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Fire Stations To Install Solar Panels

A few days ago the Policy & Strategy Committee of Essex Fire Authority approved the installation of solar panels on a portfolio of the fire service’s properties at a cost of £1.93 million. Apparently this will result in savings of around £190,000 per annum and will of course help the environment by reducing carbon emissions by an estimated 486 tonnes each year. These savings would come from reduced electricity bills and the feed-in-tariff scheme and mean that the outlay has been recouped in about ten years time.

Essex Fire Authority has decided to install solar panels on a number of their properties

However, this decision has not gone down well with one councillor from Essex County Council who sits on the above committee. That individual was the only person who was not in favour of the solar photovoltaic scheme and voted against the proposal.

That person felt that the funds would be better spent on recruiting more fire fighters for the Essex Fire Authority as, in July, the fire brigade were not able to utilise just over 10% of their fire engines due to the inability to man them all. Alternatively, the monies could be held back and utilised in next year’s budget.

Apparently, the fire service in Essex started to look at ways of investing funds with a view to saving money in the long term when it became apparent that there would be a surplus against their revenue budget for 2013/14.

Some of the fire stations that are scheduled to have solar panels installed are Witham, Ongar, Burnham, Basildon, Chelmsford, Wickford, Hawkwell, Billericay, Grays, Southend, Canvey and Brentwood.

Presumably, a great deal of thought and debating has taken place before a decision was reached to take forward the solar panel scheme including where else the funds could have been spent. We would welcome any comments from our readers on what could prove to be a sensitive issue.

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