Wiltshire Council, recently named the most climate friendly council area in England and Wales, will invest more than £5m to tackle emissions from its own buildings, as it aims for the council and county to be carbon neutral by 2030.
Proposals were agreed by the council’s Cabinet (on 8 October), which will see Wiltshire Council target 138 of its buildings and aim to cut their carbon emissions by investing around £5.18m in phase one of a programme of work which will also help reduce the cost of running the buildings in the long-term – this could see gross annual savings of around £500,000.
To achieve this; automatic controls for lighting, heating and cooling will be installed wherever possible. Standard energy-reducing technologies will be also installed where feasible across the council’s estate. This includes solutions such as upgrading to LED lighting or improving insulation.
The council will also replace the remaining energy used within its buildings with energy generated from a renewable source as much as possible. Therefore, this programme will see the installation of solar panels at every site where there is a viable business case. In addition, it will look at installing other renewable energy generation technologies such as hydroelectric solutions and biomass boilers where appropriate.
Investigation will also be carried out into canopy-based solar panels, with Salisbury Park and Ride sites identified as a possible location to try them out. If introduced, this would create solar energy on the sites which could also supply electricity on a commercial basis to nearby third parties. A detailed business case will be drawn up on this.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: “What I hope is clear from all the work we are doing is just how seriously we are taking this issue. We are investing money, time and resources into doing all we can to tackle this global issue in Wiltshire.
“Looking closely at our own buildings and making them as efficient as possible is in our control and will have positive repercussions for the environment while making valuable long-term savings in the process – it’s a win-win.”
Other work the council is doing to reduce carbon emissions includes:
• Securing all the electricity on its corporate contract from a green tariff with effect from 1st April 2020 , which means that 100% of the council’s electricity will be matched by the supplier with a certified renewable energy source
• Ensuring our response to climate change is enhanced within the Core Strategy – the council’s key planning and development document
• Drafting the fourth Local Transport Plan to reflect the target to reduce carbon emissions and develop policies to make further improvements
• Continuing to monitor air quality in Wiltshire through its updated Air Quality Strategy which will soon be formally reported to Full Council
• Ensuring the Household Waste Management Strategy continues to focus on reducing the carbon impact of its operations, for example in 2008/9 the council landfilled more than 56% of its waste, by 2018/19 this figure was less than 16%
• Working with Swindon and Wiltshire Local Economic Partnership to engage with businesses and industry in Wiltshire to reduce carbon emissions
• Arranging a series of environmentally-themed area board meetings to take place later this year to engage with communities and local residents.
The council recently topped the table of most climate-friendly councils following research by Friends of the Earth (https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-change/revealed-most-climatefriendly-areas) which looked at a range of issues relevant to climate change to assess how councils are performing.
We are really interested in working with the local community in the Tidworth area to support you in taking some more local initiatives. We are looking at running a workshop in 2020 to help us all to share information, collect ideas and then action them. If you are interested in getting involved then please contact me at