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Secret survey could cut taxpayers costs

PUBLISHED: 23:30 30 January 2004 | UPDATED: 14:51 03 March 2010

TAXPAYERS money could be saved by simply turning down the heat, it is claimed.

Andrew Stringer, a Green councillor for Mid Suffolk District Council went on a secret mission to take the temperature in council offices to see where money can be saved.

TAXPAYERS money could be saved by simply turning down the heat, it is claimed.

Andrew Stringer, a Green councillor for Mid Suffolk District Council went on a secret mission to take the temperature in council offices to see where money can be saved.

By taking his thermometer with him he has discovered that some offices are as hot as 24C and he thinks taxpayers money can be saved if the heating is reduced.

The council has been facing a dire financial situation after a worse than expected grant from central Government and has been looking at saving money – and increasing revenue.

Ideas to boost funds include to axe jobs and put up car parking charges.

Mr Stringer said: "The council needs to monitor what they do, this saves taxpayers money and helps the environment as we use oil. We need to be constantly looking, if we can be frugal at work, it all helps.

"At some council meetings in the county I hear that people open the windows it is so hot.''

A heating engineer has been called out to look at the council offices and a spokeswoman for the council said that with so much glass in the building, the temperature rises when the sun shines. But she said some officers have been so cold they have had to use portable heaters to boost the temperature.

In a statement the council said: "When the heating system at the Needham Market offices was designed in the early 70s, the acceptable ambient temperature for offices was 16 to 18 degrees. The system is very simple and it worked because people were comfortable at those levels.

"Over 30 years later, expectations and dress have changed, and now some people feel uncomfortably cool at the levels the heating system can provide. However, when they respond by using additional heat sources, thermostats close the system down, reducing its heat flow to everyone else.

"The result is that the building becomes very warm in isolated pockets, leaving cold areas that require even further independent heat sources to achieve a comfortable working temperature.


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