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We have been working to eliminate the pollution we produce that adds to the climate crisis as well as supporting wider change and action across the community.
Emissions associated with our operations have fallen by more than half since 2014/15.
When we declared a climate emergency, our emissions were 6,556 tonnes CO2e (2019/20). Most recent figures suggest our emissions have fallen to 5,889 tonnes CO2e (2021/22).
We are making progress, but there is still a long way to go to reach our goal to be net-zero by 2030.
We have delivered a number of projects to reduce our own impact and drive down emissions in Warrington.
As owner of the local bus company – Warrington’s Own Buses – we play an important role in improving bus services across Warrington.
In 2021, we were successful in securing £20 million Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) funding to support the replacement of 105 diesel buses with new electric ones, expected to arrive in 2024. The outcome of this means that zero emission vehicles will account for 85% of all bus mileage in the borough – a huge step towards reducing local emissions from transport.
In tandem with this scheme, we commissioned the build of a new electric bus depot to house the new fleet, which opened in March 2023.
The Incrementum Housing Development Company – set up and owned by the council – aims to deliver hundreds of low carbon homes across the borough. Our first two schemes were completed in 2022, delivering 161 homes to rent in Birchwood and Great Sankey.
Both developments utilise low carbon technology such as solar panels and ground source heat pumps, and are built to high thermal efficiency standards to help minimise carbon emissions.
Find out more by visiting Incrementum's website.
Since 2015 we have invested in a number of solar power schemes across Warrington, ranging from commercial buildings to social housing, as well as a number of installations on our own buildings.
The biggest of these installations was at the Omega development in west Warrington, where we installed 3,000 solar panels on the Plastic Omnium building, covering an area equivalent to the size of a Premier League football pitch. This array generates 735,000kWh of electricity per year and saves around 208 tonnes of CO2 annually.
We also worked with local housing association, Torus, to install solar arrays on 1,600 houses. These installations continue to provide benefits to tenants.
More recently, we have worked in partnership with GRIDSERVE to build three large-scale solar farms near York, Hull and Cirencester. These farms deliver clean electricity to the grid and generate revenue that enable us to deliver our essential services. The farms are equipped with innovative technology to maximise solar generation, such as double-sided panels. They also utilise battery storage systems to help balance the grid during hours of peak demand.
In 2022/23, the three solar farms saved nearly 13,000 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of 38 million miles driven in a petrol or diesel car.
Many of our early carbon-saving projects focused on energy efficiency in buildings we own, including schools, leisure centres and libraries.
The largest scheme, however, was the rolling upgrade of our 27,000 streetlights to LED technology, which has saved us more than £300,000 and has significantly reduced our carbon footprint.
To help fund our third solar farm in Cirencester, we launched our first ever Community Municipal Investment bond, offering the public the opportunity to directly invest in our solar ventures. With contributions starting as little as £5, the public funded £1 million towards the costs of building the 23-megawatt solar farm.
While the majority of the revenues generated from the solar farms are returned back to the council to help fund our services, a proportion of the earnings are invested in local energy projects via Warrington Community Energy. This helps boost local sustainable energy initiatives and ensure the benefits of our investments elsewhere are realised back in Warrington.
The Car Club forms part of Warrington’s wider travel plan for the town centre, which is dedicated to promoting sustainable travel.
You can hire electric cars, based at Time Square multi-storey car park, for as little as an hour at a time.
We have been working to support residents, businesses and visitors to make the switch away from petrol and diesel-powered vehicles by increasing electric vehicle charging provision across the borough. We have delivered a number of projects to date, including:
We have also secured funding through the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) Pilot to deliver up to 200 additional residential chargers across the borough, providing a mixture of on-street chargers and a number of rapid charging hubs. The roll out of these new chargers is anticipated for completion in 2024.
We want to build a low carbon culture across our organisation. We have invested in improving skills to deliver action on climate change among our workforce through accredited Carbon Literacy training.
We launched our own bespoke accredited course in early 2023 and have since delivered training to a significant number of council officers and elected members. We have made progress on our target to become a Carbon Literate Organisation, having earned ‘Bronze’ accreditation status in 2022. We are now well on our way to achieving ‘Silver’ status, which involves training more than 15% of the workforce.
We want Warrington to be a thriving, attractive, accessible, and well-connected place with popular, high-quality walking, cycling, and public transport networks, supporting our net zero future. This vision is detailed in our Local Transport Plan.
Our Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) outlines our plans to increase active travel and deliver the necessary infrastructure improvements to allow people to travel safely and sustainably. We have delivered a range of projects supporting these aims, and have a number of ongoing active travel schemes, including: