Please use this resource if you have questions about how to use SCATTER Inventory or Pathways. Please see the Methodology page for technical information on calculations, data sources and methods used. The FAQ are categorised into the following sections:

  1. General
  2. GHG Emissions Inventory
  3. Pathways


What does SCATTER stand for?

  • Setting City Area Targets and Trajectories for Emissions Reduction

Why was it created and who developed the tool?

  • SCATTER was created to offer local, unitary and county councils the ability to report on authority wide emissions to carbon reporting frameworks, inform the setting of carbon reduction targets and to understand potential pathways to meeting commitments in line with national and international objectives.
  • Anthesis built the tool in partnership with the Midlands Net Zero Hub and with support from national and local government and academics.

Who is involved in the partnership?

  • Anthesis developed the tool in partnership with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Nottingham City Council and The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. The tool was originally piloted with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
  • Anthesis is funded by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ, formerly BEIS) to develop SCATTER.
  • In the development of the Pathways functionality of SCATTER, Nottingham City Council are Anthesis’ key strategic partners.

Who can use SCATTER?

  • SCATTER was built specifically for use by local authorities. Anybody with a ‘.gov.uk’ email can use SCATTER for free at any time. Each Authority will have an account which multiple users from that authority can access upon registration. Those without a ‘.gov.uk’ email addresses are not currently allowed access to the online tool.

How many users can we have?

  • There is no limit to the number of users per account.

I am part of a consultancy, university or other organisation that works with local authorities – can I have access to SCATTER?

  • SCATTER was built to support local authorities to freely access emissions data and create carbon reduction pathways. Where local authorities are working with external bodies in developing climate plans, they can export data from the tool and share as necessary. Only users with a valid local authority ‘.gov.uk’ email domain will be able to login to the online tool. Information on how to use the tool is freely available through the help videos and webinars for all organisations to see.

What does the tool do? How will it help us to reduce our carbon footprint?

  • SCATTER has two main functions: calculating greenhouse gas inventories with carbon reporting outputs, and modelling carbon reduction pathways. Creating a greenhouse gas inventory for a Local Authority allows an organisation to identify the sources of their emissions and where to focus action. SCATTER Pathways outputs are intended to benefit engagement as part of developing a collaborative low carbon plan.

What is its goal?

  • The goal of the tool is to provide a freely accessible, easy way for a Local Authority to:
    • Calculate the area’s current emissions
    • Aid emissions reporting to international standards
    • Develop emissions scenarios to 2050 and identify ways in which to reduce emissions

The tools should be intuitive to use and can calculate the current inventory and scenarios via a user-friendly interface.

Are there any costs associated with using the tool?

  • No, the tool is free to use for local, unitary, combined and county authorities in the UK.

How can I find out what has changed between the different SCATTER tool releases?

  • For both the SCATTER Inventory download and SCATTER Pathways Excel, a change log has been included. The lists the updates that have been made to the tool.

Are there plans to update SCATTER in the future?

  • Future updates on SCATTER are dependent on funding but we are exploring opportunities to update the inventory for the 2020 reporting year.

GHG Emissions Inventory

What has changed in the inventory during the latest update?

  • Data for the 2019 reporting year was developed and uploaded in June 2022. There have been some changes to the source data - an explanation of these compared to the 2018 inventory can be found in the inventory download in the "Data changes 18-19" tab.
  • We are also in the process of adding in the ability to download previous year’s data from the SCATTER website so you will be able to extract 2017, 2018 and 2019 SCATTER data for your Local Authority.

Which carbon reporting frameworks can I access through SCATTER?

Why should I report my carbon emissions?

  • Following the publication of the IPCC 1.5 special report in 2018, there was a shift in Local Authority action and now over 300 Local Authorities have declared a climate emergency and set ambitious carbon reduction commitments.  It is essential that Local Authorities transparently report their progress towards these emission targets and understand where further action is needed.
  • By disclosing to initiatives like CDP, local authorities can better understand their impact and how they can support local, national and international targets.
  • Disclosing environmental data through CDP-ICLEI's Cities questionnaire has a huge number of advantages, from improved engagement to centralising data and tracking progress. CDP provides cities with all publicly available data, evaluates your response, benchmarks your performance against peers and finds areas of opportunity for your city.

Will SCATTER help us to comply with legislation and / or regulatory requirements?

  • There are no regulatory requirements for local authorities to report their area’s emissions. However, cities can voluntarily report to CDP and SCATTER’s emissions report provides the quantitative answers to 'Community-scale Emissions Inventory' questions in the CDP-ICLEI Cities Questionnaire.

