Carbon dioxide emissions from Scottish industry drop to four year low

date02 October 2012

Figures released by Scotland's environment watchdog today (2 October) show that emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from industry fell in 2011.

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The Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory (SPRI) contains emissions returns from operators. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) collates and publishes them to provide information about the scale of < emissions, energy use and climate change and help make data available for policy makers, academics and the public.

The results show that CO2 levels have come back down after an increase in 2010, which was attributed to extra energy production during the extremely cold winter. The reduction is also largely due to reduced running hours from Cockenzie and Longannet. CO2 emissions have now fallen by over three million tonnes since 2008.

SPRI provides a summary of the emissions over the year and is not used by SEPA as a direct regulatory tool, there are specific monitoring programmes used to assess compliance with the strict conditions in site licences. However, where SEPA has seen a dramatic change in data we are investigating and ensuring that operators have used the correct readings, models and calculations. This means that the quality of the data received should continue to improve in the coming years.

Jim Pritchard, SEPA's Data Unit Manager, said:

SPRI is a very useful tool for informing people about the scale of emissions, energy use and climate change and helps make data available for policy makers, academics and the public. It provides a valuable picture of the amount of pollutants released in Scotland but it is important to understand that it is not a league table and does not display the "best" and "worst" performers across the country. The figures relate to mass emissions and not concentrations, so they cannot be directly linked to health, air or water quality standards. SEPA regulates these releases ensuring they are within health and environmental standards."

Full access to the SPRI database is available online. It can be searched by a number of ways including; map, pollutant and industry sector.

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Notes to editors

More information on SPRI is available on our website.

Some returns are still being audited by SEPA and will show up in the system as "not yet agreed". The results will be published as soon as the verification process is complete.

The Inventory only provides information on releases from industry and does not include other sources such as transport.

Information on releases to air and water are included, as well as transfers of waste for the calendar year from selected SEPA regulated activities. It is accompanied by supporting information on the chemical substances concerned and contextual pollutant health information.  SPRI is a publicly accessible electronic database available via SEPA's website of releases of pollutants to all environmental media and transfers of waste that will:

  • deliver the system by which Scotland will comply with the requirements of a Community Regulation on the implementation of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register;
  • help facilitate discussion and public participation in environmental matters and decision making;
  • aid delivery of data for policy makers, academics and the public;
  • support the prevention and reduction of pollution;
  • allow comparison of releases within industry and with other types of releases in Scotland, the UK and Europe e.g. road traffic and domestic heating, where such data is available;
  • provide generic information on the pollutants.

SPRI is not a regulatory tool but is a reporting requirement and contains information collected by SEPA in accordance with the requirements of a Community Regulation on the implementation of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register. The information provided is not used by SEPA either to set conditions of, or to assess operator compliance with, the conditions of their licence or permit.