Council success in improving ‘green footprint’

Published Friday 22 January 2016

The district council has dramatically improved its green footprint in the past few years – having cut some carbon emissions by nearly half.

Recent figures, published by Harborough District Council, show that in just over five years emissions, from heating by gas and vehicle fuel, have been reduced by 45.3% since 2008. This is encouraged by such improvements as more efficient boilers and initiatives such as green travel plans, home-based working, and work with contractors on fuel-efficiency training.

Due to the increased number of organisations using The Symington Building, which the district council owns and which has been recently-refurbished, and the fact Harborough Market – one of the council’s key assets – is now open six days a week; there has been an increase in electricity usage in the last year; however emissions are still nearly 40 per cent lower now compared to 2008, as a baseline year. All of the council’s electricity, supplied by its energy provider, comes from ‘green’ – or renewable – sources.

Next year should see a further fall in electricity-related emissions thanks to the introduction in 2015 of solar panels and energy-saving lighting at Harborough Market.

Last year, Harborough District Council adopted Climate Change Action Plan which requires an annual report on carbon emissions, and a commitment to improving energy efficiency at all council-owned buildings including The Symington Building, Harborough Market, Settling Rooms, and the Harborough Innovation Centre. The council has also adopted a Green Travel Plan, which encourages car sharing, cycling to work and low carbon transport choices.

Cllr Phil King, Harborough District Council’s portfolio with responsibility for finance and assets, said: said: “We are committed to saving money and operating as efficiently as possible. The information gleaned from this emissions report has pinpointed some cost-effective savings as a result of energy saving improvements. We will continue to look at more opportunities to utilise renewable energy and expect to see even more savings when next year’s report is published.”