Devon’s CO2 emissions see ‘profound’ drop during lockdown

Devon’s carbon dioxide emissions have reduced by almost a quarter during the lockdown, according to a new report

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The coronavirus pandemic has offered a glimpse of hope for Devon’s carbon-neutral future.

Data collected on behalf of the Devon Climate Emergency Response Group (DCERG), a group of public, private and voluntary sector bodies working to make Devon carbon-neutral by 2050, suggest the reduction in road transport and energy use has had a ‘profound’ impact on emissions.

Being part of a discussion paper ahead of a Devon County Council meeting, the report says carbon dioxide emissions have reduced by almost a quarter during the lockdown.

Findings of the survey reveal that traffic flows in Devon have reduced by 60%, cutting the county’s total emissions by 17%.

The closure of many buildings has significantly reduced energy use and led emissions to drop a further 6%.

Air quality has also improved with the concentration of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter in the air falling by 50% from last year.

Phil Norrey, Chairman of the DCERG and Chief Executive of Devon County Council, said: “Amongst the sadness of the pandemic there is a huge opportunity to use the economic stimulus measures that are necessary to enable communities to recover, to improve public health, our resilience and our wellbeing as well as address the climate and ecological emergencies.

“There are projects in Devon, for instance, sustainable transport and energy production, that could respond quickly to a cash injection to develop supply chains and skills for a low carbon future.”