County Council aims for challenging CO2 emissions target

Greenhouse gas emissions from Buckinghamshire County Council’s energy use have reduced by 28% in the past eight years.

That’s just two per cent off the 2020 target for the public sector set by the Government’s Carbon Reduction Pledge, to which the County Council signed up last month (September).

So Bill Chapple OBE, Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment, has challenged the County Council to raise that figure to 40% before the deadline in two years time.

The County Council, which has been recording and reporting carbon emissions since 2010, has achieved reductions in CO2 emissions largely through energy efficiencies in schools, libraries and council offices, along with a systematic street light replacement programme.

“People are very concerned about climate change, in the light of the current global debate,” said Bill. “I’d like our Council to set an example by striving for the 40% target. It’ll be a big challenge, but if we don’t set ourselves a stretching target, we won’t inspire our residents and businesses to follow our lead.”

In the first five years of its carbon management plan, launched in 2012, theCounty Council made a 10% cut in emissions – more than5,700 tonnes – and saved £530,000 in energy costs.

Between 2011 and 2015 two carbon reduction projects made annual savings of well over half a million pounds and reduced emissions by nearly 3,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

As part of these projects 13 school and adult learning centres had new efficient boilers, LED lighting, roof-mounted solar panels, and energy management systems.

And more than 12,000street lights – the county’s most intensive energy use – were converted to more efficient LEDs.

“All this was a great team effort,” said Bill. “With everyone working together to reduce our carbon footprint, we’re well ahead of expectations.”

Bill said the County Council aimed to reach its 40% target in two years through intensifying its carbon reduction programme: continued investment in LED street light installation, and LED replacement lighting at Aylesbury highways depot, Cressex sport pitches, Stokenchurch community centre and Evreham adult education centre, Iver.

There are other carbon reduction projects in the pipeline, including several in schools, said Bill, but these have yet to be confirmed.