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Town hall chiefs take first steps towards making Barking and Dagenham ‘green capital’ of London

PUBLISHED: 12:37 21 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:28 21 May 2020

Barking and Dagenham Council chiefs applaud key workers at the end of a meeting which saw measures to tackle the climate emergency passed. Picture: LBBD

Barking and Dagenham Council chiefs applaud key workers at the end of a meeting which saw measures to tackle the climate emergency passed. Picture: LBBD

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Plans to cut the local authority’s greenhouse gases have taken a step forward.

Barking and Dagenham Council cabinet members voted last week in favour of measures aimed at making its housing more energy efficient and converting its fleet of vehicles to electric.

Cllr Cameron Geddes said: “At the moment we’re all concerned about the coronavirus. That shouldn’t detract from the fact there is still the possibility of global warming and climate change if we don’t take action.”

The council declared a climate emergency in February, pledging to become the green capital of London.

“It’s always an anxiety that when you pass a resolution, that nothing else happens.

“This is certainly not going to happen in this case,” Cllr Geddes said.

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He added that retrofitting council housing and switching to electric vehicles were the two main areas where the local authority could start making progress with residents benefitting from lower heating bills.

Under its plans, the council will seek advice from global consultancy firm Turner and Townsend which is spearheading City Hall’s own efforts to cut greenhouse gas.

A council report notes that while the town hall doesn’t have enough money to cover the cost of reaching the 2030 target “in the near future”, it can be helped by City Hall’s retrofit advisors.

A benchmark study of 32 council buildings showed they currently use 23,315,598kWh of energy a year at a cost of £1.6million, churning out 4,869 of total carbon dioxide (tCO2).

But it found that after investing £2.1m in energy efficiency, fuel costs could be reduced by 20 per cent a year, saving £318,000 annually with an estimated 955 tCO2 saved.

Cllr Evelyn Carpenter welcomed the “exciting” initiative, adding that she hoped the retrofit would apply to schools which need to take care of their funds, resources and help save the planet.

Cllr Dominic Twomey said that while it was helpful to benchmark, 75 per cent of council staff now work from home, meaning the council will not own as many buildings in the future.

“There will be a natural saving there that will impact on the environment in a positive way,” he said.


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