Scottish City Region and Growth Deals: carbon management guidance for projects and programmes

Guidance for project owners on managing carbon emissions associated with Scottish City Region and Growth Deal projects.

6. Project Carbon Categorisation

The Deals programme includes a range of project types of differing scales and in a variety of delivery stages, with many early stage projects having not yet quantified their likely whole life carbon emissions impact.

In this context, to enable a consistent and transparent national approach to assessing and managing the carbon emissions impact of the Deals and their projects, a simple categorisation system has been developed using existing carbon terminology, benchmarked by the likelihood of a project to accord with Scotland's Climate Change Plan.

This categorisation system is based on the concepts of control and influence, i.e. the likely controllable carbon emissions impact of a project and the influence a project will have on carbon emissions beyond its control boundary. The system is suitable for a non-specialist Project Owner, based on project information expected to be available at RIBA Stage 1.

6.1 Carbon Control

Five project carbon emission impact control categories have been developed to enable the initial qualitative assessment of Deal projects. These categories are based on the potential of a project to either directly increase or decrease carbon emissions, as follows:

  • Category 1: Whole life carbon negative - the project directly results in less atmospheric carbon.
  • Category 2: Whole life carbon net zero - the project has no measurable effect on atmospheric carbon.
  • Category 3: Capital carbon increase then operationally net zero - the project will release carbon at the construction stage but will then stop emitting carbon in accordance with relevant net zero targets.
  • Category 4: Capital and operational carbon increase - the project will release carbon at the construction stage then continue to emit carbon, e.g. by burning fossil fuels for heating.
  • Category 5: Operational carbon increase - no construction is planned but the project will result in an increase in operational carbon emissions.

6.2 Carbon Influence

Three project carbon emission impact influence categories have been developed, based on the potential of a project to indirectly influence carbon emissions beyond its control boundary, as follows:

  • Category A: Carbon emissions reduction - the project leads to wider carbon savings through reduced use of fossil fuels.
  • Category B: Negligible effect on wider carbon emissions - the project has no measurable effect on wider carbon emissions.
  • Category C: Carbon emissions increase - the project leads to a wider carbon increase through increased use of fossil fuels.

Project Owners should record the categorisation of their projects using the form contained in Appendix C, to be submitted to the Scottish Government's City Region and Growth Deals Sustainable Development Manager (SDM) for approval.

Project Owners with projects in any of the following categories should investigate the feasibility of improving their carbon categorisation and ensuring alignment with Scotland's Climate Change Plan. This will involve liaison and engagement with the Deals SDM.

  • Control Category 4 (Capital & Operational Carbon Increase);
  • Control Category 5 (Operational Carbon Increase); or,
  • Influence Category C (Indirectly leads to a Carbon Increase).

6.3 Example Project Categories

A selection of hypothetical project examples and their associated carbon emissions impact categories is provided below.

  • Deployment of a new technology for extracting carbon from the atmosphere that extracts more carbon than was emitted to create it. Its success leads to the accelerated uptake of this technology across the country (Category 1A).
  • A skills programme with no specific carbon objectives that involves no construction and is intended to enhance the employability of individuals within a region (Category 2B).
  • A new research centre building that is designed to be operationally net zero (i.e. no fossil fuels will be required to operate it) but will have no measurable bearing on wider carbon emissions (Category 3B).
  • A road that will be operationally net zero, e.g. by using renewable electricity for lighting, but will lead to an increase in vehicle km and associated 'tailpipe emissions' across the region (Category 3C).
  • A building that will have no measurable bearing on wider carbon emissions that is designed to be heated by a gas fired system (Category 4B).
  • An investment programme that results in the growth of a business that is already releasing carbon emissions with no carbon mitigating measures. The success of that business leads to other similar businesses' success (Category 5C).



Back to top