has set its local authorities a target of 70% by 2025. English local authorities should aspire to the same target, and all local authorities must aim even higher on a path to achieving zero waste (eg, aiming for zero waste by 2030).
Local authorities across the UK invest billions of pounds in fossil fuel companies, the very companies that have caused the climate emergency.
Working out which local authority has what investments is not straightforward, because local authorities often pool funds. But an analysis of UK local authority pension funds suggests that on average local authorities invest many millions of pounds in fossil fuels. Along with many others, Friends of the Earth is calling on local authorities to stop investing in fossil fuels.26
Summary of targets for [foe:climate:name] and progress to date
|Area||2030 target||Progress to date|
|Homes to insulate||100%||[foe:climate:prog_towards_2030_goal_home_insulation]%|
|Number of eco-heating systems, such as heat pumps, to fit.||[foe:climate:target_ecoheating_installations_before_2030]||[foe:climate:domestic_ecoheating_installations]|
|Proportion of commuters walking, cycling or using public transport||[foe:climate:10_year_target_for_use_of_public_transport_walking_cycling]%||[foe:climate:proportion_of_commuter_journeys_by_public_transport_cycling_and_walking]%|
|Electric vehicle charging devices||[foe:climate:ev_charging_device_target]||[foe:climate:ev_charging_devices]|
|Renewable energy||at least [foe:climate:target_renewable_energy_generation_mwh] MWh||[foe:climate:renewable_energy_generation_within_area]|
|Trees||[foe:climate:target_pcnt_tree_cover_2030]%||Data not freely available|
|Household waste reuse, recycling and composting||100% (zero waste)||[foe:climate:proportion_of_household_waste_reused_recycled_or_composted]|
Stop promoting, investing in or giving permission for new high carbon infrastructure, such as roads or airports.
Lift-sharing – major employers should aim for 40% of their staff who commute by car to lift-share.
Divestment – zero investment in fossil fuel companies as soon as possible.
1. Vivid Economics, 2020, A UK Investment Strategy: Building back a resilient and sustainable economy, WWF.
3. The lower estimates assume much higher potentials for future action to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and also tend to exclude consideration of historical emissions (for example, see Equal Cumulative Per Capita), whereas higher estimates assume very limited drawdown and take some account of historical emissions and also sometimes embedded carbon in imports (eg, here).
4.Researchers at Tyndall Manchester have developed an online tool to help local areas set their own climate change targets, aligned with the UN Paris Climate Agreement and based on the latest science. The emissions reduction rates are based on the grandfathering principle (recent emissions data from 2011 to 2016), which captures most of the socio-techno-economic factors of the area considered. Reduction rates should be considered as the minimum effort for the area’s fair contribution towards meeting the Paris objectives. Hence more ambitious targets are compatible with the Paris Agreement. The targets apply to CO2 emissions from the energy sector (power, heat, cooling, surface transport and industry) only. Emissions from aviation, shipping, cement process emissions, and land use, land use change and forestry are excluded. A full dataset on climate change targets for local authorities, combined authorities, city regions and county regions is available. If a local authority fails to meet its annual reduction target the reduction rate for future years increases.
5. Researchers have identified 12,705 neighbourhoods in England and Wales where there’s very high, acute or extreme social flood risk of surface flooding and 437 of coastal or river flooding. These neighbourhoods are identified by assessing potential flood exposure with 12 factors representing social vulnerability, such as income, heath, age and housing tenure and using geographical areas identified by the Office of National Statistics (LSOA areas) with average population size of 1600 people. Friends of the Earth does not have access to data on which geographical areas these are. Further information is available at Sayers et al (2017), Present and future flood vulnerability, risk and disadvantage: A UK scale assessment and the Climate Just website.
6. Well insulated means having an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of A, B or C. The data for all properties is published regularly by the government. Our estimates are based on the proportion of properties with A, B, or C ratings and the proportion with lower. The number of EPCs is now so large in every local authority area that robust estimates are possible.
