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Agenda item

Solar Car Park Canopy

To approve the use of up to £317,000 from the asset management and carbon reduction earmarked reserves to enable the delivery of a solar car park canopy.

Subject To Call In::No - Decision taken as urgent as defined in Scrutiny Rule of Procedure 15.1 because there would be insufficient time for the completion of the call-in process before implementation of the decision.


That the use of up to £447,200 from the asset management and carbon reduction earmarked reserves be APPROVED to  enable the delivery of a solar car park canopy.


111.1         The report of the Head of Finance and Asset Management, circulated separately at Pages No. 1-5, provided an update on the solar car park canopy which the Council would like to install, and Members were asked to approve the use of up to £447,200 from the asset management and carbon reduction earmarked reserves to enable its delivery. A typographical error was pointed out in the executive summary of the revised report which meant that the total cost should read £663,200 rather than £633,200.

111.2         The Head of Finance and Asset Management explained that the report mirrored the information he had recently reported to Members informally; however, a new paper had been issued because the lowest bidder had pulled out of the process and next lowest bidder meant an extra cost so £447,200 of reserves would be required instead of the previously suggested £317,000. Of the grant funding available, the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme had so far agreed to release £216,000 to support the delivery of the project and the project team was confident that figure could be increased and was hopeful of securing the full grant of £284,200 - this meant a funding shortfall of between £379,000 and £447,200 would need to be met by the Council to deliver the project. Despite the significant capital cost increase there remained a strong business case for investment – even at the current cost of energy an annual return of £45,222 against a maximum capital outlay of £447,200 allowed for a return on investment of 9.9 years; however, should the full external grant be available, the return on investment would drop to 8.4 years. The solar car park canopy would be a highly visible demonstration of the Council’s commitment to carbon neutrality, would deliver an annual saving of approximately 76 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions and would take the Council a long way towards the target for carbon neutrality of the offices. The scheme was even more important given the disappointing news that the Council’s second bid for funding towards the replacement of the heating system had been unsuccessful despite passing all of the assessment criteria. Investigations were ongoing to find alternative grant funding opportunities. The modular nature of the design for the solar canopy meant that, in future, it could be extended to help meet the remaining offsetting needs of delivering carbon neutrality against other aspects of service delivery such as the collection of waste and recycling and the leisure centre provision.

111.3         The Lead Member for Clean and Green Environment explained that the increases in prices were to be expected as the same had happened with the heating system – the problem was that costs were increasing all the time and if Members chose to wait to offer their support, they would find the canopy was even more expensive in a few months’ time. Several Members agreed that it would be very short-sighted of the Council not to agree to the proposals. In terms of rising costs on all projects, a Member questioned whether the Ashchurch Bridge project costs would rise and if that would impact on Tewkesbury Borough Council. In response, the Head of Finance and Asset Management indicated that inflation impacted the Council in all sorts of ways both through projects but also the base budget. In terms of the Ashchurch bridge, he was currently in discussions with the Tewkesbury Garden Town Programme Director to get clarification on the costs. With regard to funding, there was a cap on the funding stream but he hoped there would be room for discussion and negotiation with Homes England as things had changed a lot in the three years since the bid had been submitted.

111.4        Accordingly, it was

Action By:HF&AM

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