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Green light for initiatives to slash county council’s carbon footprint

SOMERSET County Council has approved major investment to help save hundreds of tonnes of carbon every year.

Earlier this year, Somerset County Council successfully bid for £4.1m from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to make public buildings more energy efficient.

The funding will enable decarbonisation projects across a number of council-owned buildings. Now the county council has approved further funding to ensure the projects at County Hall and Taunton Library can go ahead.

The work will include the installation of heat pumps to either replace or supplement existing gas heating systems, replacing windows with double glazing, upgrading building insulation, improving building ventilation systems and installing solar panels.

Reduce carbon output

A council spokesperson said: “The implementation of these combined schemes in Taunton is expected to reduce the carbon output of our property estate significantly.

“In doing so, the project will directly contribute towards Goal 1 of the county’s Climate Emergency Strategy, which is to ‘decarbonise Local Authorities, the wider public sector estates and reduce our carbon footprint’.”

Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Cabinet Member for Economic Development & Community Infrastructure, said: “We are determined that Somerset, its people and businesses, will continue to thrive and prosper as we adapt to and mitigate against the effects of Climate Change.

“These improvements will significantly reduce the County Council’s carbon footprint and will help contribute to our ambitious plans to reduce Somerset’s carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.”

More efficient

Cllr Mandy Chilcott, Cabinet Member for Resources, added: “This investment in our property estate will allow us to reduce our reliance on gas by moving to more efficient energy systems and reduce demand for energy with improved insulation.

“We’re not only doing our bit to save the planet, we’ll also save money on running costs for these public buildings for many years to come.”

The spokesperson added: “In November 2020 all five councils gave the green light to implement a plan for Somerset to go carbon neutral by 2030.

“The Somerset-wide Climate Emergency Strategy considers how climate change will impact the county  and describes what is needed to do to cut our emissions and build resilience to the likely risks that may arise.

“Somerset County Council then launched the Somerset Climate Emergency Community Fund to give £1 million to community groups for green initiatives.”

The full Climate Emergency Strategy and summary strategy can be reviewed at www.somerset.gov.uk/climate-emergency

 

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