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What Gateshead Council is doing

climate change

We are committed to being carbon neutral by 2030

Since we started working towards being carbon neutral in 2010, our measured carbon emissions have reduced by 55%, exceeding the planned target.

In response to the Climate Emergency (PDF) [31KB]  declared in 2019, we are committed to:

  • making our activities carbon neutral by 2030
  • achieving 100% clean energy across our full range of functions by 2030
  • ensuring that all strategic decision, budgets and approaches to planning decisions are in line with a shift to zero carbon by 2030
  • supporting and working with all relevant bodies towards making the entire area carbon neutral within the same timescale

We published a Climate Emergency Action Plan (PDF) [7MB] (opens new window)  in February 2021. It's a road map to show how Gateshead can become carbon neutral by 2030. The plan ensures the environmental impact of strategic decisions, budgets and planning decisions will be considered as part of our aim reduce carbon use by 2030.

Pie chart showing industry, transport and domestic emissions

Gateshead's carbon emissions

Gateshead as a borough produces around 5.3 tonnes of CO2 (tCO2) per person, compared to the national average of 5.4 tCO2. Emissions are divided roughly as 30% from business public sector emissions, 30% from domestic emissions and 40% transport emissions. The Council produces around 2.5% of the borough's emissions.

Gateshead Council monitor our own emissions through SmartCarbon. A report setting out our monitoring process is prepared annually. Gateshead Council carbon monitoring report 21/22 financial year (Word doc) [904KB]

Action we are taking towards a Zero Carbon Gateshead

We are working with residents, businesses, charities and government to make changes and provide support to work towards a Zero Carbon Gateshead.

At the council we are:

  • auditing our current activities to allow us to have a new Climate Change and Environment strategy and action plan in place by Autumn 2020
  • reviewing our supply chain and procurement contracts to be more green

We know we can't make these changes alone, so we are also:

  • working with partners, residents and businesses to identify the radical action needed in the borough and the resources required to deliver it
  • encouraging residents and businesses to recycle more and trialling new ways to recycle
  • developing a citizens panel to ensure local people can help steer us through the challenges and opportunities ahead
  • introducing a School Streets scheme, which will see roads outside some schools closed to vehicles during morning and afternoon periods
  • working in partnership with the Woodland Trust to plant 100,000 trees across the borough

The government will also play an important part in helping reduce emissions, so we:

  • are calling on the Government to provide the powers, resources and help with funding to make Gateshead zero carbon
  • have submitted plans to government to improve air quality

In February 2020 we invited a diverse range of stakeholders from communities, businesses, voluntary groups and the public sector to join us in a workshop that began to shape Gateshead's response to the Climate Emergency. The workshop established links between groups, and was an important initial step in determining what a zero-carbon Gateshead will look like. View or download a summary of the workshop's discussions (PDF) [9MB] (opens new window) .

Graph showing reduction in emissions over time

Read our January 2021 update on progress we're making in addressing climate change (PDF) [174KB] (opens new window)

View a summary of the results from our 2020 Climate Change Survey (PDF) [410KB] (opens new window)

In 2020, we achieved a silver level accreditation by Investors in the Environment with a score of 70%. In 2021 we achieved an improved score of 75%.
Read our Silver Level audit report  (PDF) [435KB]

In 2021, we adopted the  Environmental Policy (PDF) [137KB] , which includes commitments to:

  • Reduce the emissions associated with the council's activities to net zero by 2030;
  • Ensure that all strategic decisions, budgets and approaches to decision making give consideration to a shift to zero carbon by 2030; and
  • Support local organisations and our communities on the journey to reducing their carbon emissions by generating and sharing ideas, facilitating connections between groups and individuals, and providing an exemplar for other organisations to follow.

Some of the things we have done since 2010

The graph shows how we have reduced the council's own emissions so far. For the borough as a whole, in the past ten years we have:

  • helped people heat their homes in a more affordable and efficient way
  • improved the local natural environment through conservation
  • supported residents and businesses to recycle their waste more easily, leading to fewer carbon emissions and a reduction in use of landfill sites
  • created low carbon energy for both heat and power for homes, organisations and businesses in central Gateshead through the District Energy Scheme launched in 2017
  • installed ground source heat pumps to provide low cost carbon energy to 600 homes as part of the Gateshead HEIGHTS scheme

Examples of how we're reducing carbon emissions