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Climate change

In this section you'll find out more about what Yorkshire Water’s climate change strategy is and what we're doing to combat greenhouse gas emissions.

With Yorkshire's weather likely to become more variable in the coming decades, with warmer winters planned and drier summers, it's important that we start planning exactly how we're going to be combatting any extreme weather events, and what this means for us as a Company going forward.

Find out what the future looks like for Yorkshire and discover all the work we're doing to combat climate change.

What we're doing about climate change

We need to make sure that we can maintain the high levels of service our customers expect, now and in the future. So we're doing three things:

  • Preparing for the changing climate by making sure that we're ready to deal with the effects it may bring - this is known as adaptation. To do this, we need to make sure that our sites, people and processes are all as resilient as they can be.
  • Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions in order to play our part in minimising future climate change - this is known as mitigation. For example, we're being more energy efficient and investing in renewable 'green' energy.
  • Working in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure an effective response to climate change. We are communicating and collaborating with our customers, regulators, government and many others.

Our position on climate change

Yorkshire Water assessed the latest evidence, opportunities and risks for our climate change position paper. Six statements that summarise our position on climate change:

  • The climate has been changing and will continue to change
  • Climate change presents risks to our strategic objectives and the services we provide
  • We'll quantify the climate change risks that face our business
  • We'll develop long-term plans to manage the climate change risks that face our business
  • We'll promote activities to address our climate change risks
  • We'll drive initiatives to empower every employee to reduce carbon emissions and prepare for the changing climate

Our climate change strategy

Our climate change strategy describes how we are working to affordably maintain and enhance our water and waste water services, and to cost- effectively reduce our carbon footprint. The action set out in our climate change strategy ensures we are effectively managing today's risks and laying the necessary foundations to affordably maintain services for the long term. It is imperative that we respond to the challenges presented by climate change if we are affordably meet our customers' priorities and achieve our vision: taking responsibility for the water environment for good.

Download our Climate Change Strategy

Reducing our carbon footprint

Making sure we deliver high quality drinking water to customers and return clean wastewater to the environment is a very energy intensive job which can results in substantial amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. However, we have trimmed our carbon footprint down to size and we're working hard to deliver energy efficiencies.

Our anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at Knostrop is now operational and generates half the energy required to run our largest waste water treatment works and a further investment in AD generation in Huddersfield is well underway. These latest investments grow our existing ability to generate increasingly large amounts of low carbon renewable energy

In addition to our increased renewable generation, we are purchasing 100% of our power from renewable sources meaning that we have made a substantial reduction in our operational carbon emissions.

We are also on track to achieve large targeted reductions in the carbon embedded in our capital investments, for example by reducing the amount of concrete and metal we use to build our treatment works. The manufacturing of some of these materials can be very energy and carbon intensive.

More about our Knostrop AD plant

We’ve invested £72m in a state-of-the-art sludge treatment and anaerobic digestion facility at Knostrop in Leeds.

This is a commitment to renewable energy generation as we look at ways to become more efficient and self-sufficient. The plant facility will have the ability to:

  • recycle 94% of Leeds’ sewage sludge
  • be capable of processing 131 tonnes of dry sludge a day
  • generate 55% of its own electricity needs - the equivalent of providing power to 8,000 homes
  • reduce the Knostrop site’s carbon emissions by 15%

Knostrop is the latest step in our commitment to invest in renewable energy to benefit the environment and keep customers’ bills low. It also supports Leeds City council’s ambition for the Lower Aire Valley to become a hub for green energy and industry.