The water company today (7 July) became the latest firm to sign up the Review – a joint initiative between industry leaders and government ministers that aims to reduce carbon in infrastructure.

Six pledges

Yorkshire Water’s six new targets for reducing carbon emissions include:

  • Halve carbon emissions in any new assets built by 2020.
  • Measuring and monitoring carbon emissions to inform future investment decisions.
  • Completing sustainability risk assessments.
  • Trialling at least three innovative water management solutions over the next three years to reduce emissions.
  • Securing certification to the Asset Management Standard to embed sustainability into business procedures.
  • Continue to reduce carbon emissions while maintaining Carbon Trust Standard certification.


The firm has already reduced its carbon emissions by 18% since 2008/9, with electricity consumption falling 10% since 2009/10. Electricity costs account for 75% of the company’s total emissions, with the firm saying generating electricity from renewable energy sources is set to become part of its plans.

Yorkshire Water’s lead sustainability advisor Thom Cooper said: “We endorse the Infrastructure Carbon Review and agree that we should play a leading role in reducing carbon in the infrastructure sector.

“Despite already making significant progress to cut our own operational emissions, which reduced by 30,000 tonnes in 2014, we know we can do more to establish ourselves as a leading sustainable company and these six pledges will help to achieve this.”

The company has begun investment in low-carbon measures to offset its emissions, with the installation of a wind turbine at a facility in Leeds providing 10% of the site’s energy needs.

Yorkshire Water also invested in new energy-from-waste technology to generate power from sewage sludge at its Esholt site, helping the site achieve carbon neutral status.

New best practice

Government chief construction advisor Peter Hansford said: “If emerging best practice is delivered across the infrastructure sector, an annual saving of 24 million tonnes of carbon dioxide could be achieved by this date to help meet the target. This will also help save the UK economy up to £1.46 billion a year.”

Other water providers made moves to lower their carbon footprint. Thames Water announced in May this year it would go 100% renewable after signing a deal with Haven Power. Renewable energy for the firm will come from biomass capacity at the Drax power plant in Yorkshire.

Matt Field

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie