Zero Carbon Update
Report of the Head of Community Services
The Head of Community Services introduced the report before handing over to the Climate Change Programme Manager who presented the detail of the report. The Portfolio Holder also addressed the Committee and spoke in support.
During discussion, a comment was made regarding the necessary work required to update many council homes to a decent energy efficiency rating, in some cases it was basic maintenance. It was felt that updating the properties would not only contribute towards the Council’s zero carbon target but also help the tenants reduce their energy bills. The Head of Community Services confirmed that there was a programme of improvements for council properties which included energy efficiency improvements but if there were any properties that were a particular concern, Members were encouraged to let him know so they could be reported. The Portfolio Holder concurred and stated that any property reported to him would be passed directly to the Interim Head of Housing when they meet on a regular basis.
Positive comments were made on the review of the staff travel expenses; it was felt that staff should be assisting with the zero carbon target by considering how they travel.
Officers were recognised for the work undertaken already in the Coalville Special Expenses area to reduce the carbon footprint, including tree planting, investment in solar panels and research into other investment opportunities.
In response to a question on the involvement of parish council’s to reduce their carbon footprint, the Head of Community Services explained that parish clerks had been involved and have been offered support.
In response to a question in relation to the food waste collection trials, the Head of Community Services informed Members that usage was approximately 30 percent, which was above the national average, therefore performance was good. He added that as more funds became available from national government for this use, the collections would be rolled out across the district. The challenge to encourage people to recycle was acknowledged and it was noted that more publicity will be used going forward.
A Member questioned the usage figure for electric vehicle charges as it seemed low in comparison to the size of the district. The Climate Change Programme Manager explained that national evidence indicated that it took time for usage to grow but that there had been an increase in usage across all the sites, particularly North Street in Ashby. It was noted that the charging structure had changed to encourage usage.
Some concern was raised that investment was being made in relation to the use of electric vehicles which could be quickly outdated as other methods such as hydrogen were being explored.
It was suggested that the Planning Department start to encourage developers to install solar panels on all new builds as it was felt this would make a big difference on the carbon footprint.
A request was made for an update on the progress for the use of mine water for a heating source for the new leisure centre. The Head of Community Services explained that it was a very technical and challenging process, but it was something he was very passionate about, and progress was being made with the Coal Authority. Members were reminded that the heating system at the leisure centre was retrospectively fitted with a system that could be used for this type of heating, and talks were also ongoing with other organisations in Coalville to potentially use the heating source too. It was suggested by a Member that the mines in Ashby Woulds also be assessed as they could potentially be used in the same way.
Councillor M Wyatt left the meeting at 7.10pm, during discussion on the item.
Reference was made to the statistics showing the reduction in emissions as provided by BEIS, in particular the land use, land use change and forestry as no reduction was recorded. It was questioned if this was because there was no change or because it was not monitored. The Climate Change Programme Manager agreed to investigate the matter further and provide further information outside of the meeting.
During discussion on the role council houses would play in reducing the council’s carbon footprint, Members felt more emphasis should be placed on this area. It was felt that efficiency improvements to council homes would make a considerable impact on the reduction target. The aim to achieve an EPC rating of C for all council homes was noted but it was felt that this did not go far enough to meet the zero carbon target. It was suggested that in the future, more information be provided to explain exactly how the efficiency work planned for council homes would help reduce the carbon footprint and if the current EPC rating targets were addressing the problem adequately.
In response to a question relating to the efficiency standards for the programme of new builds, it was confirmed that the standards were being pushed where possible, but it was acknowledged that the biggest benefit would come from improving the current housing stock.
It was moved by Councillor E Allman, seconded by Councillor J Simmons and
The comments made be presented to Cabinet when considering the report at its meeting on 19 July 2022.
- Zero Carbon Update Scrutiny Report, item 57. PDF 513 KB
- Enc. 1 for Zero Carbon Update - Appendix, item 57. PDF 619 KB