North Yorkshire Police has received recognition from a leading charity for reducing its environmental impact over the past year.
The force has been named as a Significant Improver in Business in the Community’s Yorkshire and Humber Environment Index for 2011.
This is in recognition of a big increase in the force’s environmental index score from 5% to 45% , for 2011 compared to 2010.
The environment index benchmarks businesses and other organisations in the region against their peers based on their environmental management and performance in key areas.
Since 2008, the North Yorkshire Police has been driving a number of improvements to its buildings, vehicle fleet and IT equipment to reduce operating costs and energy consumption. In addition, members of staff have been encouraged to save energy, water and fuel through a number of internal campaigns.
Assistant Chief Constable Sue Cross, who has overall responsibility for the force’s estate and vehicle fleet, said: “We are delighted with the award which comes as a result of the hard work we have been carrying out over the past few years to become more efficient and environmentally sustainable.
“We have made significant inroads to reduce our running costs and reduce our carbon footprint as an organisation . Our vehicle fleet has been awarded best improved fleet by the National Green Fleet Awards and a full survey of our entire estate has resulted in improvements to insulation, electrics, heating and water consumption.
“The force’s estates portfolio consists of a wide range of properties which cover many decades of design and construction, including a Grade II listed building which is our headquarters at Newby Wiske Hall. These present their own challenges compared to more modern buildings.
“However, we accept that we still have more work to do to improve our rating and have plans for further changes and improvements to help us improve our environmental and financial sustainability.”
Initiatives have already been implemented to reduce the force’s reliance on grid electricity and reduce the amount of electricity, vehicle fuel and water it requires, while increasing the proportion of waste recycled.
Elizabeth Edgington Environment Campaign Manager for Business in the Community Yorkshire and Humber, added: “North Yorkshire Police has made tremendous strides to improve their impact on the environment. We have been very impressed by their focus and commitment to improving the way the operate for the good of the environment.
“If they continue at this pace, they will see huge improvements in the future, with the potential to become public sector leaders in environmental sustainability.”
North Yorkshire Police has signed up to the Energy Saving Trust’s Motorvate initiative after undertaking a ‘green’ fleet review . The force was nominated for the National Green Fleet Awards 2010/11 for Best Improved Fleet.
The force also undertook an internal campaign to promote ‘eco-driving’ among all staff to encourage more efficient driving and save on running costs.
In addition to the environmental impacts, the cost of running the force’s fleet has seen significant cash savings . Richard Flint, the force’s Head of Transport, said: ”The force now operates a new costing concept for its fleet of vehicles which takes into account the purchase cost of the vehicle, its running costs and resale value.
“All these initiatives have contributed to a saving of over £100,000 on fuel costs in the 2009/2010 financial year over the previous year. This saving would have been significantly more if the cost of fuel had not spiralled over this period.”
Improvements to the force’s buildings include boiler replacements, improved insulation, window replacements, photovoltaic cells which generate power, solar hot water systems and new heating controls.
The new police station currently being built in Harrogate is set to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘excellent’ when the building is complete. BREEAM is the most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings and has become the industry measure.
In the meantime, following the bulk excavation of 20,000 cubic metres of soil from the site, every bit of it has been re-used within 30 miles of the site: the top soil is being re-used on the site, the sub-soil will be used on a nearby site and any rock that was excavated has been crushed for use as aggregate.
In conjunction with Aquafund, the force has been actively managing and monitoring water consumption at its metered sites since 2008.
Water saving measures include full surveys of plumbing systems, the introduction of ‘hippos’ into toilet cisterns to reduce the amount of water needed and regular meter readings to monitor water consumption. The force made a saving of £12,500 with a contribution of 1% of this to the WaterAid charity which helps the world’s poorest countries have access to clean, safe water.
Holly Wilkinson, from WaterAid said: “AquaFund has enabled thousands of the world’s poorest people to take their first steps out of poverty through access to clean water, sanitation and improved hygiene. I would like to thank North Yorkshire Police for their contribution to WaterAid through the AquaFund scheme.”
Waste and recycling
North Yorkshire Police works in conjunction with a number of suppliers and partners to manage waste and decrease the amount of material sent to landfill.
A combination of force-wide and site by site arrangements are in place to manage standard trade waste, recyclable paper and card, battery recycling, recycling of other materials such as cans and bottles, clinical waste, waste oils and vehicle parts, and hazardous materials such as fluorescent light tubes, and waste electronic and electrical equipment.
Wherever possible, suppliers are asked to provide environmentally friendly disposal of our waste materials, and our principal trade waste contractor is currently recycling 80 percent of the waste that it handles on our behalf.
The force’s Facilities Manager, John Sutton, accepted the award on behalf of North Yorkshire Police at the Business in the Community Awards ceremony in Leeds last month.