How do you make a park even better for the environment?

24 Jan 2022

Nowton Park

It’s home to thousands of carbon guzzling trees, a haven for wildlife and a popular place for people to get out and exercise – but Nowton Park is about to get greener.

Work has started to install an air source heat pump that will serve the cafe, and toilets, replacing the gas boiler that is currently in place. The £22,000 investment will be installed over the coming weeks ahead of the school half term. No trees will be lost and it will save four tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

The improvements at Nowton Park are part of a wider £1.8m property decarbonisation programme by West Suffolk Council that will make a significant step toward its commitment to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

The property decarbonisation programme will save or offset a total of 124.95 tonnes of carbon emissions and includes:

  • 335 solar panels that have been installed at Vicon House in Western Way, Bury St Edmunds, saving 45 tonnes of carbon emissions per year
  • 128 solar panels to be installed at Provincial House in High Street, Haverhill, saving 17 tonnes of carbon emissions per year
  • 256 additional solar panels that have been installed at Mildenhall Hub, Sheldrick Way, Mildenhall, saving an additional 35 tonnes of carbon emissions per year
  • A battery energy storage system to be installed at West Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds which take the excess electricity generated from existing solar panels at the Council building and use it to supply power during peak demand. It means even in the event of a power cut, the site will have an uninterrupted power supply, while it will generate an income by selling renewable energy to the National Grid. It also adds capacity for additional renewable energy generation to be installed in the nearby area, helping further reduce carbon emissions. This will save at least 9 tonnes of carbon emissions
  • Air source heat pumps to replace gas boilers installed in early December at Bury St Edmunds Bus Station and to be installed over the next few weeks at Nowton Park Visitor Centre saving a total of 10.3 tonnes of carbon emissions per year
  • New glazing in the process of being installed at Provincial House, Haverhill to reduce heat loss, saving 8.65 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

The programme has been funded by £1.43m from the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme and a £370,000 investment from the Council. As well as the carbon savings, the measures will save around £80,000 a year.

Cllr Andy Drummond, Cabinet Member for Regulatory and Environment said: “We are committed to action on climate change, to looking at ways we can cut or offset carbon emissions. This decarbonisation programme shows that even in our beautiful green parkland, there are actions that we can take to help the environment. As part of the wider decarbonisation programme already underway, this will help us take a significant step towards the Council achieving net zero emissions by 2030.

“But it isn’t just about the Council’s footprint. As announced only earlier this month, we are also continuing our award-winning work to support residents on low incomes in low energy efficiency rated homes to cut their carbon emissions, save money and keep their homes warm. And we are supporting businesses achieve carbon and financial savings through actions such as our Solar for Business scheme.”

Cllr Sarah Broughton, Cabinet Member for Resources and Property said: “By investing in our properties – both those where Council services are based and those that we own and lease to tenants, we will not only improve their environmental performance, but also deliver year on year financial savings. All of this will help support both the ambitions and the day-to-day work of the Council as we face the challenges ahead.”

West Suffolk Council already owns one of the largest council owned solar farms in the UK. It has invested or secured investment in EV chargers at 16 locations across West Suffolk enabling 66 EVs to be charged at any one time with more to be delivered this year, and it uses 100 per cent renewable electricity of its office sites. It planted 1500 trees in 2020/21 and will be planting more this year.

For more information on West Suffolk Council’s environment work: Protecting our environment



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