MP praise as Fire Service goes green

Chris Huhne and John Bonney 04

Chris Huhne MP and Chief Officer John Bonney

Chris Huhne MP showed his support for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s commitment to the environment at a recent visit to the Service’s Headquarters in Eastleigh on 13 January 2012.

At a meeting with Chief Officer John Bonney, Chris Huhne MP was presented with the Service’s polices and plans that outline its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint through a range of new measures. Protecting the environment is one of the Service’s five priority areas, which have recently been updated and are to be presented to the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority quarterly meeting on 9 February 2012.

In April, the Service clearly showed its commitment to the environment, with the opening of its new ‘green’ fire station in Winchester. The new station benefits from some proven eco-friendly technology including; ground source heat pumps, rainwater harvesting, solar panels for water heating, and photovoltaic panels for power generation. In 2011 the building was certified as ‘excellent’ by BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM). This is the world’s most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings, setting the standard for best practice in sustainable design.

The Service has also already been working with the Carbon Trust to reduce its carbon footprint and has identified a number of projects to help to achieve its target, including:

  • installing double glazing and improving the heating and lighting at its headquarters and other buildings across the county;
  • introducing automatic meter reading to improve the way it monitors the amount of energy it uses;
  • using more efficient ways of travelling and avoiding the need to travel where possible; and
  • using a network of staff, who have volunteered to be ‘environmental champions’, to help it to identify and put in place energy-saving improvements.

The Service has also achieved a 30% reduction in the number of fires (compared with its 2008 baseline) which has contributed to reducing its carbon footprint. Fewer fires means less travel, and this means less damage to the environment.

Chief Officer Bonney comments on the recent meeting and the Service’s commitment, “Despite the challenging financial climate we currently face, we want to make sure the environment does not suffer and we remain committed to reducing our carbon footprint. The environment remains one of our five priority areas for the next five years and we will look to reduce our carbon footprint through a number of measures. It is important to note that while some of these measures, including the new windows in our buildings across the Service, cost money they will reduce our energy consumption and therefore our outgoing costs. The opening of our ‘green’ Winchester Fire Station is a striking example of our commitment to ‘going green’ and we will continue to look for opportunities like these in the future.”

Chris Huhne MP comments on Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service environmental priority, “Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have always been good at putting out fires – and hence cutting carbon. Now they are going a step further to cut their emissions while they work.

I’m delighted that the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have taken a lead on this issue. This shows that by prioritising environmental concerns, cutting your carbon footprint and making your organisation more energy efficient, you can save money while going green.”

Chris added:

“Not only this, but the service has managed to reduce the number of fires over the last 4 years by nearly a third – a fantastic achievement! Eastleigh and Hampshire can be very proud of its fire and rescue service.”

Photo: HFRS

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