Independent Review of the 2021 CDP submission based on SCATTER by Newcastle City Council

Richard Kotter, Xuewu Dai, Oliver Heidrich, Stephanie Chu

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review

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Abstract

The path to Net-Zero is always a complex one. Newcastle City Council has long been a leader on green city and climate policy, recently has developed the Net Zero Newcastle: 2030 Action Plan and currently is a CDT tier-A city (based on its 2020 submission). In 2020 Newcastle City Council (NCC) made a Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) submission for the first time. NCC deems this as a successful submission, which scored highly (A score) as a city. NCC therefore set the bar high and need to maintain that standard going forwards, especially with COP looming. To this end, one of the areas where NCC can improve its 2021 submission is to have an independent evaluation of our emissions inventory for the city, which by and large is based on national data which is extrapolated to local level and is largely based on the attached analysis through a tool called SCATTER which has been developed by Anthesis and made available to UK Local Authorities through a time-limited grant support from BEIS [central government]. This exercise was undertaken jointly by Northumbria and Newcastle universities, in a pro-bono activity in their guise as civic universities supporting the implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including as members of the COP26 Universities Network1 which both Northumbria and Newcastle University are part of. The independent evaluation took its cue from initial suggestions from NCC to verify – as far as possible within the time frame and the resources at hand - its 2021 SCATTER-based CDP submission (data, questionnaire, and local proxy data suggestions for the future) and to provide some general advice on how NCC (alongside its partners across the city and region) could potentially improve its disclosure and data strategy (including and especially with a more bottom-up one) in the future. A series of (online) meetings took place between NCC colleagues and the independent evaluations over June and July 2021, including an audit-style one where NCC colleagues demonstrated how they access and use the SCATTER tool, and obtain the data from there. Live questions were asked by the independent evaluators in the meeting, in addition to a list of questions that was shared with the NCC team only some hours before this audit-style meeting. NCC colleagues made a series of documents and data files available during the course of the exercise, including some reference examples after the audit-style meeting. The cross-universities independent evaluation team considers that Newcastle city Council is engaging well with the process and procedure of the SCATTER-based CDP disclosure activity, is committed to understand better inventory and the data pre-populated by the Anthesis Group for its submission, is clearly on the way to consider potential improvements for the future which may also rest (partly) on a more bottom-up (locally generated and verified data). The evaluators have made some comments on the SCATTER tool and methodological approach in this report, and furthermore discuss in general terms some of the current limitations. The report also provides some general pointers as to how a more bottom-up data strategy could be built in the future for both CDP-compliant disclosure, but also to consider the links between data recording and interventions/policy impacts on the journey towards Net Zero (or carbon neutrality) via meeting the city’s 2030 carbon emission reductions target.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNorthumbria University
Number of pages76
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2021

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