Oxford City Council has helped reduce over 6,000 tonnes of damaging CO2 emissions every year

Published: Monday, 20th June 2016

Oxford City Council has helped reduce more than 6,000 tonnes of damaging carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from being sent into the atmosphere every year through a range of energy conservation projects.

These projects include installing solar panels across Oxford, insulating and cladding residents’ homes, using more electric vehicles and installing energy efficient boilers and lights in the Council’s buildings.

The City Council has leveraged in millions of pounds of European Union and Government funding to help make the carbon reduction investments possible – and has plans for millions more investment in the coming years.

The carbon tonnage reduction is equivalent to taking 1,553 medium-sized cars off the road and keeping them off the road every year (3.87t per medium vehicle).

One of the main projects has been OxFutures, which, led by the City Council, secured £1.2m of European Union funding in 2012. The money will be used to leverage in about £18m of further funding before the end of 2016.

Projects funded through OxFutures include the Low Carbon Hub, the hydro project at Osney Lock, and solar panels on Larkrise Primary School, Oxford Bus Company and Norbar Torque Tools in Banbury.

So far, these projects have reduced the emissions to the atmosphere every year by about 950 tonnes.

The City Council has also worked to improve the energy efficiency of its social housing stock. This project was part-funded by the £1.2m Project ERIC (Energy Resources for Integrated Communities), which was joint funded by the City Council and Innovate UK.

  • The work to City Council’s housing stock has included:
  • External wall cladding installed on 76 houses, removing 73tCO2/y
  • Cavity wall insulation installed on 320 houses, removing 130.74tCO2/y
  • Solar panels installed on 69 houses, removing 69tCO2/y

On top of this work, the City Council has made considerable improvements to its estate and operations to make them for efficient. Recent work has included:

  • Installing 500kWp of solar panels to buildings (including sheltered housing blocks, the Leys Pools and Leisure Centre, Rose Hill Community Centre, Horspath Depot and St Aldate’s Chambers), removing 136tCO2/y. This £458,500 investment since 2014/15 saves £23,000 on electricity bills and earns, through Feed in Tarrifs, about £21,000 every year – returning at least £920,000 to the Council over 20 years
  • £1.1m of energy efficiency upgrades to the Council’s estate, including installing LED lighting (including in the Town Hall’s Main Hall), high-efficiency boilers, insulation and new heating controls. This £341,500 investment since 2008 leverage in government match-funding, and now saves about 1,700 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere and £354,000 on energy bills every year

In total, the City Council’s work to reduce the carbon emissions of its estate and operations since 2007 has saved about 4,786 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year, and saves the Council about £500,000 annually by reducing gas and electricity bills.

Combining the OxFutures projects, the work to improve the Council’s housing stock and the work on our estates and operations, the City Council has reduced carbon to the atmosphere by about 6,008.74 tonnes every year.

However, this figure does not include data from the City Council’s projects to encourage people to cycle to work – including the more than £300,000 investment in Cycle City – the impact of the City Council’s more than 120 parks and open spaces, or the removal of waste for incineration through increased residential recycling.

Statistics are also not available for the impact of the Low Emission Zone in Oxford city centre, which the City Council led on, or the City Council’s latest project to trial electric vehicle charging stations in Oxford’s residential streets.

It is estimated that Oxford produces 1,000,000 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide every single year, meaning all these measures have reduced the city’s total CO2 output by 0.6 per cent. However, it is also estimated that the City Council is responsible for just one per cent of total CO2 to Oxford’s air.

Councillor John Tanner, City Executive Board Member for A Clean and Green Oxford, said: “I know the people of Oxford want to do their bit to tackle climate change. Climate change is probably the biggest threat to our children and grandchildren, and to our city.

“The City Council punches well above its weight in tackling climate change but we want to do much more. We are cutting the City Council’s own carbon footprint by five per cent every year because we want to be good example for the rest of the city.   

“This is why we have teamed up with Oxfordshire’s other district councils to launch a set of proposals that will devolve more power to local people and unlock £6bn of funding.”


  • Leys Pools and Leisure Centre, including PV (47tCO2/y), biomass boiler (80tCO2/y) and LEDs (31tCO2/y): 158tCO2/y
  • LEDs and controls at Horspath and Cowley Marsh depots: 111tCO2/y
  • Recent commercial PV installations at Rose Hill Community Centre (31tCO2/y), St Aldate’s Chambers (10tCO2/y), Horspath Depot (22tCO2/y) and Sheltered Housing (24tCO2/y): 87tCO2/y
  • Town Hall high-efficiency boilers upgrade: 48tCO2/y
  • LED lighting in Grade 2-listed Town Hall (Main Hall, including chandeliers; members’ rooms; and 1930s extension): 20tCO2/y