Glastonbury Town Council cuts carbon footprint by 39% in two years, and saves over £4,000 per year in running costs.
Over the past two years, Glastonbury Town Council (GTC) has been working to meet its commitment to respond to the Climate & Ecological Emergency, and to make its operations carbon neutral by 2030. Three actions have had a significant effect already, and by the end of 2023 GTC’s carbon footprint is expected to have dropped by 39%, by:
- Reducing by 100% the carbon emissions from electricity use, by switching to Ecotricity, which is an electricity supplier that is 100% renewable. According to Ethical Consumer, the only other suppliers who genuinely offer this are: GEUK, Good Energy, and Ripple Energy.
- Reducing by 49% the vehicle emissions, by replacing the old diesel van with a second-hand electric van.
- Reducing by 36% the emissions from gas used to heat the town hall, by replacing the ancient gas boiler with a new efficient one, and zoning some of the heating system so that it works more efficiently.
Although this work has required some investment, these three actions alone are already expected to save the council at least £4,000 in running costs each year. When taken together, the additional costs of investing in these low carbon options will be paid back within 3 years, and from then on will enable net savings.
So how does this help the people who live and work in Glastonbury? Changes that cut carbon also produce other benefits:
- Saving money – A more efficiently run council will free up funds, when they stop wasting gas to heat a big old draughty building, and diesel to run an old van.
- Cleaner air – As the electric van travels around the town, it’s no longer belching out diesel fumes.
- Supporting EVs – The charger for Electric Vehicles (EV’s) in the Town Hall carpark was one of the first in the town, further supporting cleaner air. A pay as you go charger is due to be installed, which will earn GTC an added income.
GTC isn’t only focussed on carbon. It is also working to make Glastonbury a safer, happier, healthier place for everyone, by reducing waste, protecting nature, spreading the word, and preparing for future challenges … by:
- Restoring and protecting nature – By planting trees and hedges, and supporting community planting projects such as Fisher’s Hill Community Garden, GTC are helping to make the town greener, and healthier.
- Saving water – The rainwater collection tanks used to water much of the planting, save water, and also help to prevent flooding.
- Reducing resource use, by mostly switching from paper to digital documents, which also makes better use of staff time.
- Supporting community groups – Glastonbury Town Council, together with its Climate & Ecological Emergency Advisory Committee (CEEAC), have been responsible for an astounding range of community-based activities, helping to make the town safer, healthier and happier: litter picking, repair café, community fridge, bus campaign group, walking and cycling campaigns, support for local food growers. The CEEAC produce a regular newsletter, and have an information stall at the Tuesday market.
- Feeling part of a diverse community that puts the Earth first, and is an Earth Protector Town.
So, what’s next?
While cutting carbon by 39% is a good start, GTC still have a lot of work to do to reach carbon neutral by 2030. And, in their role to serve the people of Glastonbury, everything they plan to do must also reduce waste, save money, protect the natural world, support community projects, and help everyone to prepare for the changes that lie ahead. This will include:
- Town Hall improvements – A retrofit plan, insulation, double glazed windows, ventilation, and zoning the heating system.
- Appropriate technology – Solar panels, EV chargers, energy management.
- Supporting nature – More tree, hedge and wildflower planting, encouraging food growing including allotments, peat restoration.
- Community events – Sharing experience and knowledge, and supporting projects.
- Building resilience – Emergency plans, practical and emotional support groups.
If you want to know more, or have ideas and questions, please contact Melissa Taylor, GTC’s Climate Emergency & Resilience Officer email@example.com
Visit GTC’s website page dedicated to the Climate Emergency & Resilience: https://glastonbury.gov.uk/council/committees/glastonbury-climate-emergency-resilience/ And the Climate & Ecological Emergency Advisory Committee Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/751382626396387
Reduce – take less, give more
Decarbonise – use clean machines where appropriate
Support Nature – protect and restore the home we share with all beings
Influence – offer support and stories
Adapt – be ready, be kind