Eleven million tonnes.

That is the amount of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions which Cumbria needs to cut in order to move towards becoming a net zero county. If it seems like a big ask, that’s because it is.  

However, the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership - which commissioned the report on greenhouse gas emissions which arrived at the figure - is hard at work to try and encourage residents, visitors, businesses and the public sector to all do their bit to achieve this target by 2037.

In September the partnership released their report which was compiled by Small World Consulting, based at Lancaster University and led by respected carbon foot printing researcher and writer Mike Berners-Lee.

Although it does not claim to be 100 per cent accurate, the report is being used as an indicator of the areas where Cumbria is emitting carbon and where it can make reductions in the coming years. 

The partnership is made up of around 80 organisations and individuals, including Cumbrian local authorities, the Lake District National Park Authority, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and a wide range of community groups.

Its strategic oversight board includes the cabinet members overseeing climate change policy for both Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness Councils and Cumbria Tourism managing director Gill Haigh.

The board is chaired by Steve Curl, who has a long track record chairing engineering and software businesses as well as previously being the transport and infrastructure board member for Cumbria LEP. The partnership itself is co-chaired by the University of Cumbria and Cumbria Action for Sustainability. 

“The emissions report has drawn on hundreds of different inputs and datasets to look at what ought to be achievable,” said Steve. “It’s not accurate to the nearest tonne but it is a very good guide to the scale of the different issues that need to be addressed.”

The report outlines the amount of emissions connected to different activities in the county, revealing that industry and other businesses are directly responsible for 3.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.

These figures exclude land use and farming, which is responsible for over two million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. The report identifies 11 priority areas which the county can focus on to reduce emissions.