Temple Newsam and Tropical World in Leeds to be partly solar powered as Yorkshire gets £150m from Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme

More than £150m is being handed to schools, hospitals and council buildings around Yorkshire and the Humber for technology such as solar panels, LED lighting and low-carbon heating systems as part of efforts to meet the country's 'net zero' ambitions.

The £154.3m allocated to public bodies is a bigger total than any other region in the country from the Phase 1 of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded £932m for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has published the Government's Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy as part of plans to reverse the climate crisis.

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The announcement - which includes multi-million pound funding for a zero carbon scheme in the Humber - was billed as a major blueprint to help reach the target of reaching net zero by 2050 that will also create 80,000 jobs across the UK over the next three decades.

Leeds City Council, which secured £25.3 million to decarbonise 38 publicly owned buildings, slashing the city’s carbon emissions by nearly 4,000 tonnes. Pictured is Temple Newsam in Leeds. Pic: Gary Longbottom

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One of the biggest beneficiaries is Leeds City Council which secured £25.3 million to decarbonise 38 publicly owned buildings, slashing the city’s carbon emissions by nearly 4,000 tonnes.

Civic buildings, leisure centres, primary schools, children’s centres, homes for older people and offices across the city will all benefit from a range of low carbon heat and energy upgrades carried out by the council and partners.

Air source heat pumps, new connections to the district heating network, solar photovoltaic panels, LED lighting, and double glazing will all be installed by the end of the year.

Labour-run Leeds City Council - one of several with the target of reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2030 - says that by reducing the council’s energy usage the measures will save 3,951 tonnes of carbon and save money for vital frontline services.

3560 kWp of solar photovoltaic panels will be installed across thirty five leisure centres, primary schools, and other council-owned buildings. The panels mean that popular destinations including John Charles Leisure Centre, Tropical World and Temple Newsam will be part powered by renewable energy generated on site.

Leeds Town Hall, Civic Hall, City Museum, and Central Library will be among six properties equipped to use affordable heat and hot water from the household waste-powered district heating network, adding to the almost 1,500 homes and businesses already connected.

James Lewis, Leader of Leeds City Council, said: “Upgrading dozens of schools and council buildings to be fit for the future mean that we’ll be able to spend less on fossil fuel energy, and more on protecting vital frontline services.

“This investment will also protect and create hundreds of skilled green jobs in local businesses, jobs that will be increasingly important as we work to build a sustainable economic recovery.”

Elsewhere, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has been given £12.6m to install solar panels, heat pumps and new roof insulation.

Also planned are mass replacement of lighting to greener LED units, replacing inefficient air compressors, and a new supply point to Castle Hill Hospital.

Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust was awarded more than £40m, the University of Bradford £3,4m, Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust more than £14m and the British Library at Boston Spa, near Wetherby, £8.5m.

Separately, some £171 million was being allocated to nine green tech projects in Scotland, Wales and northern England to study the rollout of infrastructure such as carbon capture and storage.

This includes over £21 million for the Zero Carbon Humber Partnership project which aims to turn the Humber region into a net zero cluster by 2040.

This project’s vision is to deliver H2H Saltend, one of the world’s first at-scale low carbon hydrogen production plants on the north bank of the Humber, and CO2 and hydrogen pipelines enabling industrial sites and power stations across the Humber to switch to hydrogen and/or capture and transport their emissions.

A further over £12 million will be awarded to project Humber Zero which plans to decarbonise the industrial complex at Immingham, North East Lincolnshire, by creating a carbon capture and hydrogen hub, providing cost-effective and low carbon energy supply and storage opportunities to industry and the National Grid.

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng Kwarteng said the plans, which come as the Government is under pressure over a possible new coal mine in Cumbria, will deliver a "considerable dent in the amount of carbon emissions emitting from our economy".

"We were the first major economy to put into law our target to end our contribution to climate change, and today we're taking steps to be the first major economy to have its own low-carbon industrial sector," he added.

But Friends of the Earth head of science Mike Childs said "this announcement still contains handouts for the fossil fuel industry".

"Public money will pay for carbon capture and storage for (CCS) gas-fired power stations and the production of dirty hydrogen from natural gas," he added.

"Fossil fuel use can never be green because CCS only captures some of the carbon emissions, and there are methane leaks when gas is extracted. No ifs or buts, there should be zero support for climate-wrecking fossil fuels."

Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband accused the Government of having "failed to deliver yet again", as he called for a more ambitious green stimulus to decarbonise and secure jobs.