London fire brigade leads climate change fight

The London Fire Brigade was rewarded for its efforts to fight climate change as it came top in the Sustainable City Awards, scooping the main trophy as well as the sustainable procurement award.

Four London fire stations are already equipped with solar panels or wind turbines and the organisation is running on 100% green electricity from suppliers n-power and Scottish & Southern. With other 40 projects in the pipeline London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority which runs the capital’s fire brigade is taking its responsibilities to the planet seriously.

“We are thrilled at having won the award,” Ian Shaw, energy manager for the Fire and Emergency Authority, told edie. The main focus of the fire services’ green strategy is climate change, although efforts are also made to purchase recycled materials. “As an organisation we are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, and we’ll feel the impacts of things like increased flooding,” Ian Shaw added.

Other initiatives include fitting all fire engines with low-emission technology – this objective has now been “practically completed” and for all service vehicles to go dual-fuel, he said.

The first fire station to go green back in November 2005, in Richmond, produces three-quarters of its electricity from the PV panels on its roof and buys the rest from green energy suppliers Good Energy (see related story).

Acton station with its PV panels has now been added to the brigade’s green building portfolio along with stations in Wennington and Hayes which are partly powered by wind turbines.

Funding from the DTI’s Solar Photo Voltaic Major Demonstration Programme and technical advice from the London Climate Change Agency helped turn the micro-renewables projects into reality.

Presenting the awards, The Ecologist editor Zac Goldsmith said: “Climate change isn’t just an impeding threat, it is also an impeding opportunity, and tonight’s winners are one of the first to get to grips with that.”

“I think it’s amazing how quickly things have changed. Until very recently the environment was something left to the professional environmentalists, and since then we can see bizarre things happening” such as Tesco’s promise to put a carbon price on each of their products, the Evangelical Movement’s or climate change campaign has been launched by,” he told an audience gathered for the awards ceremony at Mansion House in London on Wednesday.

The Evangelists’ campaign slogan is “what car would Jesus Christ drive?,” he added.

The sixth annual Sustainable City Awards, formally Liveable City Awards, received 130 entries ranging from multinationals to small family-run firms in the 2007 session.

Other winners across the eight categories included the Metropolitan Police for their transport strategy, the Food for All campaign which distributes discarded supermarket food to disadvantaged social groups, and BSkyB in the climate change category for a programme to limit the company’s and customers’ energy use.

Goska Romanowicz

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