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Northumberland National Park reduces carbon emissions

Other posts by  |  Frances Whitehead on Google+ |  June 15, 2012 | 0 Comments
Crag Lough in Hadrian's Wall country, within Northumberland National Park

Crag Lough in Hadrian’s Wall country, within Northumberland National Park © Kevin Eaves – Fotolia.com

Northumberland National Park Authority in the North East of England has decreased its carbon footprint for the fourth year in a row.

The park says that overall carbon emissions have now reduced by 39% since 2008/09, comfortably bypassing the Government’s target of a 34% reduction by 2020.

In raw terms, the National Park Authority’s carbon footprint has dropped by 121 tonnes of carbon dioxide to just 187 tonnes in 2011/12 – a reduction in carbon emissions equivalent to the entire electricity usage of 14 homes per year, or 330 individual passenger flights from Newcastle to Barcelona. This outstanding level of success is down to greener staff travel, more energy efficient buildings and the generation of renewable energy from solar panels.

Richard Austin, Climate Change Officer, explained the rationale behind the progress made. “We wanted to better understand our own business, and where the most of the carbon emissions were being created, so that we could prioritise those areas for making improvements. We then targeted our one-off investments where returns would be the best, that of our buildings and staff car journeys. Our overall challenge was to continue to deliver an excellent service while still working across the entire Northumberland National Park area, which is the most remote part of England.”

Once Brewed National Park Centre fitted with solar panels

Colin Wilson, Estates Officer, explained how he went about the changes. “We have fitted solar panels to the popular Once Brewed National Park Centre in the Hadrian’s Wall area of the National Park, installed air-to-air heat pumps to provide renewable energy at Ingram National Park Centre in the Cheviots, and refitted double and secondary glazing where we could. We have also made the change to energy efficient LED lighting and replaced our main computer network with a modern low energy system at our offices in Hexham and Rothbury.”

Northumberland National Park Authority believes in walking the talk on climate change. Over the last two years the Authority hastrialled electric vehicles and invested in a fleet of energy efficient diesel, hybrid and petrol cars. As well as creating a greener organisation, the new green cars have resulted in £30,000 of annual savings, thereby making strong financial sense.

Richard continued, “‘The electric vehicle trials were very helpful. We found that the model with a reliable range of 80 to 100 miles was particularly well received by staff and it became a useful addition to our fleet. There are now 12 electric changing points placed around the 1,000 kmNational Park, which are presently in the process of being upgraded to enable even faster charge times. These charging points are part of the pioneering electric vehicle initiative in the North East of England.”

The National Park Authority plans to continue the good practice and work with others to inspire and help them to make similar reductions to their own carbon footprints. Local people to the National Park can access advice and guidance, and in some instances grant-aid, to install renewable energy or to retro-fit insulation. For more information about climate change and grants from the National Park Authority, please contact climate.change@nnpa.org.uk.

For more about Climate Change in Northumberland National Park please visit  www.northumberlandnationalpark.org.uk/lookingafter/projects/climatechange

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