Decarbonisation plans for Babcock's Pathfinder sites

Babcock International Group (Babcock) is an international defence company operating in the UK, Australasia, Canada, France, and South Africa. The company provides a range of products and service solutions to enhance defence capabilities and critical assets. Babcock has a deep understanding of technology integration and engineering, infrastructure management and specialist training.

With operations spanning the globe, Babcock operates a vast estate, with sites ranging from large complex dockyards and workshops to aircraft hangers and small office sites.

Energy Systems Catapult has supported Babcock in developing decarbonisation plans which detail the journey to achieving Net Zero across 20 land and mission system sites. A key deliverable for the earlier sites was providing training and upskilling of Babcock’s environment team to support and enable the delivery of Net Zero.

The Innovation

Energy Systems Catapult used a whole energy system approach to develop outline site decarbonisation plans for the 20 sites with very different settings, operations, and infrastructures. This has provided Babcock with a basis to make future decisions on energy, infrastructure, and buildings to achieve their 2040 operational carbon reduction target and make significant progress towards full value chain Net Zero by 2050.

By linking decarbonisation plans, Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) requirements and ongoing capital works plans, the Catapult supported Babcock to prepare an integrated energy plan outlaying indicative capital requirements, economic benefits, and the best technology options.

The Challenge

To meet science-based targets in line with a 1.5°C limit to global warming, Babcock has launched an ambitious “Plan Zero 40” programme, including the requirement for site decarbonisation plans at many of their sites. Babcock’s key challenges are:

  • Understanding the best options for decarbonising its estate and sites;
  • Establishing a bottom-up best practice, whole system approach to decarbonisation;
  • Building internal capability to develop and deliver Net Zero plans;
  • Building on existing work on the Greenhouse Gas Inventory Tool and science-based target setting across the Babcock portfolio;
  • Working with customers and internal stakeholders to determine the best course for investment based on asset replacement cycle and leasing arrangements;
  • Providing Babcock senior leadership team with understanding and evidence regarding plans, business cases and commitments to decarbonisation.

The Solution

The Catapult worked with Babcock to:

  • Establish Net Zero concept designs setting out how to decarbonise their sites in line with best practice and their future plans;
  • Develop a repeatable and scalable approach specifically for Babcock, based on the Catapult’s experience leading the Modern Energy Partners (MEP) programme;
  • Establish archetypes to support the development of further decarbonisation plans;
  • Conduct stakeholder engagement with the sites during the decarbonisation planning process and support to identify investment requirements;
  • Provide support, training and shadowing for the development of Babcock’s environment team by providing learning and insight, and guiding the team through the approach and options;
  • Develop evidence on the technology, costs and interactions needed for decarbonisation, which can be considered and applied to other sites.


A clear, comprehensive outline plan was developed setting out standardised processes and evidencing the lowest-cost route to decarbonisation for the 20 sites. ’No regrets’ indicate the immediate actions that could be taken to reduce their carbon footprint and support the delivery of Net Zero. Babcock and relevant third parties will be able to integrate and build on existing approaches, datasets (e.g. existing carbon baselining) and projects, providing recommendations on how processes could be amended to aid future scale up. The processes developed by the Catapult are actionable on a wide range of large and small sites in different regulatory environments and the approach can be replicated across Babcock’s, and other’s estates. Capability has also been enhanced at all levels within Babcock to ensure the plans can be effectively delivered.

Luke Tattersall, Babcock Group Head of Environment said:

“Working with the Catapult has helped us to understand our options for decarbonisation and identify opportunities to collaborate with our partners as we transition to Net Zero.”

David Morland, Land Sector HSE and Sustainability Director said:

“Energy Systems Catapult have been instrumental in providing the technical and commercial pathway for the decarbonisation of assets in our operational control. This information is built into our long-term plans and capital expenditure profile, allowing us to model our decarbonisation profile and support the latest regulatory reporting requirements.”

Mike Stitson, Deputy Head of Environment, Health and Safety Missions Systems said:

“Babcock has a longstanding relationship with the Catapult and our involvement has been a really helpful and positive experience. Keeping us informed throughout the process, their collaborative approach saw them work with key team members from within the Catapult and Babcock, to ensure they had the right information for on-time delivery of carbon reduction plan recommendations.”

Next Steps

Babcock will seek to implement the energy efficiency quick wins identified in the decarbonisation plans at their sites monitoring and measuring the CO2 savings etc.  They have already started to make progress at Bovington, where Babcock maintain the army’s fighting vehicles. Here Babcock have been working with the army team to plan and deliver the next phase of the decarbonisation plan, which includes the installation of PV cells to the roof of the main workshops.

The Catapult is continuing to support Babcock to collaborate with organisations such as the Army with the view to tackling decarbonisation at some of the most important military sites in the UK.

Energy Systems Catapult also continues to work with private sector organisations to enable them to use similar approaches to complex and varied sites in other sectors.

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Decarbonising Babcock's Pathfinder sites

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