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Taxpayers To Save £650m Yearly As Government Upgrade Public Buildings

4 min


Credit: City Suites, Flickr
Across England, hundreds of public buildings will cut their use of expensive fossil fuels and save millions of pounds on bills, thanks to £553 million in government funding for affordable, low carbon heating and energy efficiency upgrades. Quadrant Smart looks at the funding and how it will benefit taxpayers.

These upgraded heating systems, powered by cleaner, cheaper and renewable energy, will reduce the use of fossil fuels exposed to volatile global energy prices, support thousands of jobs and save taxpayers money as these measures will ensure public buildings are cheaper to heat. Local authorities, public bodies and taxpayers are expected to save an average of £650 million per year on energy bills over the next 15 years.

Clean, efficient heat pumps installed, and energy efficiency upgrades (such as insulation) fitted in 160 public sector organisations such as Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Manchester Fire and Rescue and historic venues at the Royal Botanic Gardens, will be seen through the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme funding.

Upgrades are already underway with grants awarded to 381 public sector organisations across England under the first two phases of the Government’s scheme. Phase one alone is supporting up to 30,000 clean jobs in the clean heating and energy efficiency sectors.

Business and Energy Minister, Lord Callanan, said: “Using cleaner technology to heat our civic buildings is helping to shield public sector organisations from costly fossil fuels, especially at a time of high global prices.

This funding will bring significant savings for taxpayers of well over half a billion pounds each year by making public buildings cheaper to run, heat and cool, whilst supporting economic growth and jobs across the country.

The first round of funding allocated through Phase three of the government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme will provide grants to 160 public sector organisations across the country to install 217 clean heat and energy efficiency projects.

It is part of the £6.6 billion the Government is investing in this parliament to cut fossil fuel use and emissions from buildings.

In addition to the funding that is allocated to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, over £2 billion is aimed specifically at lower-income households and saving people money on their energy bills.

Supporting the aim of reducing emissions from public sector buildings by 75% by 2037, the scheme’s funding is the first part of an overall £1.425 billion due to be allocated through Phase 3 over three years until 2025.

It will benefit the public sector by providing multiple opportunities to secure funding through Phase 3 of the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

England’s Most Recognisable Public Buildings Will Benefit

Low carbon heating systems, including heat pumps and electric heating, will be installed in some of England’s most recognisable public buildings. Many of the projects also will be fitting energy efficiency measures, such as wall and roof installation, double glazing and LED lighting, and renewables such as solar panels.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust is receiving more than £70 million to decarbonise Queens Medical Centre, and Leeds City Council is receiving £4.3 million to decarbonise six primary schools and four child daycare centres.

Hartismere Family of Schools will receive more than £600,000 to install a heat pump and improve the energy efficiency of Somerleyton Primary School in Suffolk, a school which was built in 1845 and still has a thatched roof.

Exmoor National Park Authority is receiving £115,000 to install clean heating at Pinkery Outdoor Education Centre, which is off-grid and has no mains gas, electricity or water.

Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust is receiving more than £50 million to install clean heating and energy efficiency measures in Birmingham Women’s Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital, while Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust will be awarded £32 million to decarbonise New Cross Hospital.

While Greater Manchester Combined Authority is receiving £15.5 million to install low carbon heating in various notable institutions, including Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, the University of Salford, the National Football Museum and Manchester University.

This Funding Is Essential To Carbon Neutral Target

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Here in Greater Manchester we know we need to be taking bold and meaningful steps at every level to become carbon neutral by 2038. By moving towards a greener economy we can foster new skills and create thousands of good jobs, powering our recovery from the pandemic and charting a course to a more sustainable, low-carbon future.

The £100m funding that we’ve been awarded so far is helping our public sector to lead the way in this effort, showing exactly what we can achieve with the right investment and a collaborative approach.

“We’ve retrofitted more than 130 public buildings and cut more than 8,000 tonnes of harmful emissions, at the same time as supporting and safeguarding almost 2,000 jobs in our local economy.

“We hope this is just the start of a renewed effort to work together at a national and local level, helping us to go further and faster in cutting emissions and tackling the climate emergency.”