When are the benefits and timelines of reporting to CDP-ICLEI Track?

  • CDP is a global disclosure non-profit organisation that helps investors, companies, local authorities, and regions assess their environmental impact and take urgent action to build a sustainable economy. CDP’s platform has opens each year in the spring, allowing for local authorities to measure and monitor their environmental impacts through their questionnaire. Participation in CDP’s program is free. 

  • In 2021, over 50 UK local authorities disclosed to CDP including: Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Manchester. To learn more about the benefits of reporting, please click here.

What parts of the CDP-ICLEI questionnaire does SCATTER assist with?

  • Community-scale Emissions Inventories section

Is the SCATTER inventory externally or internally verified? 

  • SCATTER is not formally verified but we do follow a quality assurance/quality control procedure on the inventory analysis.

What scope does the data cover for greenhouse gas emissions and where can I find out more information about what this means?

  • SCATTER covers direct (Scope 1), indirect (Scope 2) and some wider (Scope 3) emissions. This fulfils the requirements for a BASIC emissions inventory in GPC terms.

  • Activities taking place within a city can generate GHG emissions that occur inside the city boundary as well as outside the city boundary. To distinguish among them, emissions are commonly grouped into three categories based on where they occur:

  • Scope 1 (Direct emissions)

    • GHG emissions from sources located within the city boundary

  • Scope 2 (Indirect emissions)

    • GHG emissions occurring as a consequence of the use of grid-supplied electricity, heat, steam and/or cooling within the city boundary

  • Scope 3

    • All other GHG emissions that occur outside the city boundary as a result of activities taking place within the city boundary

  • For more information on the Scopes listed above, see the GHG Protocol for Cities

What is an inventory, and why is it useful to know?

  • A greenhouse gas emissions inventory collates the sum of emissions arising from different sectors, attributable to a designated area (e.g. a local authority).
  • It is useful to understand where emissions arise and where carbon reduction methods could have the largest impact.

How do I export data?

  • Within the tool there are buttons to download the tables and data being analysed.

Can I access aggregated data for my combined authority in the online tool?

  • Currently the tool does not provide aggregated data for combined authorities. We are working on the best method to provide this aggregation.

What year data is used in the calculations?

  • The data year depends on the dataset, the most recently available is always used where possible. The inventory download shows the the year of each data set.

Where does the inventory data come from?

  • Our approach is based on the Accounting and Reporting Standard developed by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventories. Greenhouse Gas Protocol Guidance.
  • Activity data (fuel consumption, waste arisings, process gas emissions) is multiplied by emissions factors to work out the global warming potential, in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).
  • For more detail on the datasets we used and how the calculations have been carried out, please see the Methodology page.

Can I upload my own data into the online tool to override SCATTER's data?

  • Currently the tool does not allow for upload of data into the model. This phase of SCATTER is focussed on compiling public data sets to provide a standardised emissions profile for all local authorities in the UK.

How do I access my 2017 and 2018 data?

  • We are working on releasing allowing users to download 2017 and 2018 emissions inventories from the site and will update all users when this functionality is live.

Does the reporting tool include emissions data for local authority operations? 

  • The emissions profile created by SCATTER only includes local government operations emissions within the wider area-wide emissions inventory, not as a separate reporting file.


How were interventions chosen?           

  • Interventions were chosen through a combination of feedback and input from the technical panel who were involved in the development of SCATTER, including local authority representatives, consultants and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Research. Measures that would be relevant for all local authorities in the UK were prioritised. As a result, SCATTER does not include measures that are only relevant for a particular local context.

What should I do if certain interventions are not relevant for my local area?

  • The interventions provided in the tool were selected as they have relevance for most local areas in the UK, however, we understand some may not be relevant for certain local contexts. It is not possible to remove or hide specific interventions in the tool.

Why don’t interventions for new housing options include the Future Homes Standard?

How should I use Pathways if my area’s target is sooner than 2050?

  • Pathways is intended to provide an understanding of the speed and scale of emissions reductions that are feasible using only emissions reduction measures and natural sequestration. Whilst the chart demonstrates 2050 as the end point based on the UK’s national net zero target, it is understood that most local authorities have more ambitious net zero targets with a tighter timeframe.
  • You can still use the Pathways tool to compare how far your emissions can be reduced under the selected scenario and compare this to your target. 
  • New functionality has been added to allow users to input their own local Net Zero target to enable comparison of SCATTER scenarios against this and show the gap to target.