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Six pledges to cut our carbon emissions

A joint Government and industry initiative that aims to save 24 million tonnes of carbon and £1.46 billion a year by 2050 has led to Yorkshire Water making six pledges to reduce its carbon footprint, thus improving our water sustainability.

The initiative, known as the Infrastructure Carbon Review, was launched in 2013 to tackle emissions from infrastructure and related industries, which account for around half of the UK’s current carbon emissions.

As the latest company to sign up to it, Yorkshire Water’s six specific carbon reduction commitments include striving to halve carbon emissions embodied in all its new assets built from 2020.

The company has made the announcement on the same day the Government’s Committee on Climate Change published its Reducing Emissions and Preparing for Climate Change report.

Yorkshire Water’s Six Carbon Reduction Pledges:

1. We will measure and monitor our carbon emissions to inform more sustainable operational and investment decisions

2. We will complete a sustainability risk assessment

3. We will inform future investment by researching integrated water management plans and by trialing at least three innovative assessment
management solutions over the next five years

4. We will secure certification to the Asset Management Standard to embed sustainable business  processes into our company by April 2017

5. We will continue to reduce our operation carbon emissions and maintain certification to the Carbon Trust Standard

6. We will strive to  halve carbon emissions in new assets we build by 2020

Since 2008/09, Yorkshire Water has reduced its operational carbon emissions by 18 per cent and electricity consumption has dropped by 10 per cent since 2009/10.

Thom Cooper, Lead Sustainability Advisor for Yorkshire Water, said: “We endorse the Infrastructure Carbon Review and agree that we should play a leading role in reducing carbon in the infrastructure sector. Despite already making significant progress to cut our own operational emissions, which reduced by 30,000 tonnes in 2014, we know we can do more to establish ourselves as a leading sustainable company and these six pledges will help to achieve this.”

With electricity use accounting for 75 per cent of the company’s total operational emissions, generating electricity from renewable sources is a key focus to ensure water sustainability for years to come.

Recent investment has included installing a wind turbine at its Knostrop site, which at 123m tall is now the highest structure in Leeds and generates 10% of the facility’s energy needs. The company was also the first water company in the UK to pioneer a new energy from waste technology that uses sewage at its Esholt site to power operations, helping the site achieve electricity neutral status.  Generating energy from sewage sludge has also enabled the company to achieve 100 per cent compliance with sludge disposal regulations.

Peter Hansford, Government Chief Construction Adviser, said: “The UK has a legally binding commitment to achieve an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.  If emerging best practice is delivered across the infrastructure sector, an annual saving of 24 million tonnes of carbon dioxide could be achieved by this date to help meet the target. This will also help save the UK economy up to £1.46 billion a year.”

Yorkshire Water expects to generate 71 gigawatt hours of renewable energy during 2014/15, thereby lowering its carbon footprint by nearly 33,000 tonnes.

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