Harrogate council is asking for comments on a draft plan designed to reduce its carbon footprint by over 200 tonnes a year.
The council’s draft Carbon Reduction Strategy aims to cut the organisation’s emissions by 2.5 per cent every year, enabling the council to keep its emissions in line with national carbon reduction targets.
The strategy considers ways the council will reduce its own energy use and carbon emissions, but it also recognises the important role it has to encourage energy efficiency throughout the district.
As well as focusing on energy efficient council buildings and vehicles, it looks at how the council can support local businesses and households to making savings, too.
Councillor Phil Ireland is the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for the Carbon Reduction Strategy. He said:
We have a responsibility, both as a large employer and a community leader, to take action to reduce our own carbon footprint.
Climate change is a long-term threat, which needs to be addressed now because our economy and infrastructure are built around existing or historic climatic conditions.
To play our part in tackling this, we are putting forward an annual 2.5 per cent carbon reduction target. This is a challenging but achievable, target and will be helped in no small part by our move to our new civic centre which has allowed us to make major energy and carbon savings already. The building has solar panels, energy efficient glazing and insulation, passive heating and cooling systems, and we recently opened three electric vehicle charging points on the site, for both staff and public use.
Thanks to the energy efficiency measures we have introduced in our buildings in recent years, we’re already saving over 750 thousand kilowatt hours of energy every year – that’s the equivalent of the amount of energy used by 240 homes. Finding ways to continue to reduce our carbon footprint won’t be easy, but we will be looking at everything the council does, to find ways we can hit that 2.5 per cent annual target.
For example, when we replace our lamp posts across the district, we will now be using energy efficient LED bulbs, saving both Carbon Dioxide and electricity.
In addition to helping to reduce our energy bills, we recognise that activity carried out to cut carbon emissions has a number of positive impacts, such as improved air quality, providing better working and home environments, encouraging innovation and opening up opportunities for commercialisation.
We’re now looking for as many views as possible on our proposals to reduce our carbon footprint, and any additional opportunities for carbon reduction for both the council, and the district.
People can read the draft strategy and give their views at www.harrogate.gov.uk/haveyoursay
The consultation runs until Thursday 15 February 2018.