7. The government publishes data on fuel poverty in England. For Wales, figures were provided to Friends of the Earth by National Energy Action. Note that the definition of fuel poverty is different in England and Wales.
8. The data on numbers of domestic eco-heating systems installed (supported by government grants) by local authorities is from the government (see tab 2.4, here).For 12 local authorities – Halton, Blackpool, Plymouth, Isles of Scilly, Cannock Chase, Tamworth, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Blaenau Gwent, and Torfaen – Ofgem doesn’t give the exact figure, but provides data to enable an average number to be calculated. We’ve used this in this small number of cases. The Committee on Climate Change has said the UK needs to fit 10 million heat pumps by 2035. Because climate change is a result of cumulative greenhouse gases, the sooner action is taken the less warming there is. We’re therefore calling for an average of 1 million a year to be fitted each year over the next 10 years. Only 22,000 were fitted in 2017.
10. Doubling public transport, cycling and walking would reduce car journeys by approximately 40%.
11. Data is calculated from the Office of National Statistics 2011 Census, the most comprehensive dataset available. It’s possible that figures for public transport use for commuting may have fallen, due to cuts in bus services. According to recent government data, bus usage has fallen in the vast majority of local authorities in England since 2011. The figures suggests that in only 3 local authorities has bus usage increased by more than 5% (Bristol, Brighton and Hove, and Reading). In Wales bus usage has also declined.
12. Figures come from Propensity to Cycle, a tool funded by the government and others, which takes into account issues such as geography to identify possible cycling rates for various scenarios. We use the E-bike scenario, which assumes a similar infrastructure to Dutch levels and the use of E-bikes.
13. Office of National Statistics, 2019, Percentage of households with cars by income group, tenure and household composition: Table A47.
15. Targets are set by ONS category with the data as follows: Country living, 40% (current best 21%); English and Welsh countryside 40% (22%); Remoter country living, 40% (27%), Thriving rural, 50% (36%), Town living, 50% (26%), Services, manufacturing and mining legacy, 50% (29%), Rural-urban fringe, 60% (58%), Suburban traits, 60% (44%), Manufacturing traits, 60% (21%), Larger towns and cities, 80% (55%), University towns and cities, 80% (55%), Ethnically diverse metropolitan living, 80% (74%), London cosmopolitan, 90% (82%). Together these increases would approximately double public transport use, cycling and walking. The areas with the lowest targets have lower population densities.
17. Department for Transport, 2019, Electric vehicle charging device statistics: October 2019.
18. Based on the proportion of licenced cars in the area.
19. Based on the latest government figures. Our calculations exclude biomass burning and incineration, because the former has high carbon emissions and the latter involves burning fossil fuel derivatives (plastics). We also exclude offshore wind and other marine renewable energy, because their inclusion would make comparison between local authorities invalid as many do not have coastlines.
20. The data is calculated as MW of renewable energy per square kilometre. This allows a fair comparison between local authorities identified in ONS groups as similar in terms of economy, demographics and geography, but which are very different sizes.
21. Based on government figures on renewable energy capacity and production for 2018, excluding marine renewables, biomass, and energy from waste (table 6.4) and Ofgem typical values for total household energy consumption (using medium consumption values). We have used household energy consumption rather than just electricity, because home heating also needs to be electric in the future.
22. Office for National Statistics, 2020, Access to gardens and public green space in Great Britain.
23. Currently the best estimate of total tree cover across all local authorities in England and Wales is produced by Bluesky International Limited. Forestry Research, part of the Forestry Commission, will be producing more accurate data and maps within the next few years. Bluesky provided the data we are sharing free of charge. Bluesky created National Tree Map™ using a combination of vertical aerial survey data, height data and colour infrared imagery to map all trees over 3m high across England and Wales. Local authorities use this tree canopy overview as a base for mapping tree preservation orders, to prioritise leaf-clearing schedules, and to identify areas to target for tree-planting as well as other uses. For more detail visit Bluesky.
Data compiled by Chris Gordon-Smith and Mike Childs, Friends of the Earth Policy & Insight Unit.