Sunday, 4 July 2010

What will become of Performance Indicator 185

As human civilisation begins it's planned collapse ( at least north of the home counties) you have no doubt been losing sleep over how the cuts in public spending are going to affect national performance indicator 185. For the benefit of the half dozen people in the UK who don't know, 185 is the measure by which we judge how individual local authorities are doing in terms of reducing carbon emissions resulting from their own operations. This generally means things such as carbon from the vehicle fleets, use of energy in public buildings, powering the councillors free beverage machine in Crown Court buildings etc. With the abolition of the Comprehansive Area Assessment Regime (star ratings for Councils) the whole performance framework and what it's for is thrown into disarray anyway. I mean to say if civilisation is going to collapse and you're the government in charge you don't want anyone actually measuring it do you?

If we are still measuring emissions for national government (I guess we are but must find out) then its just been a good week for 185 in Kirklees. The Environment Unit has just moved out of Estate Buildings on Railway Street and gone into relatively more carbon benign premises in Civic Centre 3. With staff cuts already coming into affect the opportunities to fit more staff in less buildings is finally becoming a reality. Gone are the plug in electric heaters in victorian stone built offices and now into gas heated offices with solar water heating and electricity and the erm... wind  turbine, wel the one that's still working anyway. The Environment Unit move is just one example of the reorganisation of the Councils offices and of course reducing costs is a bigger driver right now than reducing carbon emissions. The question has to be asked though as to whether or not this is a good thing? Estate Buildings is still there, it has not had a snazzy eco-refurb with internal insulation and a biomass communal heating system installed. Presumably if  someone came along tomorrow and wanted to rent that office from the Council then they would soon be in there using plug in electric heaters.

Reducing Council carbon emissions is of course a good thing, but it should demonstrate an approach which improves the Council's carbon hungry stock or our vehicles not simply discards them to be used by others. Of course that would require money! Difficult things have suddenly become more difficult.

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