Our approach

Our carbon footprint

The Carbon Footprint Baseline Report (2018/19), produced by the Carbon Trust, was the first step on our journey to becoming a carbon neutral organisation by 2030.

The Carbon Trust audited our buildings (mainly the Civic Centre and seven Centres for the Community) in winter 2019, collecting extensive data and identifying carbon reduction opportunities.

Our operational carbon footprint for direct operations was equal to 1,236 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) (2018/19). Emissions from council-operated activities primarily come from electricity and gas consumption across council-operated buildings, alongside fuel consumption associated with council-owned vehicles.

Our total carbon footprint was 6,203 tCO2e. Most of our bigger emission sources are buildings we own but lease to others (approx.100 buildings, 4,022 tCO2e) (2018/19). This includes emissions from our leisure centre or those parts of the Civic Centre which we lease out to external organisations such as Surrey County Council or Surrey Police.

Since then we have continued to monitor our carbon footprint and will continue to do so. We also note that we need to improve our data coverage over time. Please find below a summary of our carbon footprint over the last few years. It should be noted that the reduction in emissions shown is due to several reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic, which for instance resulted in less staff commuter miles, and a reduction in energy consumption. The data currently only covers direct emissions from our Civic Centre and Centres for the Community, as well as selected indirect emissions such as staff commute, business miles and water consumption. 

Elmbridge Borough Council's organisational carbon footprint

(Scope 1, 2 and selected Scope 3 emissions)

Emissions in tCO2e


  • 2018-19: 397.2
  • 2019-20: 313.4
  • 2020-21: 207.6
  • 2021-22: 198.3


  • 2018-19: 264.7
  • 2019-20: 379.6
  • 2020-21: 297.3
  • 2021-22: 302.3


  • 2018-19: 5.3
  • 2019-20: 5.3
  • 2020-21: 5.3
  • 2021-22: 1.9


  • 2018-19: 34.2
  • 2019-20: 1.4
  • 2020-21: 1.2
  • 2021-22: 1.2


  • 2018-19: 338.9
  • 2019-20: 70.2
  • 2020-21: 69.6
  • 2021-22: 110.6

Business travel

  • 2018-19: 39.6
  • 2019-20: 36.8
  • 2020-21: 38.4
  • 2021-22: 25.5


  • 2018-19: 156.0
  • 2019-20: 232.1
  • 2020-21: 67.4
  • 2021-22: 67.7

Total tCO2

  • 2018-19: 1,235.9
  • 2019-20: 1,038.7
  • 2020-21: 686.8
  • 2021-22: 707.5

Carbon management and reduction plan

Our Carbon Management and Reduction Plan 2020-2030 is our action plan to reduce carbon emissions and reach our target to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030. The Plan was first published in September 2020, and has been revised. 

The review has been led by the Council’s Climate Change Advisory Panel, which meets regularly to strategically steer the Council’s actions to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2030, and to discuss wider sustainability initiatives. The Panel is a cross-party advisory panel with no delegated decision-making power. However, it can make recommendations to Cabinet where appropriate.

The plan proposes carbon reduction actions in the following areas:

  • Organisation emissions: proposing actions such as solar photovoltaic (solar panel) installations
  • Transport and air quality: proposing a shift to a fully electric council fleet
  • Housing and planning: proposing to engage with homeowners, landlords and residents to promote retrofitting measures and funding opportunities
  • Buildings and infrastructure: making sustainability and carbon considerations integral in the development of the new Local Plan
  • Monitoring and evaluation: monitoring operational carbon emissions and reporting on progress
  • Carbon offsetting: proposing to consider offsetting unavoidable carbon emissions

Surrey’s Climate Change Strategy

We have endorsed the strategic ambitions and priorities of Surrey’s Climate Change Strategy.

The strategy sets out the joint ambition of local authorities across Surrey to address carbon emissions so that residents can live in clean, safe and green communities and embrace their environmental responsibilities. Find out more on A Greener Future for Surrey. 

After the publication of the Surrey Climate Change Strategy in April 2020, Surrey County Council has published a 5-year Climate Change Delivery Plan in November 2021:

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