Sunday, June 23, 2024

£530million cash boost for fire stations, schools and hospitals to help tackle climate change

More than £530million of funding will be handed to schools, hospitals, fire stations, universities and other public buildings across the country to help tackle climate change.

Organisations are celebrating receiving the funds under Phase 3c of Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and can now start implementing energy efficiency works in a bid to meet ambitious net zero targets.

The scheme, delivered by Salix and run by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, is designed to slash energy bills and reduce carbon emissions and reducing the reliance on fossil fuels.

Salix Finance Chief Executive Emma Clancy said: “Climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges of our time. It requires all of us, including governments and business to make change and reduce our carbon footprint.

“The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme enables the public sector to tap into a fund which can transform our public buildings. These are the sites we use every day; our schools, universities, leisure centres and others will become more energy efficient as well as being comfortable places to use thanks to this funding.”

For a list of successful grant recipients see here.

Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance Lord Callanan announced the allocation of £530,604,960million today under the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. It will be spread across classrooms, hospitals, leisure centres, fire stations and leisure centres among other buildings to drive down their emissions by installing low-carbon heating systems.

A total of 189 organisations have been awarded grants for 222 heat decarbonisation and energy efficiency projects. Additional funding will be allocated through Phase 3c over the coming weeks.

Royal United Hospitals Bath (RUH) NHS Foundation Trust has received £21.6m under the scheme. The multimillion-pound cash boost will fund improvements including more environmentally friendly lighting, insulation, and heating and cooling controls. Although most of the funds will be used to de-steam much of the RUH’s 52-acre site, replacing the hospital’s ageing heating systems with more energy-efficient options like heat pumps.

RUH Chief Executive Cara Charles-Barks said: “We are beginning to make great strides to reduce our emissions, through initiatives such as decommissioning our entire nitrous oxide manifold and a sustainable travel plan. However, we knew we needed to make significant investments in our estate to fulfil our commitment of reaching net zero for scope one and two emissions by 2030, in line with BaNES Council’s goals.

“This grant is therefore invaluable. It will enable us to make these essential changes in the coming years and will have a positive impact on the environment and the experience of being in hospital. We know that getting this right will be better for the health and wellbeing of the people we care for, the people we work with and the people in our community.”

Another grant recipient is Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service which has won £927,845 from fund.

Theservice intends to invest £1.77 million in sustainability improvements over the next two years across five of its least energy efficient buildings. And features will include new LED lighting, solar panels, air-source heat pump systems and improved building insulation.

Mark Arkwell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said: “As a fire service, we are committed to ensuring we are doing all we can to reduce our impact on the environment.

“This funding is a fantastic boost to help deliver our ambition of rapidly improving our estate for the benefit of staff, public and the planet. I believe it’s right for us to play a leading role in responding to the climate emergency and with 65% of our carbon coming from the estate we are sensible to focus on this area first.”

Nottingham College has been awarded more than £2.6million, in a successful bid to fund decarbonisation and energy efficiency initiatives across its estate over the next two years.

It will be used to pay for upgrades to campuses heating, ventilation systems and lighting, as well as to replace boilers, improve insulation and introduce other new measures to reduce water usage and reliance on other consumables.

Janet Smith, chief executive and principal of Nottingham College said: “We are really pleased to have been successful in our bid for this funding. As a college with a rich heritage and wide range of facilities across the city, this funding will help us on our journey to be carbon net zero by 2030.

“The College’s Zero campaign has seen us make great strides over the past 12 months with a 30% reduction in our carbon footprint so far – but we know there is more to do.”

Other successful projects include; Loughborough University whichhas been awarded more than £2 million to decarbonise their Olympic size swimming pool by replacing old gas-fired boilers with heat pumps. Surrey County Councilhas been awarded over £5 million to cut emissions across nineteen sites including six libraries, four nursing homes, two community centres, five schools, Guildford Fire Station, and the council’s headquarters in Reigate.

More than 1,000 buildings have already received upgrades through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme which was first launched in 2020. Phase 4 of the scheme will be launched in the summer giving further opportunities for public sector organisations to win funding for energy saving measures.

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