As the COP27 climate summit draws to a close in Egypt, the borough council has revealed the work it has been doing to help the environment in West Norfolk.
Work is nearly complete on decarbonising borough council-owned buildings. 11 buildings in King’s Lynn, Downham Market and Hunstanton have had solar panels and air or ground source heat pumps installed. It’s projected the sites including Alive West Norfolk venues, the council depot, St Georges Guildhall and King’s Court will achieve savings of 463 tonnes of carbon each year.
The borough council waste team already operate two LGV sized electric vans. They have a range of around 170 miles and are operated from the Council’s depot. The Community Safety & Neighbourhood Team are now in the process of acquiring the same make & model of vehicle to be used for fly tipping enforcement. The Mayor also uses a hybrid car to travel around the borough.
Work is ongoing to assess several small sites that may be suitable for either solar or wind electrical generation.
Waste and recycling collection routes have been reviewed to be made more efficient and environmentally friendly. A meeting has been held with the Energy Saving Trust over completing a fleet review of the 130 vehicles operated by the borough council. The findings will be reported on when the review is complete.
As part of the Active and Clean connectivity project, funded by the Towns Fund, the policy and personnel team have looked into how staff can play their part in particular with their commutes to and from work. Other West Norfolk employers will also be invited to play their part with their staff.
Over 6500 trees have been planted across the borough, including in Sedgeford, Lynnsport, King’s Reach and the Walks. The prolonged hot summer has unfortunately resulted in a number of trees requiring replacement, this will be carried out during the next planting season (November 2022 to March 2023).
How is the council working with the people living in West Norfolk to go green?
The residents of Sedgeford planted over 400 trees that had been provided by the borough council.
A third of all applicants in the county-wide Solar Together Norfolk scheme live in west Norfolk. Over 2,000 people registered an interest for the group-buying scheme which offers solar panels with optional battery storage and EV charge points.
26 Fast electric vehicle chargers are being installed and will be turned on at the end of November. They will enable residents with no off-street parking access, to charge their EV overnight at nearby council car parks. This scheme will also allow daytime use by visitors, commuters, shoppers, and residents alike.
The current 4 Rapid EV chargers located in Hunstanton, and King’s Lynn will also be replaced with a newer model.
Beat your bills roadshows were held in Downham Market, Hunstanton and King’s Lynn where over 100 members of the public visit for advice about improving energy efficiency in their homes, reducing their winter bills and their carbon footprint.
Over £100,000 in grants were secured for residents for modern, efficient and cleaner oil and lpg boilers. Nearly £30,000 was also secured for emergency funding for boiler repair and improvements.
Promotion of ‘Thinking Fuel’ with Community Action Norfolk. Nearly 400 new members have signed up to this county-wide heating oil collective purchasing scheme. The increase means that other oil distributors are looking to get on board with the scheme. As well as cost savings for residents it also means they have access to efficient and cleaner oil boilers where no other heating source is viable.
Promoting water saving kits with Anglian Water to help reduce water consumption and costs.
How is the council helping businesses tackle climate change?
In June the borough council held a business climate change expo at the King’s Lynn Corn Exchange to show how local businesses could reduce their carbon footprint and also share best practise with each other.
Good green initiatives that local businesses are using have also been shared through ongoing sponsorship of the Environmental Champions Award, part of the Mayors Business Awards.
Officers attended the East of England Lowland Agricultural Peat Task Force Sub-Group, which was set up to inform the England Peat Strategy. The group have submitted their draft recommendations to Government, and we await to hear back on progress.
Paul Kunes, the borough councillor responsible for the Environment and CO2 reduction, said: “Following the council declaration of a climate emergency in 2021 we brought our Council net zero target forward to 2035 from 2050, and we remain committed to reviewing whether we can bring it forward further to 2030. We have created a climate change strategy and action plan to set out our approach to tackling climate change.”