Emissions Data and Methodology for Scottish Inland Ferries: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Information requested

1. The data and methodology used to derive the emissions percentage for Scottish ferries as stated in the document mentioned above, (I am particularly interested in ferries considered part of local authorities’ regional area-wide emissions in scopes).

2. Any explanations or clarifications regarding how and where the data was sourced, as well as details on the calculations performed, including activity data and emissions conversion factors.

3. If available, separate emissions data by local authority, such as Orkney, Shetlands, and Western Isles.


As the information you have requested is 'environmental information' for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the 'public interest test'. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the informationoutweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

The answer to your question is:

In early 2020 Transport Scotland requested annual fuel use data from ferry operators.

Shetland Islands Council Ferries, Pentland Ferries, Serco NorthLink, Orkney Ferries (Orkney Islands Council), John O’Groats Ferries, Clyde Marine Services, CalMac, Argyll & Bute Council, Highland Ferries (Highland Council) and Skye Ferry provided either fuel consumption data or alternative data which was used to estimate fuel consumption.

Some other operators did not respond and in those cases Transport Scotland estimated fuel use for their vessels where possible (a formula was used to estimate fuel consumption for each operator’s vessels, based on engine power, predicted speed, predicted trip distance, and estimated number annual trips based on published timetables).

For most operators, the annual data used was for 2018-19 when service levels were broadly similar to current levels on most routes. The conversion factors used are the CO2e factors for marine gas oil and marine fuel oil depending on vessel fuel type from the fuels tab of the UK Government GHG Factors for Company Reporting 2019 spreadsheet.

A breakdown of the estimated emissions data, including for each local authority ferry operator, is set out below:


The total carbon emissions across all ferries were divided by those reported for all transport including international shipping and aviation in 2018 in the Carbon Account for Transport 2020 edition to produce the 1.7% figure.

Many ferry routes cross local authority boundaries and therefore we have not attempted to calculate emissions per local authority.

I would be happy to discuss this with you further.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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