Covid lockdown saw bigger drop in CO2 in a year in Bristol than in the previous decade

There was a 20% drop in emissions in Bristol from 2019 to 2020 Credit: PA

Carbon dioxide emissions from traffic dropped by a fifth in Bristol in 2020 because of lockdown restrictions, according to new data.

Emissions in the city fell from 556,100 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019 to 443,400 in 2020.

The 20% drop in emissions in Bristol was larger than the decline over the previous decade.

The Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy publishes data about how much carbon dioxide is emitted from local authority areas across the country.

The emissions data report said: "Overall UK emissions in 2020 fell by 9% largely due to reductions in road traffic and business activity as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting restrictions.

"These statistics allow local authorities to track their greenhouse gas emissions trends over time, and measure progress against any targets they have.

"At a national level, transport greenhouse gas emissions saw a decrease of 18% in 2020 compared to 2019.

"Every local authority in the country saw a decrease in transport emissions."

E-scooters have been rolled out in Bristol since October 2020 to introduce more sustainable transport modes Credit: Voi

What is the importance of carbon dioxide emissions?

Carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases – methane and nitrous oxide – help the atmosphere to retain heat.

The more carbon dioxide is emitted, the warmer the planet will get.

This week, the South West and other parts of Britain saw record-breaking extreme temperatures, with experts predicting more regular heatwaves in future.

Household energy use now emits the most carbon dioxide of all sectors in Bristol - it represents 37% of all emissions.

About three-quarters of household carbon emissions come from gas, with the rest coming from electricity.

Household emissions fell by less than 3% between 2019 and 2020, but have dropped by almost 40% over the past decade.

Bristol’s carbon dioxide emission plans

The latest emissions data has a two-year time lag, meaning it’s still unclear how much carbon dioxide Bristol emitted last year.

Emissions from road traffic have likely since shot back up again after Covid restrictions were lifted.

But the data stretches back to 2005 and it shows total carbon emissions in Bristol have dropped by 50% in the past 15 years.

The report shows Bristol’s progress on hitting its target of net zero emissions.

The Voi e-scooter scheme in Bristol is set to be expanded to cover six new parts of the city.

It means almost half a million people in the city will now have access to the e-scooters, with Voi's operating zone increasing by almost a third to nearly 60 square miles.

The scheme first started as a trial in October 2020 but has since been extended until November 2022.

Bristol also plans to implement a Clean Air Zone later in 2022.

Credit: Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service