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Net zero risk register

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5. Reliance on afforestation to offset carbon emissions

Risk Title and Description

Land Use Change to offset emissions.

Service: Net Zero & Business

Date identified: 15 June 2022

Owner: Net Zero Project Manager

Target implementation date: 2030

Potential Causes:

  • Additional planting of trees causes land use change, removing play areas and other valued land uses
  • Impact of Ash die back on existing tree canopy decreasing carbon stored in ECC trees

Potential Impacts:

  • High expenditure from afforestation
  • Planting trees isn’t reducing emissions, therefore masks existing emissions


Existing Mitigations & Control

What has been done to control the risk?

  • GHG emission savings vary depending on planting of different biomass
  • Carbon Footprint Report set outs definitions of quality criteria needed for offset projects and to use where emissions are unavoidable
  • iTree eco report exploring the Exeter's trees' potential to influence net zero balances commissioned


Further Mitigations & Controls to be put into place

  • P&GS and Planning working on Local Infrastructure Plan which will allocate land for offsetting, Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspaces (SANGs) and Biodiversity Net Gain BNG



Relationship with DWT is key to success.


Risk scores

Inherent risk
Risk Score
Likelihood 3
Impact 3
Risk score 9


Residual risk
Risk Score
Likelihood 2
Impact 2
Risk score 4


Risk scores explained