Greener KCC pledges to cut car­bon out­put

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OFF THE RECORD - by Paul Francis

We will cut car­bon emis­sions from our of­fices and schools by 10 per cent, vows county coun­cil

AS the main po­lit­i­cal par­ties fight to dis­play their green cre­den­tials, Kent County Coun­cil has launched its own bid to be more en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly.

The rul­ing Con­ser­va­tive ad­min­is­tra­tion at County Hall has pledged to cut car­bon emis­sions from its build­ings by 10 per cent in three years and by a fifth by 2015.

County coun­cil­lors are aiming to make their of­fices, schools, li­braries and other build­ings more en­ergy ef­fi­cient by curb­ing the 77,000 tonnes of car­bon diox­ide it is es­ti­mated they pump into the at­mos­phere each year.

A 10 per cent cut would re­sult in 7,700 fewer tonnes of CO2 and save the author­ity more than £2mil­lion.

But coun­cil chiefs ad­mit their tar­get presents a chal­lenge be­cause of the age and con­di­tion of many build­ings, par­tic­u­larly the county’s 600-plus schools.

Dif­fi­cult po­si­tion

Cllr Keith Fer­rin (Con), KCC cabi­net mem­ber for the en­vi­ron­ment, warned: “We’re in a dif­fi­cult po­si­tion com­pared with other au­thor­i­ties be­cause many of our build­ings are very old in­deed. A sub­stan­tial num­ber of our schools are Vic­to­rian, never mind 20th cen­tury.”

About £1mil­lion will be spent be­tween now and 2010 on more ef­fi­cient ways of heat­ing and light­ing build­ings, with about a third of that money com­ing from grants from the Car­bon Trust, a gov­ern­ment agency.

The coun­cil also plans to ap­point a se­nior of­fi­cer to spearhead its green poli­cies.

A cabi­net re­port pre­sented to county coun­cil­lors has re­vealed that KCC is one of the high­est pro­duc­ers of car­bon diox­ide when it comes to build­ings, emit­ting more than Bris­tol, Not­ting­ham, Aberdeen and War­wick­shire.

Birm­ing­ham is one of the few that pro­duces more, at some 177,359 tonnes a year.

The ini­tia­tive will not be con­fined to build­ings.

The county coun­cil says it is al­ready work­ing to make street­lights, traf­fic lights and its own ve­hi­cle fleet more en­ergy-ef­fi­cient but has yet to set spe­cific tar­gets in th­ese ar­eas.

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