Climate action and what we are doing
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These are some of the initiatives we have been working on since declaring a climate emergency in 2018.
Renewable energy generation on council property
We have installed a solar photovoltaic (PV) renewable energy system on the roof of our Coleford office building. The system also includes some battery storage so that excess generated electricity can be stored and used at times outside of peak sunlight hours.
The system will:
- Reduce the amount of electricity the Council consumes through the national grid by providing an on-site source of power generation
- Contribute to meeting the need for renewable energy generation in the district and therefore reduce pressure on the national grid
- Save the Council money by reducing its energy bills
The system was partly funded through a grant from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and forms part of our plans to decarbonise the offices. The project also includes energy efficiency measures such as replacing existing lighting with LEDs, with the total reduction in greenhouse gas emissions estimated to be 37,510kg CO2e per year. This equates to 2.9% of the Council’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions.
We also plan to decarbonise the office building’s heating system.
Energy consumption and supply
We have been reducing the energy consumption of our offices, resulting in a significant decrease in our greenhouse gas emissions since 2013. In 2020 to 2021, the total electricity consumption of all our buildings totalled 243,290 kWh, which is a 65% reduction from 2010 to 2011. This currently equates to 56,721 kg CO2e, which was 3% of the Council’s total 2020/21 emissions.
In August 2019 we switched our electricity supply to West Mercia Energy’s green tariff.
Electric vehicle charging points
In December 2020 we had a study funded by South West Energy Hub carried out to assess the feasibility of installing electric vehicle charging points in council owned car parks. We are currently developing proposals which, subject to support, could see a first phase of charge points installed in 2022. The charge points will support the use and facilitate the uptake of electric vehicles by people living and travelling in the district. With emissions from transport accounting for 38% of the district’s total emissions from energy. The Government is planning to end the sale of new petrol/diesel cars and vans by 2030, the transition to electric vehicles will be one part of decarbonising transport in the district.
You can download the full feasibility study report here.
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A site survey for the installation of an electric vehicle charging point in the Council office staff car park has also been undertaken. Installing a charge point will enable the Street Wardens to trial an electric van and will support the move to electric vehicles for the Council’s operations.
We received 249 responses to our survey on walking and cycling in the district. The press release has more details of the results and who took part. We will use the results to aid targeted feasibility studies for new cycle and walkways in the district, the development of the new Local Plan and inform Government funding applications.
We held a trial of a self-charging hybrid vehicle in December 2019. Since then we have changed one of our pool cars to a hybrid.
The move to a hybrid pool car:
- lowers our carbon emissions
- works towards the 2030 carbon neutral commitment
- makes lease cost savings and helps to combat local air pollution
Our leased pool cars contributed 2,204 kg CO2 towards our total carbon emissions in 2020/21. Switching to a hybrid will save 711 kg CO2 in carbon emissions and £329 per year in lease costs.
We worked with the Mayor of Coleford and Coleford Town Council to prepare a template that can be used by businesses, schools and the local community to reduce their use of single use plastics. We hope that other towns will also be able to use this template.
We have asked local supermarkets in Coleford, Cinderford, Newent and Lydney what they can do to reduce unnecessary plastic packaging in their stores.
Retrofitting low-income homes
With funding from the Government such as the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme, we have been helping to improve the energy efficiency off and phase out fossil fuel heating systems in low-income homes, at the same time reducing fuel poverty.
The work has been delivered via Severn Wye Energy Agency’s Warm and Well programme, with a particular focus on improving park home properties in the district. In 2020/21, Warm and Well delivered significant numbers of first time central heating systems to offer gas grid properties in the Forest of Dean. Achieving total life time emissions savings of 3,732 tCO2e, the biggest carbon reduction in the region.