Durham County Council continues to take steps to cut carbon emissions. An Overview and Scrutiny committee has been tasked with carrying out a review of the council’s Carbon Management Programme and Cabinet was today asked to note the importance of the drive to reduce emissions when the committee presented its findings.

Cutting carbon emissions is a key objective for the council which aims to make reductions of up to 40 per cent by 2015.

Bearing in mind recent increases in energy prices, the council continues to look at ways to make savings wherever possible. The report recommends the council encourages staff to look at innovative ways to make changes such as reducing travel by using Skype, telephone conferencing and promoting the use of ‘hot desks’ available at all council offices.

Emissions have decreased each year and, when compared to other councils in the North East, the council is performing well.

Cllr Dan Myers, chair of the overview and scrutiny environment committee, said: “The new technologies and measures now available to help us in the drive to be kinder to our environment signal exciting times ahead.

“We are looking into a wide range of possibilities such as moving to alternative powered fleet vehicles and providing fuel efficient pool vehicles for staff to use.”

Other measures taken include the installation of biomass boilers, solar panels and other technologies to help reduce energy usage. A number of initiatives are also being trialled and these include dimming street lighting in allocated areas between the hours of midnight and 5.00am which should save 7,500 tones of carbon per year.