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More success for council in improving green footprint

Published Friday 6 July 2018

The district council has dramatically reduced its carbon footprint by nearly a third in the last 10 years.

Recent figures, published by Harborough District Council in its carbon emissions inventory, show that the council’s overall carbon emissions from gas, electricity, and vehicle fuel, have been reduced by 32.5% since 2008.

This has been achieved by such improvements as more efficient lighting and initiatives such as green travel plans, as well as work with contractors on fuel-efficiency training. The council’s waste services has also delivered yearly savings, despite an increasing number of properties to collect bins from.

Cllr James Hallam, Harborough District Council’s portfolio holder for finance and assets, said: “As a public organisation we want to lead by example when it comes to being energy-efficient. This latest report is very positive and we are currently working on new ways to reduce costs and improve our green footprint even further.”

The Symington Building – owned by the council and used as its headquarters as well as accommodation for other organisations and businesses – had its lifts refitted in 2017. This has improved energy-efficiency - reducing carbon emissions electricity usage by nearly 20% - despite increased use of the building over the past decade. The Symington Building has also provided premises for a number of local public organisations freeing up public buildings elsewhere (eg. Job Centre, Brooklands House, Registry Office) creating wider savings to councils and the taxpayer.

In the last year, carbon emissions due to electricity use at Harborough Market, owned by the council, have been reduced by nearly a quarter (108 tonnes to 85 tonnes) thanks mainly to the installation of solar panels on the roof of the building. This has resulted in council savings of £2,600 as well as generating £4,000 of revenue from the Feed in Tariff (FiT) – a government programme designed to promote the uptake of renewable and low-carbon electricity generation technology.

The total emissions from both gas and electricity at the council-owned leisure centres in Lutterworth and Market Harborough were 8% lower than last year – thanks in part due to new energy-saving equipment.

The council’s gas usage, as a whole, has increased slightly in the last year – due to the extremely cold and prolonged winter weather; however usage is still lower than in 2008. Higher gas usage in the last year has also been offset by ongoing reductions in electricity usage.

The council’s carbon emissions inventory report collates data on Harborough District Council’s use of energy for both its own services and those services commissioned by the council.