£8million worth of green revolution projects in South Tyneside due to be complete by early 2022

From solar panels on schools to an ambitious project drilling down to source heat from minewater, work is pressing ahead on South Tyneside’s green revolution.

South Tyneside Council Cllr Ernest Gibson at the Holborn Mine Water District Heating Scheme drilling site, Commercial Road, South Shields.
South Tyneside Council Cllr Ernest Gibson at the Holborn Mine Water District Heating Scheme drilling site, Commercial Road, South Shields.

South Tyneside Council secured £8million from Government in 2021 to fund 26 ‘decarbonisation’ projects in schools, leisure facilities and civic buildings.

Chiefs say the schemes will collectively save 4,475 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent a year.

Many of the projects are on a smaller scale, and include replacing gas boilers with energy-efficient heat pumps, converting existing lighting to LED, installing roof-mounted solar PV panels, and building fabric improvements.

South Tyneside Council Cllr Ernest Gibson at the Holborn Mine Water District Heating Scheme drilling site, Commercial Road, South Shields.

But a large proportion of the funding is also being used on enabling works for the groundbreaking Holborn Renewable Energy Network in South Shields.

The network will use a combination of technologies, harnessing heat from abandoned flooded mines, as well as from the River Tyne.

Work funded under the decarbonisation cash includes drilling boreholes, constructing wells and testing minewater.

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Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member with responsibility for climate change in South Tyneside, said most of the schemes are now complete, or due to be finished in early 2022.

“Increasing our capacity to generate renewable energy and low carbon heat, as well as making our buildings and facilities more efficient, helps us move towards our goal of a cleaner, greener future,” he said.

“This funding has allowed us to deliver a whole range of carbon-cutting projects across the borough, which will make a significant contribution in our drive to carbon neutrality by 2030.

“We’re absolutely committed to reducing our carbon footprint and have already made great progress, but we will continue to use every opportunity such as external funding sources like this to help us achieve our ambitious targets and deliver on our key priority of investing in the natural and built environment.”

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Cllr Gibson said projects to benefit from the funding were identified following detailed analysis council buildings in relation to carbon emissions.

One of the schemes which has undergone improvements is Jarrow Pool, which has had its roof replaced, incorporating the installation of solar panels which will power new energy efficient heat pumps being fitted in place of the carbon intensive boiler system. The measures are expected to save at least 89 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) launched the £1billion Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme in September 2020 to support the delivery of green investment initiatives and stimulate the economy, delivering significant carbon and financial savings in the public sector.

Business Minister Lord Callanan said: "We’ve invested over £1billion in decarbonising our schools, hospitals, leisure centres and other buildings that we use every day, and it is excellent to see this funding delivering real benefits in South Tyneside.

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“While the public sector has already reduced its emissions by 40% since 1990, we know there’s more to be done and through an additional £1.4 billion in government funding over the next three years we will support more projects like this one in South Tyneside as we build back greener.”

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