Council's ambitious pledge to become greener

Solar panels, movement-controlled lights and harvesting rainwater are at the forefront of plans to make Wigan Council more environmentally-friendly.

Thursday, 20th June 2019, 8:25 am
Updated Thursday, 20th June 2019, 9:25 am
Solar panels

Council bosses have unveiled proposals to turn their vast “super-depot” carbon-neutral within the next 12 months.

It comes as GM mayor Andy Burnham says the entire city-region will reduce its net carbon footprint to zero by 2038, 12 years earlier than the national target.

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The vast super-depot could be carbon neutral within 12 months

Proposals to strengthen the Makerfield Way depot’s roof so that it can be covered in solar panels will help cut down on energy costs and power a growing fleet of electric vehicles, the town hall said.

Meanwhile, harvested rainwater will be used to wash vehicles and re-routed to flush toilets.

Speaking at a town hall committee meeting, Wigan environment director Paul Barton said local authorities across the country are starting to “nail their colours to the mast” in terms of green policies.

He told colleagues the borough’s improving recycling rates, clean air plans and crackdown on littering as part of the authority’s Deal 2030 strategy will make a significant environmental impact.

Since moving to a three-weekly bin collection rota in 2017, the recycling rate has increased from 42 per cent to 53, he added.

“We want to get to 65 per cent by 2035, that’s the target. But to get there will be a massive task,” Mr Barton told the confident places scrutiny committee.

“Out of Deal 2030 and through national strategy we will be reducing our carbon footprint.

“Some councils are announcing emergency climate measures and nailing their colours to the mast by going fully carbon neutral by 2030, I think that’s something we should consider as a council. We could develop a strategy to support that.”

The council created the super-depot facility in 2013 by moving all its core services under one roof and converting a former Asda warehouse. Other projects to help it reach its carbon-neutral target include the use of motion-sensor LED lights to reduce energy costs and requiring all staff based at the depot to undertake “carbon literacy training”.

Carbon-neutral status is reached when a facility or organisation makes no net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, by reducing emissions and off-setting measures such as planting more trees.