Service Secures Government Grant to Accelerate Sustainability Upgrades

Author: Communications and Engagement Team – RBFRS

Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service has successfully won £927,845 from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS) to significantly reduce our carbon footprint and improve energy efficiency.

Building on the Service’s successful Low Carbon Skills Fund Grant bid secured in 2023 and benefitting from further Royal Berkshire Fire Authority (RBFA) support, the Service intends to invest £1.77 million in sustainability improvements over the next two years across five of our least energy efficient buildings.

The two-year programme will see the introduction of sustainability features at properties that qualified for the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme grant support. The scheme is run by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and is delivered by Salix Finance.

These are: Newbury Fire Station, Whitley Wood Fire Station, Wokingham Road Fire Station, Langley Fire Station, Caversham Road Fire Station (accommodation building).

Features will include new LED lighting, solar panels, air-sourced heat pump systems and improved building insulation. These improvements will save 132 tonnes of carbon generation and tens of thousands of pounds off our energy bills every year, leading to greater efficiencies.

Mark Arkwell, Deputy Chief Fire Officer, said: “As a fire service, we are committed to ensuring we are doing all we can to reduce our impact on the environment. This funding is a fantastic boost to help deliver our ambition of rapidly improving our estate for the benefit of staff, public and the planet. I believe it’s right for us to play a leading role in responding to the climate emergency and with 65% of our carbon coming from the estate we are sensible to focus on this area first This grant reflects months of hard work to ensure that we receive central support to deliver our local commitment to reduce our carbon output. I’d like to thank Salix who administer the PSDS on behalf of HM Government, for their support and guidance throughout the process and we look forward to continuing our relationship with them during our programme.”

Councillor Jeff Brooks, Chair of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, said: “We recognise that the Service has a key role to play in protecting our environment. By working together, we are incorporating environmental sustainability into all our major rebuild projects and improvement works. The refurbishment of Slough Fire Station is well underway, and a new Training Centre is scheduled to complete in 2025 (subject to planning permission), which include sustainability as a core element. Additionally, LED lighting upgrades are being rolled out across the rest of the estate in 2024. This is just a snapshot of some of the work being completed that places sustainability at the heart of upgrades. I am delighted that the Service has now received the PSDS grant and that we are able to match the Government funding of £927,845 with a RBFA contribution of £736,777 to make some of our least energy efficient sites more environmentally friendly.”

Director of Programmes at Salix Ian Rodger said: “The grant funding provided through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme will future proof these valuable and much used buildings.

“We are looking forward to working with the service and supporting the team as they progress their decarbonisation journey. We know that it is through this important collaboration that we will success in meeting vital net zero goals.”

For more information on our sustainability commitment, please read our Strategic Asset Investment Framework.

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