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Gedling Borough Council reveal they would need to pay almost £1m to help make Arnold HQ energy efficient

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Gedling Borough Council would need to contribute almost £1m to help make its headquarters more energy efficient and better for the environment.

In March 2022, the Labour-run authority approved its Carbon Management Strategy and Action Plan, which details more than 100 initiatives to ensure the council achieves net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Net zero is when the amount of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere is reduced proactively, and whatever is added is no more than what is taken away.

It differs from carbon-neutral, which refers to the balancing out of the total amount of carbon emissions through offsetting initiatives.

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During a Gedling Borough Council Scrutiny Committee meeting on Monday, April 22, Melvyn Cryer, the council’s head of environment, said one of the main challenges in achieving the target is improving the authority’s ageing buildings.

The council’s Civic Centre, in Arnold, currently runs on six gas boilers, and it would take more than 20 energy-efficient heat pumps to replace them.

While the Government has been giving out grants through its ‘Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme’ to help councils fund heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency measures, Mr Cryer said the authority would have to contribute if the Civic Centre was to be improved.

He said the project would cost £2.1m, and the council would have to contribute “in excess of £900,000”.

“We’ve got to wrestle with moving into the future,” he said.

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However, Mr Cryer noted carbon emissions had already been reduced by 22 per cent between 2019/20 and 2022/23.

This has largely been put down to changing the fuel that council vehicles run on.

“Overall our carbon emissions have reduced by 22 per cent, which indicates a significant move in the right direction, with more to come,” Mr Cryer said.

“The main driver of this has been the change in fleet fuel use in April 2023 onwards, from hydrocarbon diesel to hydrotreated vegetable oil, or HVO fuel. This has seen a 90 per cent reduction per vehicle in our CO2 emissions across our fleet.

“This advanced renewable fuel works in the diesel engine without the need for further capital expenditure or changes to our fleet infrastructure.

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“Although slightly more expensive, at 17p per litre more, it produces an effective solution on our journey towards decarbonisation for the next generation.”

Cllr Grahame Pope (Lab) questioned whether taxis operating across Gedling would be required to make similar changes.

He said: “Can I just start by commending the council on the move to using HVO fuels and driving down our carbon emissions, despite calls from other parties to move back to diesel.

“My question relates to taxis and whether there is more we can do as a council to reduce carbon levels from taxi use?”

Mr Cryer said: “At the moment we aren’t doing anything in that area but we could certainly do so, bearing in mind running a taxi is a person’s livelihood and then there are the requirements to increase the costs of fuel that we would be asking of them.

“But certainly we can make recommendations along those lines.”

In 2022, the council also introduced its anti-idling legislation, which states drivers can be issued a £20 fine, increasing to £40 if not paid within 28 days, if vehicles are left running while stationary.

Last year the council further wrote to more than 50 schools in the borough to ask for support to educate parents about the dangers of idling vehicles.

Asking about the campaign, Cllr Kyle Robinson-Payne (Lab) said: “I know you said in the report we’d had teams of staff going out there and promoting that campaign, trying to get parents and guardians who are dropping children off to change their habits, has that been successful? Has it stuck with people or do we need to be constantly reminding people about idling?”

Mr Cryer added: “The initiative was launched with success. But you are quite right to say over a period of time that then declines again because people get into old habits.

“There is certainly a need to work with comms and get that message out there on a periodic basis to refresh it.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The council’s Civic Centre, in Arnold, currently runs on six gas boilers, and it would take more than 20 energy-efficient heat pumps to replace them. = therefore, not efficient to replace!

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