Report of the Director of Communities enclosed.
The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member (Health and Wellbeing) presented a report of the Director of Communities advising members, through the commissioned Decarbonisation Plans, on the level of, and potential cost of, work required to the main Council owned buildings in order to achieve the Council’s goal of net carbon neutral by 2030.
In relation specifically to the Civic Centre decarbonisation plan, the report requested approval to the document so that it may be submitted to Salix Finance on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as a condition on the recent grant funding of £145,004 awarded to make energy efficiency improvements to the Civic Centre.
The report also requested approval to the other five Decarbonisation Plans to so that they can be utilised in future grant bids through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme or equivalent when they become available.
A question was asked whether any companies other than Leisure Energy were considered. It was reported that approximately 8 companies were approached and 5 responded. The Chief Executive confirmed that the requisite number of quotes were obtained in accordance with financial regulations.
A question was asked as to how the of £4.138 million referenced in paragraph 34 would be financed. The Cabinet Member (Finance, Property and Assets) indicated that hopefully Government funding could be obtained to contribute to this figure.
Reasons for decision
In July 2019 Full Council passed a motion which declared a Climate Emergency with the overarching goal of “rendering the borough carbon neutral by the year 2030”. This goal means the borough shall produce no net carbon emissions by this date, taking account of actions that have the effect of removing carbon from the environment. Following this declaration, a cross party working group was established to move forward the agenda towards a carbon neutral borough.
Part of this work involves rendering all council operations net carbon neutral by 2030. This includes looking at the Council owned buildings. A systematic strategy ss required when considering the Council buildings given the size, complexity and general cost of any works required to move towards a carbon neutral status. Consideration must also be given to the timing of these works allowing for the age of the buildings, current infrastructure and life span, current and future technologies and costs of implementation. This systematic approach is referred to as a Decarbonisation Plan.
Alternative options considered and rejected
Following a successful grant application to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme an award of £145,004 has been made for energy efficiency improvements to the Civic Centre, West Paddock. One of the conditions of this grant award is to have a Decarbonisation Plan completed, approved by Members and submitted to the grant
administrators by September 2021.
Failure to meet this deadline would result in the Council being in breach of the grant conditions and potentially having to repay the full £145,004, most of which has already been allocated. It would also be detrimental to any future grant bids made by the Council.
Therefore, for the reasons outlined above, no alternative options were appropriate.