A smaller footprint

On target to meet ODI targets on both capital and operational carbon
Generation of energy from our Combined Heat and Power engines at an all-time high of 99 GWh
Our Energy Initiative has reduced costs by nearly £2.5 million this year

Continuing to provide a reliable and affordable service means we must address the impacts of global challenges, including the effects of climate change and the need to make the most of finite resources to provide for a growing population.

In response, we have set ourselves the goal of becoming a carbon neutral business by 2050. Our strategy involves: cutting our carbon emissions; reducing the energy and materials used to maintain our infrastructure; generating our own renewable energy; increasing the efficiency of our equipment; driving out waste; and finding uses for the by-products of our treatment processes in pursuit of a truly circular economy.

By doing so we also continue to reduce costs, drive innovation and set a powerful example for others to follow. We have already made great progress in cutting carbon and want to push ourselves further still.We follow the principles set out by HM Treasury's Infrastructure Carbon Review to release the value of low-carbon solutions in how we build and operate. Over the five-year period to 2020 our goals are to exceed a seven per cent reduction in real terms in gross operational carbon by 2020 from a 2015 baseline, and to deliver a 60 per cent reduction in capital carbon by 2020 from a 2010 baseline.

Annual gross operational carbon emissions have decreased by 19.6 per cent in 2017/18 in comparison to the 2014/15 baseline, reducing from 455,335 t/CO2e to 366,000 t/CO2e. The main influencing factors were a significant reduction in grid electricity emissions and a decrease in the volume of fuel oil consumed. Greenhouse gas emission data has been measured and reported in line with the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Environmental Reporting Guidelines published in June 2013. Annual net operational carbon emissions have decreased by 19.8 per cent in 2017/18 in comparison to the 2014/15 baseline, reducing from 446,833 t/CO2e to 358,284 t/CO2e.Our design engineers and capital delivery teams have delivered a 57 per cent reduction in capital carbon against our 2010 baseline, through focus on design, materials used and installation and commissioning techniques in construction.

We retained verification against PAS 2080 Carbon Management in Infrastructure in 2017/18, showing that we continue to have the right leadership and governance for effective carbon management. We were the first organisation in the world to be verified against the standard in 2016. Collaboration across the supply chain is a critical element in delivering carbon and cost reductions. PAS 2080 provides a consistent framework for organisations to use in measuring, managing and reducing carbon.Managing carbon emissions and costs also relies on our ability to constantly monitor and improve the efficiency of our processes and equipment. Our Energy Initiative began more than 10 years ago to reduce emissions and remove unnecessary costs from our operation. Savings in 2017/18 alone exceeded £3 million. These savings will help us control our costs and our customers' bills.

An increasing amount of renewable energy is generated on our sites. We produced 106 GWh of renewable power from biogas, wind and solar in 2017/18. This represents 15 per cent of our electricity use. Of this, we generated 90 GWh using our fleet of Combined Heat and Power (CHP) engines, which are fuelled by the biogasproduced at our sludge treatment centres. This is a reduction on the 99 GWh generated in 2016/17. Our plans to generate in excess of 30 per cent of the electricity we consume from renewable power by 2020 are progressing primarily through a significant solar programme and optimisation of our CHP fleet. To increase the CHP engines’ efficiency and performance, we have expanded our in-house team of specialist engineers and technicians to take over their running from external contractors. Another site came on line in 2017, at Chelmsford, where we have refurbished and relocated two disused engines from Pyewipe in Grimsby, saving us about £200,000 on the cost of a single, new engine. The second engine willact as a back-up, increasing resilience on the site.

Case Studies


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