‘Council should invest in free solar electric’ – McGreevy
The failure of Newry and Mourne Council to win an award at the Local Government Awards event has been described as a huge disappointment.
And SDLP Councillor Connaire McGreevy described the situation as “a wake-up call that has to be listened to.”
Speaking to Newry Times, McGreevy said, “While I want to pay tribute to the hard work of the Council staff in earning a finalist spot in the Best Sustainable Development Initiative, it is not good enough.
“The harsh reality is that it underlines that as a Council we all have much more work to do in relation to getting the sustainable development message across.
“If that means the Council has to invest in delivering sustainability to the widest possible section of our community then it will be a price worth paying.
“As a businessman employing local people in the energy sector I appreciate the benefits of having a cohesive sustainable energy strategy in place. In fact, I campaigned to have just such a blueprint incorporated in the council’s Corporate Plan.
“But we need more than words. We need a clear set of objectives that can be realised for the benefit of the community. We need those objectives to be built around a radical approach, one that fires the imagination.
“For example, one such initiative could very well be the inclusion of solar photovoltaic panels on Council buildings.
McGreevy continued,“They would be capable of generating free electricity during office hours ultimately leading to tens of thousands of pounds worth of savings. The money saved could then be used in a variety of ways with the central objective always being one designed to help cut costs to the community.
“Many companies are now offering such panels free of charge on a 20 year contract with free maintenance. Of course there will always be a multitude of rules and regulations surrounding Council’s being allowed to tender for free equipment.
“But my argument is that if the will existed an innovative procurement solution could be found to address the legal red tape issues.
McGreevy added, “What we need is to start thinking outside the box. We need to start winning the battle for hearts and minds on vitally important issues such as protection against ever increasing energy price.”
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