Council’s success in reducing carbon footprint

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North Tyneside Council has cut its carbon footprint by a third, latest figures have revealed.

The authority has seen impressive results from its five-year Climate Change Strategy thanks to help from the community.

We’ve already achieved the national target of a 34 per cent carbon reduction by 2020 – which is just fantastic.

Coun John Stirling, cabinet member for sustainable development and biodiversity

Thousands of residents have saved a total of £179,000 off their fuel bills through the council’s new work with Warm Zone while more than 700 also took part in a ‘collective energy switching’ scheme.

And 2014 saw more than 3,000 hours of electricity generated thanks to the installation of solar panels on council homes, saving almost 1,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Coun John Stirling, cabinet member for sustainable development and biodiversity, said: “All of these hugely successful schemes mean we’ve already achieved the national target of a 34 per cent carbon reduction by 2020 – which is just fantastic.”

“While also benefitting the environment, the different initiatives have had a big impact on our residents, too.

“With living costs increasing considerably, more and more people are struggling with fuel poverty, and that’s why we’ve started these schemes – to help our residents.

“A great example of this is our work with Warm Zone; the scheme also identifies any benefits people are missing out on, like Pension Credits, Attendance Allowance and others, and has so far generated an extra £700,000 for our residents.

“As well as doing all we can to help our residents, we’re making sure we focus on our own carbon reduction efforts as well, and looking at ways we can improve our impact on the environment.”

The Climate Change Strategy has included looking at the borough’s lighting and making it as efficient as possible.

To do so, the council installed a high tech lighting system last year, called Mayflower, as well as switching 10,000 light bulbs for more energy saving ones.

By making these changes to street lighting across the borough, CO2 emissions will be cut by around 3,000 tonnes and will also save the council roughly £350,000 a year on electricity charges.

LED lighting has been installed in the council’s public buildings as well as them been given a carbon reduction target to achieve.