Cleaner, Greener, Safer Budget Statement from Cllr Jane Birch

CLEANER, GREENER, SAFER

Money to green our economy and environment.

How can this authority bring money into the organisation?

Cllr Stone has already presented you with a number of ways to explore to achieve savings and generate new income.

Grants have already been mentioned. The Government is looking for a town to be the first electric bus town. How wonderful that would be for Northampton. The Drapery and bus station would be free of exhaust fumes and pollution. It would reduce emissions and make a positive statement about our declaration of a climate emergency.

Let’s look at our assets. There are so many missed opportunities to generate income through consistently short-sighted policies. We have marketable assets – parks, the Guildhall, the market square. These could provide realistic income generating opportunities. The administration, year on year, has failed to use imagination to capitalise valuable income. In the Guildhall alone there is a commercial kitchen, what about leasing it to a catering company and a café in the courtyard?

The borough has passed a policy to charge commercial companies a deposit to cover any damage to our parks caused by the event. These events often involve heavy fairground rides which compact the ground and cause lasting damage. These deposits are not being taken. Are the commercial events which charge high entrance fees paying for the use of our parks? The Fake Festival to be held on The Racecourse in August is charging up to £75 for a family ticket. You can’t tell me they are not making a huge profit. Our assets are providing profit for commercial firms at a cost to the town.

On to Borough contracts. Why is there an annual 3% increase in a council contract when the UK target inflation rate is 2%? How much income could be freed up by reducing this automatic hike in contract costs?

Compensation .What is the annual bill for compensation for injury to staff and the public due to slack Health and Safety checks and implementations of policies? This straightforward request for information has elicited a flurry of responses including an email copied to the Chief Exec, Leader of the Council and the monitoring officer. Why is this so sensitive? What are you hiding? I suspect that if H&S policies and procedure were tightened up money would be saved.

Utilities. There are 17 utility companies involved in supplying energy to Borough owned buildings. The annual bill is forecast to be £784,906.00. Let’s do a big switch to a green energy provider, save money and support a move to lower carbon emissions. CLEANER, GREENER AND CHEAPER

With money saved and income generated we could embark on energy saving schemes and those that would green our town and make it a safer place to live and work.

On to how this saved money could be put to good use to make our town CLEANER, GREENER AND SAFER.

How much would be saved, in this building alone, if LED lights were fitted? If the change to LED street lights can save £70K a year think of the potential savings. There would be a ROI within 2 years.

We could have a policy to convert all Borough vehicles to electric. This would save on fuel and tax. We could install electric vehicle charging points across the town. Virgin have a scheme for 7.5kw charging points attached to lampposts, installed at no cost, virgin take a tariff.

Companies will install 50kw charging points in areas of high usage, at no cost, to gain the income. We have suitable sites available.

There are only 6 charging points in the town centre, 46 in Northampton as a whole. Of these 16 are at Nationwide and 5 at the Toyota garage at Riverside. Milton Keynes have 100 in the centre and 206 in wider MK. Rushden Lakes have 20.

There are plans to install more charging points in Northampton. Are they where they are most needed? I know of 3 residents in Clarence Ave. who have electric cars and one nearby in Balmoral Road. I step over leads on the pavement when the cars are being charged.

If we are serious about the declared climate emergency we have to look at solar energy.

We have missed opportunities to benefit from government grants for solar power. We need to keep looking for new initiatives and opportunities.

Solar panels on all community centres and leisure centres owned by the Borough would come at a cost but with a ROI within 3 years and free green energy from then on. All Aldi supermarkets have 30kw of solar on the buildings. That will guarantee money saved for 30years.

We could put solar on other council owned properties such as the B&M store. The energy generated could be sold to the store for 7-10p per kw/hr, cheaper than commercial rates and income to the council for 30 years Generally investment in solar energy will give an 8% ROI and money back in 5 years.

And finally, at absolutely no cost to the council – tree planting on waste land. Why has the council not set up a tree planting policy? There are funded schemes to plant the right trees. This would provide a positive response to the climate emergency and make Northampton a green lung. NBC would provide the asset and open up that opportunity.

We CAN make Northampton CLEANER, GREENER, SAFER AND AT NO EXTRA COST.


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