Cheshire Fire is playing its part to help halt climate change
While the eyes of the world have been on Glasgow and COP26, closer to home Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) has a vision to become one of the country’s leading fire and rescue service practitioners in carbon emissions reduction.
CFRS is committed to its policy to maximise energy efficiency, reduce and prevent pollution and minimise any adverse impact on the environment at operational incidents. The Government’s challenging targets in this regard are putting pressure on CFRS to adapt quickly. It is considering the viability of an all-electric fleet and striving to make its buildings self-sufficient as far as energy use is concerned.
Chief Fire Officer, Mark Cashin said: “Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service responds to a broad range of emergencies, which cover the changing risks that face our community. It is committed to environmental aims, maintaining a focus to increase energy efficiency, reduce and prevent pollution and minimise any adverse impact on the environment at operational incidents.”
CFRS is a number of years into a plan to improve its buildings with carbon reduction a very high priority. This has resulted in more efficient buildings and some that produce enough energy to feed back into the national grid. Most recently Chester Fire Station was officially opened following a complete new build. It is one of the first carbon neutral fire stations in the country and this has been achieved by the use of 580 m2 of solar panels on the roof along with other energy saving features.
As part of a programme to modernise its fire stations CFRS is fitting solar panels wherever they can be effective. The work should not only mitigate energy usage but also help to supply power to the electric vehicle charging systems on site. The programme is also helping to improve thermal performance with better insulated roofing systems and new windows and doors.
Research is being carried out nationally with a view to developing an affordable electric, or alternative environmentally-friendly fire engine and CFRS is keeping a keen eye on developments.
CFRS is committed to improving biodiversity on its fire stations and other sites. It is engaging with a biodiversity expert for its grounds maintenance contractor and has already begun to look at ideas to improve the environment at a number of fire stations. New wildflower installations have been created at Chester Fire Station and the new training centre in Winsford and the work developed over a number of years at Runcorn Fire Station sees raised beds in their green space, used by local schools under the watchful tutelage of a Service volunteer and firefighters.
Key initiatives from the previous Environmental Strategy have already been implemented, namely: biomass heating at CFRS’s Training Centre in Winsford; some electric vehicle fleet; installation of solar panels at seven sites; targeted boiler and lighting upgrades to remove oil as a heating fuel and the introduce LED lighting in key locations.
There is a 99.9 per cent diversion from landfill to a two tier waste system and there is a continued decrease in printing and the use of paper for publications such as the Annual Report and Integrated Risk Management Plan.
CFRS is looking to reduce and mitigate emissions by a further 300 tonnes CO2e through focusing on key areas by 2025. To help achieve all its targets a network of environmental champions is being recruited across CFRS to boost the focus on the environment and climate change. Its recently published annual Carbon Emissions Report (April 2020-March 2021) shows a reduction of 59 per cent in carbon emissions since the requirement to monitor scope one and two emissions was introduced back in 2008/9. This success can be attributed to all the work described above. CFRS remains committed to making further reductions.
Chair of Cheshire Fire Authority, Cllr Bob Rudd, explained: “We on the Fire Authority take our public leadership responsibility seriously and, as such, have introduced an Environmental and Climate Change Strategy setting out how we will take action and act responsibility. The Authority is committed to seeking and acting on advice, where appropriate, from external agencies and organisations and will regularly review environmental policy, procedures, objectives and targets.”
Read Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service's Environment and Climate Change Strategy 2020-2025 (new window PDF)
Last updated: Thursday 11 November 2021