Cumbria’s ambition to become the UK’s first carbon-neutral county

20 January, 2021 | Thomas Devesa
Categories: Climate Change

Winter scene in the popular Lake District National Park

This is the exciting news that the county of Cumbria is aiming to decarbonise by 2037, with tourism, housing, transport and agriculture standing out as the focal areas to cut emissions.

The UK Government has committed to achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, so this announcement is a significant ramping up of ambition at scale. Cumbria is the third largest county by area in England and is a popular tourist destination. The Lake District National Park was visited by 48 million people in 2019 alone.

Last year a Carbon Baseline for Cumbria was produced and found that 49% of Cumbria’s consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions are a result of visitors to the county. Driving being a major factor. This does represent a challenge to achieving carbon neutrality without damaging a key industry in the area.

Sustainable tourism will be top of the agenda. But it is also worth remembering opportunities for decarbonising exist across a multitude of sectors, industries and levels,, from grassroots upwards. To meet the net zero target set, the vast majority of businesses and homes in the county will need to get on board. Is this achievable? Absolutely, but it will take time and investment.

This news represents significant ambition and with the now re-scheduled COP26 taking place in Glasgow later this year, one would expect to see greater ramping up of climate ambitions across the UK. Crucial if we are to meet the UK Government commitment of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.