SPRI shows overall decline in greenhouse gases from Scottish industry

  02 October 2015
Figures released by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) today (2 October) have shown a 9% drop in total greenhouse gases emissions from industrial sources from 2013 to 2014.

The Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory (SPRI) also shows a general decreasing trend in total emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) since 2007.

The table below provides a breakdown of the main GHG constituents and their individual changes and trends.

Greenhouse gas pollutant 2013 - 2014 change  2007 - 2014 trend Number of sites reporting
2007 2014
Carbon dioxide (CO2)  9% decrease 28% decrease 90 88
Methane (NH3)   9% decrease 40% decrease 106 107
Nitrous oxide (N2O)   14% increase 38% decrease 10 6
Sulphur hexafluoride (SH6)  21 % increase 50% decrease 4  4
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)   52 % decrease 14 % increase 4 7
Perfluorocarbons (PFCs)   136% increase 4 % increase 5 4
Total 9% decrease 28% decrease     

The two largest contributing GHG in terms of number of sites reporting and emissions are carbon dioxide and methane, and they drive the overall GHG trend. The other four have far fewer reporting sites and therefore the annual emissions and overall trend are much more sensitive to changes at individual sites. These changes can include sites closing, new sites starting, increase or decrease in production capacity and volumes, operational or monitoring changes, accidental releases, economic factors etc.

Access to the SPRI database is available at www.sepa.org.uk/spri 

The primary objective of SPRI is to make the emissions releases and waste transfer information available to the public, while fulfilling European reporting requirements of the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register Regulation. The information is provided by individual operators and SEPA publishes it online to provide policy makers, academics and the public with information on the type and quantity of pollutants released by operators.

Martin Marsden, Head of SEPA’s Environmental Quality Unit, said:

“It is good news that emissions of greenhouse gases from industrial sources continue to fall. This will contribute to the achievement of Scotland’s 2020 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42%.”

Using the data

A range of people currently use the data available and the SPRI Spotfire tool available on Scotland’s Environment website makes this easier to use and understand. Accessible at www.environment.scotland.gov.uk/get-interactive/data/scottish-pollution-release-inventory-spri/ the interactive site enables users to look at what they are interested in, whether site specific or national trends.

• The raw data can be easily downloaded so that it can be interrogated in whatever way you wish – popular with academics.

• The Waste Transfers overview allows you to looks at waste sectors, individual sites or local authority areas (or a combination) to see what waste is going for disposal or recovery. It can separate out whether the transfer destination is within the UK and what is being exported out with the UK, and whether it is hazardous or non-hazardous – popular with local authorities and those working in the waste management industry.

• The pollutant overview tab provides access to data in six categories (air, land, radioactive substances in air, radioactive substances in water, waste water and water). Again you can look for an individual pollutant, or look by local authority level and facility – popular with those interested in what is in their local area, and those looking to understand how legislation changes have impacted emissions over time. All tabs in Spotfire (except the data download one) will show you an interactive map of Scotland with a circle for each relevant site. To select more than one site you can drag your mouse over an area of the map to get the information for every site in an overview – this is particularly helpful for looking at the data on a national level.



Notes to editors

• Graphs showing the levels of all the pollutants shown in the table above can be downloaded from our media centre. Please do note that the units of measurement vary according to the pollutant.

• The information provided in the SPRI is not used by SEPA either to set conditions of, or to assess operator compliance with, the conditions of their licence or permit.

• The Inventory provides information on releases to air and water 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.

• The 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.

• The Scottish Pollutant release Inventory (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 is provided by operators and SEPA publishes it online to provide policy makers, academics and the public with information on the type and quantity of pollutants released by operators.

• While there has been some variation in emissions between the six greenhouse gases, the aggregated total has fallen due to falls in the most commonly occurring gases. Those gases that have seen an increase only account for 2.5% of Scotland’s total emissions.

• Information on Scotland’s work on climate change, including targets and programmes can be found on the Scottish Government website at www.gov.scot/Topics/Environment/climatechange