Carbon footprint

An ambitious scheme which will map Leicester’s carbon footprint is being undertaken by De Montfort University.

An ambitious scheme which will map Leicester’s carbon footprint is being undertaken by De Montfort University (DMU).

The £2.6m 4M project – which stands for Measurement, Modelling, Mapping and Management – is believed to be the first of its kind and will be conducted by the university’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD).

Researchers will investigate how much carbon dioxide the city produces and then look at ways it can be cut. It is believed to be the first-time the impact of an entire city on the environment has been measured.

They will do this by calculating the emissions from traffic and energy use in the home and the effect of green spaces – known as ‘carbon sinks’ – for ‘soaking up’ CO2 emissions. Experts will then compare the sources and sinks of carbon with the social and economic well-being of Leicester’s 270,000 population.

Academics will also look at how changing road networks, better public transport, maintaining green spaces and using low energy power and lighting can reduce the city’s carbon footprint, as well as investigating how Individual Carbon Trading Schemes (ICTs) (where households are given an annual carbon allowance) would work.

‘This is a very ambitious project and we believe it will be the first time the carbon footprint of an entire city has been reliably measured,’ said IESD director, Prof Kevin Lomas.

‘As the problem of climate change becomes more and more apparent, we have to look at ways to reduce carbon emissions. The 4M project will allow us to look at how it can be done in a city-wide way. Leicester was chosen as it is an average sized city so the findings can relate to similar cities across the country. Our findings will enable other cities to look at suitable ways of reducing their carbon footprint,’ he added.

The IESD researchers will lead the project, working with Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield Universities with support from Leicester City Council.

The work is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through the Sustainable Urban Environment programme.