County council pledges 100 per cent renewable energy

Street lights and council buildings in East Sussex will be powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity from next year.

The decision to switch to a new environmentally-friendly contract was taken as millions around the world took to the streets on the first day of a week-long climate change protest.

Under the new contract, all electricity used by East Sussex County Council will come from renewable sources from April next year.

It means all 40,000 of the county’s street lights and illuminated signs, as well as libraries and council buildings, will be powered only from electricity generated from sources such as wind, tidal and solar power.

The decision was taken by Councillor Nick Bennett, county council deputy leader and lead member for resources, at his lead member meeting  on Friday.

Mr Bennett said: “As a council, we’ve taken huge strides in recent years towards cutting our carbon emissions, which have more than halved in the past decade.

“The new contract allows us to do even more to meet our target of reducing our carbon footprint by three per cent every year, while still obtaining a good deal for our electricity.

“On a day when millions of people around the world are marching for climate action, the council is doing its bit to tackle the climate emergency and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The council will also encourage schools, which are responsible for agreeing their own energy contracts, to sign up to the 100 per cent renewable deal, secured via Government procurement organisation Crown Commercial Service.

While the prohibitively high cost means the council won’t be switching to 100 per cent renewable gas yet, this will be reviewed every six months with the aim of switching when it’s possible to obtain a deal which allows the council to get value for money for taxpayers.

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