The Environment Agency (EA) aims to become a net zero carbon organisation by 2030, 20 years ahead of national commitments. The Agency’s plans to achieve net zero include reducing emissions by 45%, combined with practice carbon offsetting techniques to address remaining emissions.

As part of the challenge of achieving net zero, every part of the organisation will produce a carbon reduction plan, including ways to save energy and reduce transport emissions. The regulators will also be working with their own suppliers and other stakeholders to explore how they can reduce their carbon footprint. Approaches to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are relatively well documented and the EA is confident it will meet the 45% emissions reduction target. The bigger challenge will be on how to meet the full net zero target through offsetting of residual emissions.

The EA says it has reviewed the evidence behind 17 different carbon offsetting approaches, which included mainly nature-based solutions and a smaller number of built environment approaches. Some of the nature-based solutions currently being considered include, woodland creation, upland and lowland peat restoration, hedges, floodplain restoration, grassland and better soils management. Built environment solutions include renewable energy, low carbon heating systems, improved building insulation, reducing water consumption, building with timber and low carbon transport.