Solar panel stock image. Picture: Pixabay.

Borough council buildings across West Norfolk will soon be greener thanks to government grants totalling more than £3.8m.

Lynnsport, Downham Market Leisure Centre, Hunstanton’s Oasis and the grade I-listed St George’s Guildhall in King’s Lynn are among the buildings earmarked for new technology, such as solar panels, to make them more energy efficient and cut carbon emissions.

West Norfolk Council was awarded £2,838,546 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in January, following a successful first round bid.

There was more good news last month when  the authority learned its second bid for a further £1,013,138 was approved.

The grants, worth a combined £3,851,684, are from the government’s £1 billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme fund, part of the chancellor’s drive to create jobs during the UK’s economic recovery from COVID-19.

Paul Kunes, borough council cabinet member for climate change and commercial services, said: “These grants mean we can make our buildings more environmentally friendly through adapting to low or non-carbon generating technologies, such as solar PV panels and air and ground source heat pumps. 

“This is really exciting news and means a very big step forward in the council’s aim to become carbon neutral as soon as possible.

“The council’s first bid for £2.84m was successful in January and this was followed by a further grant of just over £1m in February.” 

With funding in place, the project is moving to the detailed design stage, including applying for any consents needed for changes to the buildings, and is due to be considered by cabinet members at a meeting on Tuesday, March 16.

Mr Kunes said the work should be completed before the end of the year. 

“The reduction in carbon emissions from the overall project is estimated at a total of 494 tonnes per year,” he added. 

The scheme is part of the council’s ongoing Re:fit programme and it will be working with green energy company Ameresco, its Re:Fit partners, to complete the project.

Seven buildings and sites in the borough featured in the first funding application, with different types of technology proposed, are as follows:

Lynnsport – solar panels and air source heat pump, Downham Leisure Centre – ground source heat pump, St James Pool in Lynn –air source heat pump, King’s Court council offices in Lynn – air source heat pump, timerclock controls (to save energy), Fairstead Community Centre – solar panels, loft insulation improvement, air source heat pump, Valentine Road council offices in Hunstanton – timerclock controls, solar panels loft insulation improvement, ground source heat pump,              and the council depot at Hardwick, Lynn – solar panels, cavity wall insulation improvement, ground source heat pump.

The second round bid covered the following buildings and technologies: Oasis, Hunstanton – air source heat pump, Guildhall, Lynn – air source heat pump, South Lynn Community Centre – solar panels, air source heat pump, and the Dutton Pavillion at Lynnsport – ground source heat pump.