A council depot has officially reopened as a ‘low carbon’ site following an £8.3m makeover.

Durham County Council’s Morrison Busty depot at Annfield Plain has reopened following a series of works carried out with the aim of reducing its carbon emissions, including creation of a large scale solar farm and battery storage to meet all its electricity needs.

The various measures were made possible thanks to grants of £5m from the European Regional Development Fund, and £3.3m from the county council.

Cllr Mark Wilkes, the authority’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: ‘We’re delighted to have invested alongside the European Regional Development Fund in this project which is key to our efforts to reduce our own emissions, whilst helping to meet our countywide net zero aspirations.

‘A lot of work has gone into what we believe to be the first ‘low carbon’ depot nationally, with a significant solar farm that will supply all the site’s electricity as well as the introduction of rapid electric vehicle chargers for our fleet.

‘The measures we have rolled out will save more than 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year and reduce the council’s total emissions by up to four per cent, all contributing to our drive to make County Durham carbon neutral by 2045. They will also drastically reduce our energy bills across the site, with the project more than paying for itself with the savings, helping us save money every year into the future.’

The depot, on the site of the former Morrison Busty Colliery, provides equipment storage, a base for the council’s vehicles, a household waste recycling centre, a horticultural nursery and offices.

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