Local authorities leading the charge in responding to the world’s ‘code red’ on climate change

Local authorities are leading the way in helping the UK to meet its net zero targets, says development partner Alliance Leisure, following the launch of the UN’s landmark report on climate change.

James Foley, Commercial Director at Alliance Leisure, says public sector providers in particular are playing a key role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the government’s 2050 target by committing to strategic projects to decarbonise their activities through targeted investment in equipment and infrastructure.

“The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report shows that human activity is “unequivocally” the cause of rapid changes to the climate resulting in extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding. We are working with public sector leisure providers across the UK to improve energy efficiencies and cut carbon emissions across entire communities,” he says.

“Many of the UK’s sports and leisure centres were built in the 1970s and are extremely energy inefficient generating high carbon emissions. Any improvements we make to these sites will have a significant impact on local sustainability targets.”

For example, Alliance Leisure is working with Hambleton District Council to cut carbon emissions across four leisure centres at Northallerton, Stokesley, Bedale and Thirsk. Alliance helped the council to secure a £4.7m Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme grant to fund the installation of new heat pumps, solar panels and LED light fittings. Projections indicate these collective efficiencies will result in 57 per cent per annum reduction in the carbon output for each centre, with the added bonus of a £38,985 projected cost saving per year.

The government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is designed to help councils improve efficiencies and cut carbons from public sector buildings. Both rounds of the fund proved a huge success with phase two closing after just one week after receiving applications worth more than £150m for the £75m fund.

“This demonstrates just how proactive local authorities are in delivering the net zero agenda. And we are firmly committed to helping our public sector partners play their part in cutting carbon emissions to help avert a climate catastrophe.”

The climate crisis and the findings from the IPCC report will be a key focus at the international summit, scheduled to take place in Glasgow, UK, this November.