Council slashes its carbon emissions by over a quarter

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A WIDE-RANGING strategy by a Yorkshire council to lessen its impact on the environment has seen it slash its carbon emissions by more than a quarter.

York Council announced yesterday that a five-year blueprint to reduce its carbon footprint has exceeded initial targets by three per cent amid hopes that the success will inspire businesses and other public sector organisations.

The council has recorded a 28 per cent reduction on carbon emissions since 2006/07, when it was responsible for about 23,200 tonnes of carbon (tCO2).

By the end of this month, the council is expected to have succeeded in reducing its emissions by more than 6,500 tCO2 – higher than the original target of 5,810 tCO2.

The council’s cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, Coun Dave Merrett, said: “We hope other business, organisations and individuals will take this as an example as to what can be achieved with the will. It’s crucial that, notwithstanding the current major economic challenges, we all continue to work towards safeguarding the planet’s future.”

The strategy has involved a series of measures such as installing biomass heating systems in schools and libraries, which has saved 1,000 tCO2.

Improvements have been made to street lighting by replacing inefficient lanterns with low power versions, for example LEDs, and replacing controls with more up-to-date examples which has reduced emissions by 400 tCO2.

Measures have been undertaken to reduce emissions and fuel consumption from the council’s refuse and recycling fleet, such as optimising round routes, fitting electric bin lifts and using higher capacity vehicles.

A major overhaul to centralise the council’s operations has also dramatically reduced carbon emissions after the authority has cut the number of its bases from 17 to just two.

The new main headquarters at West Offices is heated and cooled with low and zero carbon energy sources including a biomass boiler and solar photovoltaic panels.

The EcoDepot site at Hazel Court has been heralded as a prime example of sustainable construction, with an inbuilt rainwater harvesting system and its own renewable energy supply.