Green goal reaps benefits for Avon Fire & Rescue Service

AF&RS logoAvon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) has met an ambitious target to reduce the impact of its business on the environment.

In 2009 the Service set out a Carbon Management Plan to reduce its carbon emissions from energy use, fuel and travel by 30% by over five years.

Through a range of measures, for example upgrading heating and lighting systems, using new technology to monitor and control the use of energy, replacing diesel vehicles with electric and hybrid cars as part of the AF&RS ancillary fleet and changing suppliers and working practices, the target has been achieved.

Since the introduction of the plan, AF&RS’s annual energy and travel costs have been reduced by over £100,000 at a time when energy prices have been rising and the service’s estate has grown.

Simon Richards, AF&RS Environmental and Energy Improvement Co-ordinator, said: “The last few years have seen many changes to the way we conduct our business at AF&RS. We have been integrating renewable energy sources, such as solar for water hearing and electricity generation when refurbishing some of our buildings, reducing the number of miles our vehicles travel, and encouraging our staff to take action and switch off lights and electrical equipment when not in use and reduce heating demand.

“Much of the work we have done is about changing behaviour. For example, we have encouraged staff to use the electric and hybrid cars we have in our fleet of ancillary vehicles and we promote the use of technology to try to reduce the need to travel in the first instance.”

AF&RS Chief Fire Officer, Kevin Pearson, said: “I am delighted with the success of our Carbon Management Plan. When it was introduced the 30% reduction target was very aspirational, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff, we have been able to achieve great results.

“The initial focus of the plan was to reduce the impact of our day-to-day business on the environment. Not only have our carbon emissions been significantly reduced, but it has contributed to significant financial savings during a period of austerity measures.

“The next phase for AF&RS is to ensure we continue to take an environmentally responsible approach to our ‘Investing for the Future’ programme by designing energy efficient buildings and using sustainable methods and materials during any building works we carry out.”