Huge cost of energy felt throughout area

SCHOOLS in Suffolk spent almost £5million on energy last year, it was revealed today.And councils based in east Suffolk spent a total of nearly £9million on electricity and gas bills over the financial year.

SCHOOLS in Suffolk spent almost £5million on energy last year, it was revealed today.

And councils based in east Suffolk spent a total of nearly £9million on electricity and gas bills over the financial year.

The biggest spender was Suffolk County Council which is responsible for most local authority spending throughout the county.

The total energy bill for the county council last year was £6.8million, including £4.9million spent on school buildings.

The county spent £210,000 on energy costs for its headquarters at Endeavour House in Ipswich.

Ipswich Borough Council's total energy bill for the year was £1.1million. One of the largest single bills was for the Crown Pools complex which cost £210,000.

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The borough's new headquarters at Grafton House cost £58,000 in energy bills, but that was for only about half a year since staff did not move out from Civic Centre until September.

Other buildings the council has to pay for included sports centres, the Regent Theatre, the Corn Exchange, Fore Street pool, Christchurch Mansion, the High Street museum, the Gipping House headquarters of the borough's refuse collection service, and sheltered housing complexes.

Other district councils do not have such large bills - although the way they run their leisure facilities mean some are not directly responsible for energy bills in these.

Suffolk Coastal District Council's energy bill for its Woodbridge headquarters last year was £43,000 but it is not directly responsible for other bills.

Swimming pools at Felixstowe, Woodbridge and Leiston are run by a separate company which is responsible for bills and housing - including sheltered housing - in the district is provided by housing associations.

Babergh District Council spent £58,000 on its headquarters in Hadleigh and a further £36,000 on other council buildings. It spent £154,000 on sheltered housing across the district.

The Kingfisher swimming pool in Sudbury cost nearly £160,000 in energy costs while the Hadleigh swimming pool cost £40,000.

Mid Suffolk District Council's Needham Market headquarters had energy bills totalling £47,000 and its other directly-managed buildings had a bill totalling just under £5,000.

It does not have figures for sports centres and swimming pools because they are operated by outside organisations which are responsible for the energy bills.

ENERGY efficiency is a vital subject for an organisation like Ipswich Borough Council, its leader said today.

Liz Harsant said an organisation as large and influential as the borough should reduce energy use as much as possible.

“It is clearly very important to save energy and to keep costs down,” she said.

“But it is also important to show an example to other businesses in the town.”

She said the borough was trying to be as energy-efficient as possible in all areas of its work.

“We are trying to ensure everything is as efficient as possible - from switching off lights and computers to trying to improve insulation,” she said.

Ipswich Labour spokesman Neil Macdonald urged the council to adopt new software which automatically switched off computers at the end of the day.

“This software has been used in Peterborough and similar software is used in Staffordshire. I know that in Peterborough the council claims it has saved tens of thousands of pounds. We should use it here in Ipswich,” he said.

Mid Suffolk District Council's Roy Barker said: “MSDC's Environmental Policy Statement commits the council to monitor and reduce energy consumption.

“As an example of the council's commitment to greener ways, during the recent building refurbishment for the Needham Market office, the opportunity was taken to introduce a number of green measures including high frequency, low energy, lighting; flow restricted taps; a more efficient heating distribution system; and modern boiler controls, valves, and pumps.”

Suffolk Coastal District Council recently called in the Carbon Trust to carry out an energy efficiency review of its Melton Hill offices and also of other council-owned buildings, many of which are currently managed by its partners, Suffolk Coastal Services and DC Leisure.

The Carbon Trust has also recently monitored a survey carried out at both leisure centres in Babergh. A spokesman for the council said: “The results from that survey will provide recommendations on how best to manage and reduce our consumption and costs.”

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