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Net Zero Cotswolds



As part of our Climate Crisis Commitment, we are keen to improve our carbon literacy and inspire policy makers, organisations, businesses and individuals to work together to help establish a path towards net zero in the Cotswolds National Landscape. We have combined in-house collaboration, industry expertise, local stakeholder engagement and partnership working to help us understand the current baseline for greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and to identify potential pathways.

Climate emergency

There’s no denying that we are in the midst of a climate crisis: global and UK average temperatures have increased by around 1.2˚C since the 1850–1900 period. UK Government has now set a national target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to net zero by 2050. But what does that mean in the Cotswolds?

Starting with research

Having recognised the need to become more ‘carbon literate’, we commissioned Small World Consulting to report on current carbon levels in the Cotswolds, and the following key findings are of particular interest:

    • The carbon footprint of Cotswold residents is around 26% higher than the UK average
    • To meet net zero by 2050 in the Cotswolds, we need to decrease our use of energy or greenhouse gas emissions from energy production by about 14% a year
    • Cotswolds residents’ per capita footprint from flying is over 2.5 times higher that the UK average
    • About 1/3 of an individual’s carbon footprint relates to food and drink – but in the Cotswolds, our food and drink footprint is around 10% above the UK average
    • About half of the carbon footprint of visitors to the Cotswolds (excluding flights) is attributable to food and drink
    • Emissions from household electricity and driving are, respectively, around 35% and 30% higher in the Cotswolds than for an average UK resident.

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Download the full Small World Consulting report here

Download our 18 page ‘layman’s guide’ here

Thinking individually, collectively, and differently…

There are many factors at play producing these hard-hitting figures, but what is undeniable is that to make improvements, we all need to act – and we need to act now.

    • Can frequent business flyers choose to fly less?
    • Can we insulate our homes better, or more?
    • Can we use or switch to green energy?
    • Can we change our working practices to work from home more, and travel less?
    • Can we holiday in the UK instead of flying abroad?
    • Can we reduce our red meat consumption?
    • Can we buy lower carbon footprint food and drink, and support local farmers more?

The suggestions above are all choices and actions we can make as individuals. But we also need to scale up… what can businesses do to help, and what landscape-scale choices can we make to help towards decarbonization?

    • How do we better employ cover crops?
    • How do we support farmers to minimise tillage?
    • Should we reduce the amount of livestock in the landscape?
    • How do we harness renewable energies?
    • How can nature recovery help the climate emergency?
    • How can pubs and restaurants decarbonise their menus?

Importantly, how can all these options be employed and combined so that the needs of society are balanced with the needs of the environment?

What next?

Working towards a net zero Cotswolds is ambitious.
Decreasing annual energy use by 14% will be a challenge.
But we must all make changes.

Listening to people, communities and organisations

With the aim of building a meaningful dialogue with those who understand the Cotswolds, throughout winter 2023 we ran a successful series of public workshops, hosted by 3Keel Sustainability Consultants.

The workshops explored the recommendations of the Small World Consulting report, and were themed around energy, transport, food and drink, and land use and management – with key stakeholders invited to each. Over 250 people attended the workshops, representing parish, town, district, unitary and county councils; farmers and land managers; visitor economy businesses; environmental charities; transport operators; energy businesses and more.  3Keel used the results from the workshops to produce a report: “achieving consensus on a pathway to net zero and resulting action plan”, which the CNL Board approved in February 2024. The report provides a clear mandate for our team to lead, co-ordinate and support climate action in the Cotswolds National Landscape – the time for action is now.

Download and read the 3Keel report here

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