A range of initiatives, which include our vehicles, buildings, operations and the actions of staff, have been developed to meet our targets and reduce the impact of our service as a whole on the environment.
More than 99 tonnes of CO2 were saved through renewable energy installations in 2009/10, and a further 45 tonnes of CO2 were saved through staff awareness of the need to limit emissions, overall emissions are down by 16.7 per cent compared to 1990 despite significant growth in the size of the organisation.
A number of the Brigade’s sites are generating their own energy. Photovoltaic (PV) systems (solar panels) have been installed at 23 fire stations, solar heating at nine fire stations, combined heat and power at 19 fire stations and wind turbines at a further two fire stations. Energy efficient lighting with occupancy controls have been fitted to 38 buildings so far. In 2009 the Brigade entered into a performance guarantee contract to reduce the energy consumption at 10 stations and have achieved a reduction in emissions of 253 tonnes per year across the 10 buildings.
More energy saving schemes are in the design and planning stage. London Fire Brigade are replacing inefficient lighting, installing sensor lighting, replacing old inefficient heating systems and adding extra loft and wall insulation.
For the most up to date figures, please see the latest Sustainable Development Annual Monitoring Report below.
Work has continued with water reduction projects with the installation of push button urinal controls, leak monitoring and low flow taps at eight stations. This has led to an improvement of over 15 per cent since 2006/7. Green Champions also help to save water such as installing water saving ‘hippo’ bags in toilet cisterns.
Grey water recycling and rainwater harvesting have been installed at Sidcup and Harold Hill fire stations and included in our Standard Station Design Brief for all new and refurbished fire stations.
The Brigade is not required to pay for operational water use but we are working with our PFI vehicle supplier, Assetco, to develop the technology to measure how much water we use.
London currently has some of the worst air pollution in the UK. The primary source of air pollution is road transport, in particular hotspots within central London.
The Brigade’s fleet of fire engines and vehicles has been converted to be compliant with Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards, which aims to improve air quality in London by deterring the most polluting vehicles from driving in the area. This includes front line appliances with low exhaust emissions and cars being dual fuel (lpg/petrol) or with good vehicle emissions ratings. 100 per cent of all Brigade vehicles now meet or exceed Euro III emission standards.
Our Travel Plan 2008/13 was produced on the back of our 2007 staff survey and aims to improve opportunities for staff to use more sustainable forms of travel and reduce the carbon emissions related to business travel. We are working with TfL through their Corporate Travel Scheme to help us deliver our travel plan with the first initiative to install 120 cycle racks at stations in progress.
An organisation-wide waste contract has been in place since 2008, providing consistent recycling facilities across the Brigade. Since then recycling rates have improved from an average of 44 per cent in 2007/8 to achieving over 50 per cent in 2009/10.
We have a target recycling rate of 55 per cent by 2011 and 60 per cent by 2012. This compares to the Mayor of London’s proposed recycling targets of 60 per cent by 2031 for domestic waste.
We have set up recycling schemes to manage a range of other materials including, batteries, toner cartridges, uniforms, furniture and fire hose.
The Brigade has used various methods of raising environmental awareness, including a ‘Green Champions’ programme.
To date over 200 members of our staff have received green champions training. The Brigade’s aim is to have at least one green champion per building.
As a result of Green Champion Audits various improvements at sites were identified, including movement sensors on lighting, duel flush toilets and thermostatic controls on radiators.
Responsible Procurement is also a major part of the London Fire Brigade’s green initiatives. For more information on this please go to Responsible procurement.
An organisation wide Biodiversity Action Plan was approved in June 2011. The plan recognises the Biodiversity Duty (Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006) which requires all public authorities, including LFB, to pay regard to the conservation of biodiversity in exercising their functions.
Due to the wide ranging possible benefits of biodiversity protection and enhancement, the plan recognises that a range of our core business activities are significant to this area of work including: the way we respond to incidents, how we manage our estate and the procurement of goods and services. The plan includes a statement of action for the next five years.