Highland Council could reduce the impact of central spending cuts by saving money on energy bills, claims Green Party candidate Gale Falconer.
The Inverness South by-election takes place on 3rd November, and Mrs Falconer, a long-standing community activist, believes that money could be found for local issues such as transport, access and Open Spaces maintenance by making Highland-wide savings on energy bills.
While welcoming the Council’s general commitment to renewable energy, with solar panels and biomass boilers being installed in some Council properties, Mrs Falconer is calling for more radical action, for example a requirement that new builds reach higher standards of energy efficiency, and increased support for householders and businesses to retro-fit insulation and renewables to existing buildings. Cutting energy use in Council-owned properties should be regarded as urgent. In addition, the provisions of the Council’s recently-published interim Sustainable Design Guide should be advertised and circulated widely.
Gale states “If elected, a top priority would be to identify ways in which savings could be made without cutting services. Energy costs are predicted to rise by around 7% per annum, much faster than inflation, and any action taken to cut bills will be an excellent investment for the whole Council area.
“Buildings which leak energy cause carbon pollution, leading to a higher risk of climate change, high bills for the public purse and fuel poverty for householders. We know what needs to be done – for example Kirklees Council have made huge strides in cutting carbon and costs by their free insulation programme. A vote for me is a vote to think globally and act locally on this crucial issue.”