First Green council undertakes energy revolution

Work is underway to radically boost energy from renewable sources produced in Brighton & Hove, the local authority led by a minority Green Party administration.

In April, an independent scrutiny commission set up by the council called on the authority to help radically increase use of low-carbon power city-wide.

Now a report, discussed at last week's Brighton and Hove cabinet meeting, has outlined the council's response and highlighted progress towards the goal:

* The authority is pursuing is a major installation of large solar electricity panels on dozens of council buildings and schools, plus 1600 homes. Work is expected to start this year.

* Households are to be encouraged to take advantage of currently generous payments for domestic electricity generation under the Feed-in Tariff scheme.

* Some new or refurbished school buildings are being fitted with solar hot water and electricity panels plus air-and ground-source heat pumps which cut electricity use.

* The council has undertaken to work with developers of major schemes, such as Shoreham Port, to ensure as much renewable energy as possible is included.

* A Climate Change Action Plan will be published by the council in the autumn, addressing housing, transport, industry, commerce, and sustainable energy.

* A new online tool helping developers to plan low-energy buildings has been introduced this month by the council's planning service.

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