Zero Carbon Cumbria - Carbon reduction action across the county.

Cumbria's pathway to net zero

We understand the urgency of rapidly reducing Cumbria’s greenhouse gas emissions and building carbon sequestration capacity to prevent further damage from the effects of the climate crisis.

Severe flooding and heatwaves are becoming more frequent, and we need to take immediate action. By working together, we can achieve the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2037. Net zero means that any irreducible emissions from transport, buildings, food production, consumption and other human activities have to be balanced by removal of carbon from the atmosphere by trees, wetlands, improved soil management, and other forms of sequestration.

It is the combination of emissions reduction across all sector groups and increased sequestration that will enable Cumbria to reach net zero.

Here’s how we are doing it.

Cumbria's priority emissions

Analysis of the county's emissions has identified 5 priority areas:

All figures in this pie chart are net emissions in 2019. For consistency, they have been calculated on a GWP100 basis.

For further detail, please see the ‘Summary of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Cumbria’ report.


The scope of emissions included in each priority area

Household consumption

Includes domestic, public and commercial buildings and the emissions associated with the occupancy/operation of these buildings.

Includes all modes of public/private transport, including active travel and visitor travel. It also includes emissions from car manufacture and maintenance. 

On farm emissions

Includes emissions from degrading peat, farming and farm supply chains. It also includes carbon sequestration via woodlands, peatland restoration and improved management of soils and grasslands.

The circular economy in Cumbria

Emissions from household and visitor consumption of food and other products, including emissions associated with the supply chains.

Developing the emissions reduction pathways

Four emissions sector groups have been established, comprising a wide range of organisations and individuals from across Cumbria who have expertise and interests in the activities that create the emissions. The invitation to participate in the sector groups was advertised widely. These groups have met regularly since April 2023 and have developed Emissions Reduction Pathways (ERPs) by:

The process was widely consulted on with members of the partnership, including community groups, young people and other key stakeholders, and steered by the partnership’s  Strategic Oversight Board.

Each group has developed an action plan which sets out how we could tackle the priority emissions associated with their sector. The farming and other land use group has also assessed opportunities to increase carbon sequestration capacity.

Emissions Reduction Pathways

Below are links to sector-specific pathway pages that include all the relevant information to get us to net zero by 2037.

Next steps

The next stage will involve ongoing stakeholder engagement to move the proposed actions forward. In particular: by identifying organisations willing to lead and/or be involved in the various actions, by addressing the challenges identified by the sector groups, and through more detailed project planning.

At the same time, we will bring the four sector-based pathways together to identify areas that can be addressed consistently and collaboratively across all plans whilst recognising the diverse nature and priorities of each sector. The focus of this work will be:

  • Cross-cutting enabling themes – Collaboration with stakeholders, engagement with communities and national government, funding, behaviour change.
  • Research and carbon impact – Improve our understanding where there are data gaps and improve accuracy of carbon and wider impact and mapping against the 2037 target. 
  • Prioritisation and deliverability – Considering current and future resources and highlighting actions with the greatest impact across all sectors.
  • Monitoring and evaluation – Establishing a working group, setting KPIs and accessible, transparent reporting mechanisms. Supporting partners to gather and share data that monitors progress.

The ZCCP is developing a dashboard to monitor and measure key indicators, which will help to provide annual updates and broad emission reduction trends.

It will also help to understand the impact of the delay in getting to this point of establishing a pathway to net zero, from the trajectory baseline in 2019. Ongoing effective monitoring and evaluation from individual partners against an agreed set of indicators will be required to ensure a full picture of the progress can be determined.

The Emissions Reduction Action Plans (ERAPs) will continue to evolve as actions are progressed, and new technology, research or legislation emerge. It should be acknowledged that this is a point in time and planning ahead as far as 2037 has its limitations, and may not align in the short term with current strategies and policy positions.  

Response to climate change is continually moving. Since drafting the action plans, there have already been changes in policy, opportunity and ambition.

Join the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership!

If you are not already involved in the ZCCP and would like to join us, please complete the following form.