Cutting carbon is one way of creating jobs

THE council is ready to endorse an ambitious £366 million scheme to create 450 jobs, slash energy costs and help save the planet.

If the Energy Future Strategy works properly, it should pay for itself and slash Calderdale’s carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2020.

Senior Lib Lab councillors have already given the strategy the green light and Calderdale Council as a whole will be asked to back the plan at its meeting on February 15.

Economy and environment spokesman Barry Collins (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) said: “This is just a milestone on the way to a more challenging target of an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050.”

Academic research on how these goals might be achieved in Calderdale suggests starting with measures that will have the most carbon reduction impact for the least cost.

In a nutshell, it means ramping up efforts to insulate homes, more energy efficient heating and lighting, greater use of public transport, more wind turbines and host of other measures which would be relatively inexpensive.

Anthony Rae, the coordinator for Calderdale Friends of the Earth, said: “Investing £366 million would pay back over four years with a 69 per cent reduction in the projected increase in energy bills.

“That, together with national measures, would result in a 36 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and is likely to generate 450 jobs.”

The Calderdale study, which involved Leeds and York Universities and the Centre for Climate Change, identifies further measures to achieve the full 40 per cent target but which could be less cost-effective.2010, it is estimated that £368 million was spent on gas, electricity, oil and other sources of energy in Calderdale.

The bill is expected to rise to more than £500 million in 2020.

“Measures that pay for themselves through reducing energy consumption would cost about £320 million over 10 years but would leave a legacy of other social, economic and health benefits,” according to the strategy.

As well as creating jobs by altering, adapting and insulating buildings, the switch to a low-carbon future would boost skills, enable firms to expand into new markets, reduce Calderdale’s reliance on increasingly expensive fossil fuels, produce a better accommodation, a cleaner environment and a healthier population.