THE ISLE of Wight Council has taken a double step towards its vision of becoming a carbon-neutral and fully sustainable Eco Island.
Members of the IW Council’s cabinet have approved two key papers — one setting out the over-riding aims of Eco Island and the other a Carbon Management Plan detailing how it will reduce carbon emissions across the authority.
Carbon Management Plan
The Carbon Management Plan approved at Tuesday’s (Dec 11) cabinet meeting will aim to dramatically cut the council’s carbon emissions over the next 15 years. The plan sets out a broad strategy for carbon management across a range of council activities and areas of influence.
It will also complement the council’s long term objectives of lowering carbon emissions following the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change which the council signed earlier this year.
Details of the plan
The plan will see carbon emissions reduced by four percent a year amounting to a reduction in 6,240 tonnes over five years.
A reduction of 60 percent in carbon emissions will be achieved in 15 years time if the council keeps to its annual target.
The council will also save an estimated £2.7m over the first five years if the ambitious targets are kept to. Initially, the council will invest £200,000 which will be matched by a £200,000 grant creating a start-up carbon management fund of £400,000.
Interest-free loans will be provided for energy saving projects and savings made will subsequently be recycled into a self-sustaining fund.
Savings will be found in various ways including energy consumption in buildings, waste disposal, fleet vehicle emissions, business mileage and street lighting.
Energy consumption in buildings is the most significant contributor to emissions with Island schools accounting for 61 percent of all building emissions.
Isle of Wight Council was accepted onto the Carbon Trust’s Local Authority Carbon Management Programme for 2006/7 and has received the support of the trust in preparing its plan.
Measures to be implemented
Among the measures being implemented by the council over the next few years are:
* Conversion of council vehicles to run on biofuel – initially 13 vehicles will be converted to run on pure vegetable oil.
* Automatic control of lighting – significant savings can be achieved by upgrading and installing infra-red controls activated by movement.
* Replacement of oil-fired boilers – the project will initially concentrate on schools and will replace oil-fired boilers with high efficiency gas boilers or biomass boilers. The investment has already been planned.
* Timelocks on PCs, printers, water coolers and photocopiers – this will prevent unnecessary electricity consumption outside working hours.
* Solar Thermal power at The Heights leisure centre – a large array of some 45 panels will provide the bulk of the pool’s hot water requirements.
£1.29m initial investment
Implementation of the five year Carbon Management Plan will lead to savings of over £2.17m from an initial investment of £1.29m – most of which will be self generated.
The money will be used to ‘pump-prime’ the plan with savings being re-invested into other projects as the scheme progresses.
Particularly important will be the involvement of schools which account for a substantial proportion of the planned savings.
The plan is considered ‘live’ which means other ideas for reducing carbon emissions can be added where appropriate.
Radical new plan “demonstrates that the council” determined
The Council’s cabinet member for Environment Councillor Tim Hunter-Henderson said: “This radical new plan demonstrates that the council is determined to do its bit to tackle climate change and aims to lead by example.
“The Island is ideally placed to show the way on how to reduce emissions. It is imperative that we tackle the issue head on to preserve our beautiful Island for future generations.
“I am very pleased to recommend adopting this important plan which will become a key part of our Eco Island ethos. By implementing this plan, we will save energy, cut emissions and save money and we will also be setting an example that the rest of the Island can follow.”
On Eco Island, IW Council leader David Pugh, said: “Last night we approved the vision and values for our Eco Island aspirations – and our partners across the Island will shortly be doing the same, to demonstrate the Islandwide sign-up to these plans.
“However, this decision is only the first step, and we recognise that the public realisation of the Eco Island vision will be in seeing real actions that contribute to the reduction of the Island’s carbon footprint, and exploring alternative means of energy generation.
“As we said in the report, our vision is about becoming a world-renowned Eco Island with a thriving economy, a real sense of pride where residents and visitors feel safe and are treated with respect.”