Bishop Auckland Town Council is celebrating a funding award of £33,670 for a community solar project.
The funding will be used to support a study of where potential reductions in the carbon footprint can be made across the town.
Managed by the North East, Yorkshire and Humber Energy Hub and administered by the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority, the project will focus on a number of publicly owned buildings in the town. It will look at which buildings may be suitable for roof-mounted Solar PV systems.
Councillor Joy Allen, Mayor of Bishop Auckland said: “We declared a climate emergency in 2019 and adopted a target of being 60% carbon neutral by 2030 and ultimately becoming completely carbon neutral by 2050.
“It is our ambition to become the first carbon neutral town in County Durham and the Town Council has pledged with Investors in the Environment to reduce our own environmental impact and work towards accreditation with them.
“Since then I have been working closely with local charities, churches and Bishop Auckland Climate Action, supported by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership Rural Energy Officer to explore sustainable opportunities to help us achieve this ambitious target.
“Consequently, we submitted a funding application to the Rural Community Energy Fund and we are delighted to confirm we have secured this valuable funding.”
The Town Council will be establishing a working group to support the study with representatives from a range of organisations.
Following the results of the study Bishop Auckland Town Council plans to encourage and support those eligible buildings to consider and take up the renewable options available.
Councillor John Clare, Durham County Council’s Climate Champion, welcomed the scheme: “To decarbonise County Durham is something that will need everybody’s cooperation – at international, governmental, local and even personal level.
“So it is wonderful to see this success by the Town Council which has shown, not just environmental vision, but admirable initiative, in applying for and achieving this grant.
“Yet again, we see Bishop Auckland setting the standard – as an exemplar and a challenge – for the rest of the county.”