Reducing our carbon footprint

In January 2013 we launched our first Carbon Management Plan, to reduce our carbon footprint by 17.7% by 2020. Since 2013 we’ve made some great progress and we have reduced our emissions by 9% from the 2009 baseline.

Lower carbon emissions is ‘good news’ for us all because it comes from being more energy efficient, generating energy through renewable technology and reducing energy and fuel consumption, which all helps to save the money the we spend on fuel bills.

It also helps us become more sustainable and reduce our impact on climate change, some of the effects of which we have witnessed with the recent serious flooding in parts of the district and the Yorkshire region.

Projects that we have delivered over the last 3 years include:

  • Solar electric panels installed on our buildings, which are generating electricity and over £30,000 in income through the Feed-in Tariff and electricity savings;
  • Wakefield Town Hall has a new efficient gas heating system, which has reduced the electricity demand from the building by almost 50%
  • Display Energy Certificates to show energy efficiency standards on show in our buildings and schools
  • Trees planted on 12ha of our land in line with the Woodland Carbon Code
  • A woodland harvester has been bought to extract up to 1,000 tonnes of timber for sale to timber merchants
  • A Council-wide staff carbon reduction/energy efficiency awareness campaign
  • Heating and lighting improvements, PC shutdown software and replacement of coal boilers in our schools and libraries

Looking ahead we will achieve the biggest reduction in carbon emissions by upgrading the district’s street lighting with LEDs using a smart control system.

We’re also looking at supplying low carbon heat and power to buildings in Wakefield, Castleford and Knottingley using heat networks, becoming an energy supply company and installing more renewable energy on our buildings and land, helping to produce, use and possibly sell our own energy to local residents.

You’ll hear much more about the Carbon Management Plan work over the coming months but if you would like to know more please contact the Sustainability Team at

Kirkthorpe renewable power scheme

A new hydroelectric power plant, the largest low-head river hydro plant ever to be built in Yorkshire and the largest plant commissioned in England since the start of the century has opened 4 miles east of Wakefield.

Long-term (100 years+) renewable energy infrastucture

Harnessing the flow of the River Calder, the 500kW Kirkthorpe scheme has a powerful turbine to generate renewable electricity, enough to supply 800 homes in perpetuity. The £5.3m plant will generate electricity for the next 100 years and has been welcomed by local politicians and local angling groups.

As part of the project, a custom-designed passage and screen has been built to enable salmon, eels and other migratory fish to safely navigate the hydro scheme.

Generating renewable energy for local homes and businesses

Kirkthorpe delivers clean and sustainable energy to local homes and businesses and will further improve the quality of the River Calder for future generations to come. The construction of the Hydroelectricity plant goes some way towards delivering the LDF’s core strategy of renewable generation target of 41 mW by 2021.

View the project’s construction

Information boards, courtesy Jamie Vernon of Barn Energy

Board 1

Board 2

Board 3