Green light for green 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, including Taunton Library, Yeovil Library, Frome Library, Glastonbury Hub, Milford Infants School, Chilthorne Domer School, and County Hall in Taunton.

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.

Now the County Council has approved further funding to ensure the projects at County Hall and Taunton Library can go ahead.

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.”

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.”

In November 2020, all five councils in Somerset 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 of Somerset and describes what we need 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.

ENDS

Notes to editors

Climate Change is one of the most significant issues facing the world today. The effects are being felt already. In the UK, 2019 was the 11th warmest year on record, with the top 10 warmest all having occurred since 2002.

While the challenge of Climate Change is a global issue, everyone needs to play their part. Somerset County Council (SCC) declared a Climate Emergency in Spring 2019.

The main aim of SCC’s Climate Emergency declaration was to pledge to work with partners, individuals and community action groups across the county to identify ways to make Somerset carbon neutral by 2030 and to develop a Climate Emergency Strategy for Somerset.

The strategy, formally adopted in November 2020, is available at Somerset’s Climate Emergency Strategy.

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