Water industry targets net zero emissions by 2030

The UK’s water industry will today outline how it plans to reach net zero emissions over the next decade, making it the country’s first industrial sector to do so.


Water UK, which represents 25 water and wastewater companies, said that the sector has already cut its operational emissions by 43% since 2011, despite a growing population.

However, after working with consultancy firms Mott MacDonald and Ricardo, it has now finalised a series of carbon reduction proposals to achieve neutrality by 2030.

These include cutting methane and other gases released by wastewater treatment process, and putting in place “cutting-edge systems” to manage energy efficiency.

Self-generated renewable energy, green electricity purchases, biogas to the grid, electric-powered construction equipment, and rolling-out electric vehicles are also planned.

Ahead of an event detailing the measures, Water UK CEO Christine McGourty said: “This new analysis setting out climate-friendly options is an important step forward.”

“The water industry has made an ambitious pledge to achieve net zero carbon by 2030.  It’s a big challenge, but water companies are committed to protecting and enhancing the environment and intend to be part of the solution to the climate crisis.”

Individual companies will use the action plan to inform their own detailed approaches to meeting net zero by 2030, with progress on the net zero carbon goal independently assessed each year and reported publicly.

As well as carrying out carbon reductions, Water UK said that it intends to share its learnings to help other major energy-using industries to deliver their own plans.

The sector’s lead on committing to a carbon zero future by 2030 forms part of the industry’s Public Interest Commitment (PIC) announced last year, with the carbon zero goal being one of five stretching social and environmental ambitions.

“Achieving net zero is part of our industry’s wider commitment to always act in the public interest," said Anglian Water chief executive Peter Simpson.

“Climate change is not just an environmental issue – it’s the defining societal and economic challenge of our time. The issue is a genuine emergency, we have no time to waste."


Image credit: ©iStock


Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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