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Solar farm

Energy self-sufficiency has not been reached by any council in the UK as of yet, but we are well on our way to our goal of being carbon neutral by 2030.

  • In 2009, our emissions were 28,064 tonnes CO2
  • In 2019, they were 13,954 tonnes CO2 – a reduction of over 50%
  • In 2030, they will be net zero – and we have confidence we can achieve this

Work to achieve carbon neutrality is well underway and our projects over the last decade show that we are making good progress, but there is still more to do.

Our projects to date

We have developed and led multiple projects in our mission to become a greener council, and to encourage our communities to be more eco-friendly.

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Solar farm
Our solar farm investments

Our most ground-breaking project is our partnership with GRIDSERVE to build the UK’s most advanced solar farms, in York and Hull. The landmark deal will make us the first council to produce all of our own electricity from clean energy, as well as generating millions of pounds every year to support essential services.

The solar farms will produce green electricity to power the equivalent of 18,000 homes. The York site consists of a 34.7MWp hybrid solar farm, plus a 27MW battery storage system. The Hull site – which will have a 25.7MWp solar farm – will produce enough electricity for all our electricity needs and will also cut our energy bills.

We expect this investment to yield £150million over 30 years. Investments like this, alongside data we measure to track our carbon emissions, provides us with confirmation that we are making excellent progress to achieve our aims.

The project helps to save 25,000 tonnes of CO2 per year meaning the council has already secured generation capacity in excess of its own power use, and the solar farms are currently exceeding expectations for their performance and financial returns.

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LED street light
Street lighting

Many of our early carbon-saving projects focused on energy efficiency on our own estate, including schools, leisure centres and libraries.

The largest scheme, however, was the rolling upgrade of our 18,000 streetlights to new LED technology, which has saved us more than £300,000 and has reduced our carbon output significantly.

 
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Solar panel on house
Working with housing associations on solar projects

Our home efficiency team worked on the first large-scale solar scheme on social housing. We worked with Torus to fit 2,000 former council houses with solar PV installations, with electricity supplied to tenants.

The scheme generates 4,127 MWh of electricity per year, helping to tackle fuel poverty by saving tenants over £540,000 and reducing CO2 emissions by almost a thousand tonnes.

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Plastic omnium solar panels
Working with business - Plastic Omnium

Our growing knowledge of solar technology has led to us working with businesses to reduce carbon emissions.

We have installed 3,000 solar panels at the Plastic Omnium building on the Omega building site in west Warrington – covering the area the size of a Premier League football pitch. We own, operate and maintain the panels, effectively renting out the roof space of the building.

The panels are generating 735,000kWh of electricity per year, equal to the electricity used by 200 average households. Crucially, the use of the solar panels at the site will save around 208 tonnes of carbon every year.

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Time Square car park electric vehicle points
Time Square car park

We installed 56 electric charging points at our Time Square multi-storey car park – one of the largest number at any one location in the country. The £85,000 investment is part of our commitment to reducing pollution, while increasing the uptake of low-emission electric vehicles in the town centre.

We're also pleased that our electric vehicle charging points in the car park (alongside a further 12 points at our Warrington West train station) are free to use, and we have plans to invest more in installing additional charging points across the borough in the future.

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The Base
Together Energy

Our partnership with Scottish-based energy company, Together Energy, is another carefully-thought-out part of our green strategy. An £18million investment has given us a 50% shareholding in the business, putting us in the position where we can genuinely tackle fuel poverty in the borough and provide employment opportunities for local people.

We expect to be able to help around 10,000 Warrington residents living in fuel poverty as a direct result of this partnership. At the same time, our investment means the company can drive forward with plans to supply 100% green energy, ensuring we continue to lead the change.

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Solar farm
Community municipal investment

We launched our first ever Community Municipal Bond, giving people the opportunity to invest directly in us to help fund a new solar farm in Cirencester.

A £1million bond was taken up by the public, with investments of as little as £5 per individual made to support our new proposed solar farm in Cirencester. We are currently working with Dublin University on a research paper around the future of this type of bond in the UK as other councils are now interested in issuing similar bonds themselves.

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Transport improvements
Transport improvements

Cycling

  • In 2020 we completed a £5 million active travel programme, including new cycle schemes in Omega, Woolston, Appleton Thorn, Latchford, Birchwood, Sankey Bridges and Padgate
  • We created a brand new cycling map and pulled together a list of our best cycling routes, available on our cycling page

Our transport vision

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 carbon-neutral future. For example, we opened Warrington West train station in December 2019, allowing local commuting trips to be made by train as well as longer journeys outside the borough.

Find out about our Local Transport Plan on the LTP4 page.