Council announces £9million zero carbon project

EADT Land Charter Homes are offering a flight in their helicopter around Bury St Edmunds from the R

West Suffolk Council is driving forward with its plans to make the authority carbon-free - Credit: ANDY ABBOTT

Conservative-run West Suffolk Council is set to spend £9million in zero carbon measures this year as it raises council tax bills in the district.

The council tax rise will differ for the former St Edmundsbury and Forest Heath areas of the district as work to align the rate over several years concludes.

A Band D home in St Edmundsbury will pay £1.71 more, while homes in the former Forest Heath area in Band D will pay an extra £11.52 for the year.

Most homes will pay less as the majority are in bands A-C.

It is expected that council tax will be the same across the whole district from April 2023.

The £9m of environmental measures aims to help the authority meet its goal of becoming net zero by 2030, with bosses saying they hope this year’s investment will help deliver a 31% carbon saving by 2026.

Among the projects it will fund are improved energy efficiency and renewable sources in the authority’s buildings, replacing small vehicles in its fleet with electric vehicles and expansion of its Solar for Business scheme.

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It also proposes to switch its refuse truck fleet to hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) fuel.

The authority said the projects should deliver 2,279 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year once fully implemented.

Elsewhere £1.3m investment in parks and heritage sites like West Stow and Moyse’s Hall has been earmarked and another £1m in leisure asset management.

Sarah Broughton, Conservative portfolio holder for resources and property for West Suffolk Council, said: “This is a budget that will help drive business growth and more employment opportunities, better health facilities and outcomes as well as tackling climate change. In short helping people be healthier, more prosperous and kinder to the planet."

The council’s cabinet is set to discuss the proposals next week before it goes to full council later in the month for a final decision.

The West Suffolk portion of the council tax bill is added to the county council and policing elements. Suffolk County Council is planning a 3% rise while a 4.2% rise in the policing contribution has already been approved.