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Questions over council building viability in move to become carbon neutral

QUESTIONS have been asked whether an increasingly important office will be “viable” as a council endeavours to become carbon neutral.

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Regeneration committee on Wednesday, December 8, councillors were given a progress report on how the shift to zero carbon by 2030 is progressing.

One of the major pieces of work the council needs to do in the coming months is the “Building Readiness Assessment.”

This will look at all the energy efficiency of all the council’s buildings and properties, look at what needs to be done to make them climate friendly, and then assess the cost.

Due to the closure of Blaenau Gwent’s Civic Centre and a move towards new working practices, Anvil Court in Abertillery has become an important base for services, especially to the south of the county.

Cllr John Morgan pointed out that the report stated that the council’s ambition is that; “All public buildings supplied with low carbon heat by 2030.”

Cllr Morgan said: “It’s a very challenging ambitious target

“Which brings me to the suitability of Anvil Court.

“That’s going to be the main council building and it’s leased and will need a lot of investment to the condition required.”

Considering the work and cost it would take to turn Anvil Court into an efficient building Cllr Morgan asked whether the building was going to be “viable” in the future.

The council’s director of environment and economy, Richard Crook said: “We have to look and go through this process for all our buildings, to see what we need to do to get to that position of carbon zero by 2030 it’s a challenge for our council and the public sector as a whole.

“No one knows what the cost is, we can’t give the answer for any specific buildings because we’re doing the work at the moment.

“It will lead to decisions across a number of buildings that we’ll have to make.”

Cllr Wayne Hodgins asked whether there would be extra funding to access to do this work?

Blaenau Gwent managing director Michelle Morris: “There will need to be significant investment across our property portfolio and schools, as any built will need to be to a net zero standard.

“Some of the resources we’ll use will be our own, through our capital programme.

“But the reality is we will be looking for support from other areas.”

“Other authorities will be looking for that investment as well as it’s going be huge across the public sector.”

“Where we can go for funding we will absolutely do that.

“The work we’re doing here is understanding what the challenges are and putting a plan together.”

She told councillors the results of the building assessment will need to be discussed next year – probably with the new council following the May local elections.


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