Council to invest £12.8million on cutting carbon emissions

Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for environment and public protection said the s

Councillor Richard Rout said the decarbon investment would help save money on running costs - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Community leaders have agreed to spend nearly £13million on cutting carbon emissions from more than 130 libraries, fire stations, council offices, children’s homes and other buildings.

Suffolk County Council's cabinet unanimously agreed to invest the money as part of the fight against the climate crisis.

The plan to decarbonise public service buildings was agreed on Tuesday as part of the energy management plan drawn up following work by a dedicated cross-party climate emergency task force.

Richard Rout, Conservative cabinet member for finance and the environment, said it was a "unique opportunity to increase and maintain momentum", explaining that it was "abundantly clear" more investment was needed to meet the net zero targets.

He said: “The council has a portfolio of wide-ranging buildings including offices and fire stations in both urban and rural locations. Each have different characteristics, infrastructure, operational needs and users.

“We will need to make sure each building gets the most effective solution to specific requirements.”

The £12.8m investment would reduce the council's total energy consumption and reduce running costs of buildings.

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Among measures in the plan are replacing fossil fuel boilers, new solar panel provision, continuing the rollout of LED lights and reviews of heating and ventilation controls, along with improved thermal efficiency and behavioural changes.

Work has been ongoing over recent years to reduce carbon emissions, which has reduced heat and power costs from £7m in 2018/19 to £6.6m last year.

Cllr Andrew Stringer Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Andrew Stringer hoped the project would encourage others to take similar action - Credit: Archant

Estimates suggest the cumulative savings from the switch will also be in excess of £2.4m by 2030, while costs avoided will total more than £5.3m.

Andrew Stringer, leader of the opposition Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group, said he hoped to see maintained schools become a part of the programme, and hoped it would encourage others to work towards their own decarbonisation programmes.

He added: “Even though it feels like we are at the beginning of a journey we are really not.

“We have made international declarations a decade ago about sorting this out and we have done quite a lot of good work in some of our buildings already which we should actually be extolling the virtues of to others.

“It’s not like we are starting from scratch, we have done an awful lot of this and I would like that we be more evangelical to others so they make better decisions as they go on a similar journey to us.”

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