Council energy efficiency

Harlow Council recognises the importance of reducing energy usage in both its own operations and across the district. We are continually working towards reducing our own carbon footprint and encourage residents and local businesses to do the same. More information on how you can reduce energy and waste

The Council's Carbon Footprint (GHG emissions)

The Council has calculated the Greenhouse gases it emits by recording the energy and fuel used to carry out Council services (including Kier Harlow Ltd / HTS (Property and Environment) Ltd and Veolia fleet) and using conversion factors provided by the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Carbon footprint for Harlow

The district emissions for Harlow are measured by the Department for Energy and Climate Change. Harlow’s carbon emissions per capita up to 2015 are shown in the table below, these figures include emissions from industry and the commercial sector, domestic emissions and those from road transport.

Year Grand total (kt Co2) Population ('000s, mid-year estimate) Per Capita Emissions (t)
2005 655.9 78.4 8.4
2006 649.9 78.7 8.3
2007 628.2 79.2 7.9
2008 624.2 79.9 7.8
2009 558.8 80.7 6.9
2010 576.9 81.5 7.1
2011 508.9 82.2 6.2
2012 523.2 82.7 6.3
2013 508.9 83.4 6.1
2014 410.2 84.6 4.9
2015 383.7 85.4 4.5


Our town’s emissions have decreased by nearly 50% and will only continue to do so if we continue to act together. Our last recorded emissions per person were 4.5 tonnes; this amount of carbon weighs the same as approximately five adult giraffes or 50 baby elephants. We are no longer able to record the total emissions for the town, however we know what the Council’s own emissions are and are working toward playing our part in keeping emissions from Harlow as low as possible.

Carbon Management Plan

The Stern Review has been the catalyst for significant changes in the public and political attitude towards climate change, Harlow Council has responded to this through the development of a sustainable approach to all Council operations. Harlow Council’s Sustainability Strategy was established in 2007 and defines Sustainability as ‘meeting the community’s immediate needs without compromising the ability to meet its future needs in respect of the environment, economy, employment, health, housing, governance and social wellbeing’.

Harlow Council committed to national and local targets for carbon reduction and additionally committed to reduce carbon emissions from energy usage by 10% in the year 2010/11. Harlow Council’s Energy Action Plan has been in place since 2008, the Council applied to be part of the Carbon Trust’s Local Authority Carbon Management Programme for 2010/11 in order to strengthen and develop this plan, broadening the scope of actions to encompass water and waste. Officers worked closely with the Carbon Trust in 2010 to complete a Carbon Management Plan that will deliver reductions in carbon emissions and financial costs; this is particularly relevant when considering the ever depleting natural resources and increasing energy prices.

The Council aimed to reduce its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from buildings, waste transport and water as described within the Carbon Management Plan. Our carbon footprint for 2011/12 was 3,325 tonnes of CO2,costing £800,000. 

The first Carbon Management Plan set a target of reducing CO2 by 25% by 2015/16, based on the 2009/10 baseline data. This target was achieved by 2014/15 and resulted in a reduction of 1083 tonnes CO2 emissions.

The current Plan has set a target of reducing the Councils CO2 by a further 675 tonnes, or 25% by 2020/2021 and saving the Council over £350,000 over five years.

The Carbon Management Plan stems from officers’ input in all areas of the Council. The Plan will also contribute to the Sustainability Strategy and will inform future strategies as to the Council’s historical actions, and future ambitions, in relation to carbon reduction and management.