Carbon budget for the Lake District

Setting a local carbon budget

The Lake District National Park Partnership is committed to leading the way on climate change. The Lake District is one of the first local areas to set itself a carbon budget, as part of our Low-carbon Lake District initiative.

The principle behind a carbon budget is simple: like a financial budget, we aim to find out how much carbon the Lake District is responsible for, and then reduce the carbon 'spend' year on year.

Measuring the carbon footprint of the Lake District

In 2010 we commissioned local carbon footprinting experts Small World Consulting (opens in new window) to map the carbon emissions of the National Park. The study revealed the Lake District is annually responsible for consuming 2.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Significant findings include:

  • Visitors travelling to and from the Lake District account for 41 per cent of the total carbon footprint. Encouraging domestic tourism, and longer stays, would reduce this.
  • Road transport is a significant impact, at around a third of total emissions. Reducing dependence on private cars, by both visitors and residents, would reduce carbon and bring social and economic benefits too.
  • The tourism industry, particularly hotels, guest houses, pubs, cafes and restaurants, make up around a quarter of total emissions. Again, carbon saving to be linked to a better visitor offer, through promoting local, seasonal food and drink, and better quality accommodation, for example.
  • Improving home energy efficiency, both for residents of the Lake District and holiday cottages, would reap dividends.

Check out the full Carbon budget for the Lake District National Park (PDF)

Action to reduce emissions

Our target is to reduce emissions by one per cent a year, in line with national statutory carbon budgets established in the in the 2008 Climate Change Act (opens in new window).

The Partnership's Climate Change Group have drawn up a Carbon Budget Action Plan to reduce emissions. Projects include:

  • support to local communities to develop energy projects
  • promoting local food and drink
  • helping land owners to manage land in ways which reduce carbon emissions

The plan is overseen by the full Lake District National Park Partnership. It forms part of the management plan for the National Park, The Partnership's Plan.

It is part of the Low-carbon Lake District initiative, an area-wide strategy to tackle climate change.

How are we doing?

We report progress against our action plan. Our target is to reduce emissions by one per cent a year, through an annual monitoring audit of carbon saving actions in the National Park, including the actions in the Action Plan.

An independent review of carbon savings was carried out in August 2016. This identified measurable carbon savings of approximately 90,000 tonnes of CO2. The full details are available.

For the first time, in 2013, we looked in detail at the carbon savings from renewable energy in the Lake District. There were over a thousand renewable energy installations, saving about 19000 tonnes of carbon. Here is a summary of the research (PDF).

We were very pleased that our pioneering Carbon Budget was recognised in the 2013 Climate Week Awards – we were finalists in the Best Local Initiative category(opens in new window).

Previous progress reports

Working with other local areas

As the first of its kind, the Carbon Budget has attracted considerable interest, with West Sussex and Greater Manchester adopting a similar approach.

We are signatories to Climate Local (opens in new window), an initiative of the Local Government Association, and work with them to spread best practice.

Regionally, we are part of the Northwest Climate Change Partnership (opens in new window), and the support programme CLASP (opens in new window).

In 2012 we gave written oral evidence to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. We are cited in their Consumption-Based Emissions report (opens in new window)

Find out more

Check out Low-carbon Lake District. Or contact Sam Hagon on