Funding boost provides energy saving measures for local schools

Cheshire West and Chester Council has secured another significant boost towards its ambitious target date of 2030 to achieve carbon neutrality for the Council’s own emissions, as well as a carbon neutral borough by 2045.

Council company Qwest Services, in partnership with the Council, has secured a further £2.4m from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) matched by £1.1m from the Council.

The funding will be used to improve the energy efficient measures across three schools; Whitby High School (two buildings), Sutton Green Primary and Frodsham Manor House Primary School, helping to reduce their carbon emissions and lower energy costs.

The PSDS was launched by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in 2020 as part of a commitment to support the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19 by supporting skilled jobs in the low carbon and energy efficiency sectors.

The scheme, managed by Salix Finance, provides grant funding for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation measures across the public sector, targeting non-domestic buildings in England, as well as supporting green investment initiatives.

The Council, in partnership with Qwest Services, which manages the Council’s Capital Works repair and maintenance schedule, submitted four buildings, across the three school sites in the application for funding.  These buildings were identified as being the most appropriate for the installation of Air Source Heat Pumps, Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels, also known as a solar electric system, and/or light-emitting diode (LED) lighting.

Councillor Matt Bryan, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and Climate Emergency, said, “Cheshire West continue to act responsibly and show leadership in taking concerted action at a local level to limit the impact of climate change.  This project demonstrates the continuous commitment by the Council to make the borough carbon-neutral by 2045.  Schemes such as this are critical to creating a cleaner, greener, fairer and more prosperous area.”

Now the funding has been secured, the next stage will be for the buildings to have a technical design assessment.  Installation works will be phased over the next nine months with a target deadline for completion by end of March 2023.

Ben Cummins, Managing Director of Qwest Services, the Council company responsible for delivering the works, said, “Reflecting our commitment to deliver a carbon zero borough, Qwest has worked tirelessly to deliver the original £5.8m of work, secured during the first round of PSDS funding, over the last year and look forward to the challenges of delivering the £3.5m project from the Council and Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.  I am extremely proud of how Qwest teams have demonstrated Qwest’s ability to deliver major schemes across multiple sites.”

One school that benefitted from the £5.8 million of funding, secured during the first round of PSDS, was Ellesmere Port Catholic High School.  A short video highlighting some of the measures installed at the school  and the benefits it has brought to the school community can be viewed on the Council’s Climate Emergency Inspire hub

Image: Solar panels installed at Ellesmere Port Catholic High

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