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Council outlines plans to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent

Lambeth Council has set out detailed plans that will see carbon emissions cut at council buildings by 20 per cent.

The plans form a major part of the council’s drive to tackle harmful carbon emissions and reduce its energy bills by being more energy efficient.

Cllr Lorna Campbell, Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability, said: “Lambeth has been at the forefront of sustainability agenda in recent years and these measures are vital in cutting our energy costs and showing that we are practising what we preach on carbon emissions.

“With energy prices predicted to rise considerably in the future it’s vital that we act now and by making these investments we will be saving significant costs in the future.’’

The council’s annual energy bill for council buildings and street lights ran to around £1.3 million last year (2009/10), with heating, lighting and electrical equipment generating more than 8,000 tonnes of carbon.

To drive those costs and damaging emissions down, the council is planning a major project to improve the energy efficiency of buildings that will save more than 1,600 tonnes of CO2 and more than £400,000 in energy costs per year by 2016.

The plans include installing new technology such as automatic meter readers which will allow staff to better monitor energy use in council buildings and identify where it is being wasted, more energy efficient lighting and timer switches that automatically turn off computers and other devices and better insulation to cut heating bills. Awareness campaigns will also be launched to urge staff to switch off lights and computers when not in use. Future plans could include installing solar panels on the Town Hall.

The measures will cost around £400,000 in investment in new technology, but will save more than £400,000 a year in reduced energy bills within five years.

The plans were considered and agreed at a meeting of the council’s cabinet on June 27th.

See http://www.lambeth.gov.uk for the full report.

Editors’ notes

Lambeth has been committed to the principle of sustainability for many years.

Examples of policies and practices adopted by the council include:

  • The retendering of the council’s contract for its fleet of vehicles in 2008 that saw their replacement by more environmentally friendly models and a 30 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions with a further 9 per cent reduction in 2009,
  • New boilers installed at the Blue Star House council offices in Brixton, resulting in approximately 30 per cent reduction in gas use.
  • Introduction of solar powered parking meters, and an emission based policy on parking charges that sees owners of the most environmentally friendly vehicles qualify for free residents’ parking permit.
  • A pool bike scheme to allow staff to cycle between meetings, and showers and changing facilities in council buildings to allow staff to cycle to work.
  • Recycled material used in all road repairs.
  • The establishment of a network of 170 staff environmental champions who encourage their colleagues to adopt sustainable working practices.
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