Home of Merton Rule commits to cutting CO2

Merton Council – home of the pioneering Merton Rule – announced today its commitment to the 10:10 CO2 saving initiative – a high profile national campaign to reduce carbon emissions by 10% during 2010.

By signing up to 10:10, the council officially takes up the challenge of continuing to reduce its own CO2 emissions by 10% through a number of different actions. These include upgrading its fleet of vehicles with more efficient engines that are able to run on biodiesel and continuing to identify ways to make the borough’s street lighting and council buildings more energy efficient. Each tonne of CO2 released into the atmosphere due to the council’s energy consumption costs the council about £150 per year. These proposed climate saving measures will result in annual savings of £150,000 in fuel bills.

One major CO2 busting project the council is currently investigating is the installation of a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system in the civic centre. This highly efficient system, fuelled by used vegetable oil rather than oil or gas, would supply the building with electricity and heat, saving over 600 tonnes of CO2 every year. The system would pay for itself within five years.

The council is investing £150,000 in its energy saving programme. It is also preparing a report to submit to the London Development Agency to secure £350,000 for the project. Interest free loans are also available from specialist funding organisation SALIX.

Independent of any national initiative, the council has already been working hard on cutting its CO2 emissions for the past four years. Its work has focused on the civic centre in Morden, resulting in a 22% reduction in emissions from this building (over 450 tonnes of CO2), along with an extra 50 tonnes from the council’s other main office buildings. Energy saving projects to date include improved insulation, more efficient lights, time controls for heating and electrical items and special equipment to reduce the voltage of electricity supplied to buildings. These projects have saved over 1,900 tonnes of CO2 and more than £285,000 since 2005.

Information on the action being taken by Merton council on climate change can be found at: http://www.merton.gov.uk/climatechange

Merton Council cabinet member for environment and leisure services Councillor David Simpson said: “We have always played a major role in the country’s endeavours to drastically cut emissions of climate changing gases. As a council, we can rightly be proud of the pioneering Merton Rule which was developed here and has been copied by local authorities across the country as well as by central government.

“However, we want to continue to lead the way and set an example for others to follow. Signing up to 10:10 demonstrates our clear and continuing support for initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and I would encourage local residents, schools and businesses to sign up too. This is something we can all commit to which will make a real difference.”

-ENDS-

Notes to editors

Carbon emissions to date from the Civic Centre:
05/06 – 2,343.4 tonnes
06/07 – 2,169.8 tonnes
07/08 – 2,101.7 tonnes
08/09 – 2,013.5 tonnes
09/10 – 1,800.0 tonnes

SALIX Finance works with UK public sector bodies, providing interest free funding. It is an independent, publicly funded company, set up in 2004, to accelerate public sector investment in energy efficiency technologies through invest to save schemes. Salix has public funding from the Carbon Trust and is working across the UK public sector with Local Authorities, NHS Trusts, Higher and Further Education institutions and Central Government.

The Merton Rule is the groundbreaking planning policy developed by Merton Council which requires the use of renewable energy onsite to reduce annual CO2 emissions in the built environment. Merton developed the rule and adopted it in 2003. Its impact was so great that the then Mayor of London and many councils implemented the rule. It has also been included in national planning guidance.