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Multi-million-pound grant secured by Cheshire West and Chester Council to provide greener heating and energy measures

Cheshire West and Chester Clean Energy 16/03/2021

Funding from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme

Cheshire West and Chester Council has secured a 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 £5,836,172 from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS), which was launched by The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last year 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.

Qwest Services manages the Council’s Capital Works repair and maintenance schedule and submitted 14 buildings in the application for funding.  These buildings were identified as being the most appropriate for the installation of Air Source Heat Pumps, Hybrid Heating Systems, Solar PV (Photovoltaic), 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: “We have a responsibility to take concerted action at a local level to limit the impact of climate change.  Last month, the Council published its plans showing how we will take collective action with our partners, industry and communities to make this borough carbon-neutral by 2045.  Schemes such as this are critical to creating a cleaner, greener, fairer and more prosperous area.”

The buildings named in the application include four schools, Deebank Primary, Ellesmere Port Catholic High School, Greenbank Primary and Helsby High School, and four Council buildings, Chester Crematorium, Grosvenor Museum, Northern Lights and Wyvern House.

Six Brio Leisure sites are also part of the programme, including Ellesmere Port Sports Village, Christleton Sports Centre, Northgate Arena, Northwich Memorial Court, Neston Recreation Centre and Winsford Lifestyle Centre. Brio Leisure is another Council company, established to deliver community, sport, entertainment and leisure facilities in the borough.

Brio’s Managing Director, Elly McFahn, said:This decarbonisation investment comes at a really opportune time for Brio sites, as we are already underway in refurbishment and upgrade at Northgate Arena, and during the COVID-19 crisis and cessation of leisure activity have been working hard to improve and invest in our facilities. Brio sites are a significant user of utilities so having cost effective as well as carbon reducing solutions will ensure their longer-term sustainability for many years.”                 

Now the funding has been secured, the next stage is for all buildings to have a technical design assessment.  Installation works will be phased over the next six months with a target deadline for completion September 2021.

Ben Cummins, Managing Director of Qwest Services, the Council company responsible for delivering the works, said: “Reflecting our commitment to deliver a carbon zero Cheshire West and Chester, Qwest has worked tirelessly over the last six months to secure £5.8m of grant funding from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.  I am extremely proud of how Qwest teams have worked together to maximise the value of this funding for the Council to reduce annual energy bills by over £50k alongside a carbon reduction of 933 tCO2.”