Bury’s mission to become carbon neutral has taken a big step forward according to a new report on the local authority’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Figures show that the council has reduced its carbon emissions by 47% over the last 12 years from its buildings and operations: down from 29,357 tonnes of CO2 in 2008/9 to 15,650 in 2019/20.
Councillor Alan Quinn, cabinet member for the environment, said: “Bury council has declared a climate emergency and set a target for council buildings and operations to be carbon neutral by 2038.
“Although we have reduced our emissions by 47% from our base year we still have a long way to go to reach carbon neutrality.
“We now need to build on this success and in 2021 we will produce an ambitious strategy to reduce both council and community emissions to meet our targets.”
The report finds that the main source of local authority carbon emissions are from schools (43%) and council buildings (31%), with streetlights and council vehicles both accounting for 10%.
Cllr Quinn added: “To keep on track we need to decarbonise our buildings by replacing gas boilers with heat pumps; increase our use of renewable energy; encourage our staff to walk and cycle more; and move our vehicles towards electric and other low/zero carbon options.
“We have submitted an £8.5 million bid to the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund. If successful, this will provide 11 heat pumps and 15 solar PV systems in 16 council buildings, along with solar panels, better glazing and insulation, which will reduce the annual carbon emissions from our buildings by 8%.
“School children are key to future success in protecting the environment, and we are delighted that 63 of our schools have signed up to be ‘eco schools’.”
Cllr Quinn said that, since 2010, the council had implemented more than 100 green initiatives which had saved £200,000 in energy bills despite rising costs of electricity and gas over that time.
Low-energy LED lighting installed at Ramsbottom Pool, Bury Market, Bury Adult Learning Centre, Bradley Fold Depot and The Villa will save enough electricity to pay for themselves in five years and reduce carbon emissions by 165 tonnes per year.
Some 11,431, or 60%, of the borough’s streetlights are now LED and a further 3,194 will follow over the next five years.
Solar panels installed at Bradley Fold Depot will generate 22,000kWh of electricity per year and reduce carbon emissions by six tonnes per year. This scheme will pay for itself in eight years and save £140k in electricity costs over its lifetime.
Total electricity generated from council-operated renewables in 2019/20 was 202,682 kWh which saved 56 tonnes of carbon in that year. The council will aim to maximise the potential for renewable energy on its buildings and land.