Solar power and other environmentally-friendly measures are being used in a massive drive by North Wales Police as aims to be the greenest force in the UK.
The constabulary is the first in Britain to implement an action plan for “sustainable development” and has already achieved a 10 per cent reduction in electricity consumption over a seven year period, saving 793,448 kilowatts hours.
At the same time there’s been an 18 per cent reduction in the amount of fuel used by police cars and other vehicles and nearly 60 per cent of the force’s waste is now diverted away from landfill.
According to North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC, the green credentials of North Wales Police are a shining example to public bodies throughout Wales.
Mr Roddick, who is standing down in May, paid tribute to the force’s environmental and energy conservation manager, Anna Pretious, and her colleagues.
He said: “What we are seeing, when it comes to how North Wales Police has implemented change to protect the environment, is not something that has happened overnight.
“North Wales Police must comply with all environmental legislation and put the latest green technologies to good use.
“Thankfully, in Anna and her team, we are setting the standard for other corporate and public bodies when it comes to, among many other things, reducing energy and fuel use.
“What is been done by North Wales Police is significant and the public needs to be aware of exactly what is being done.
“The police will always be measured first and foremost on the level of crime and how much of a reduction a force has been able to achieve.
“And while that is understandable there are many other areas in which a force needs to succeed, for example what it does to protect and improve the environment.”
He added: “Anna, who we should remember filled the first police service post in the country dedicated to environmental compliance and performance, has placed her work at the centre of the decision making process.
“It really is pioneering work. Like North Wales Police’s Rural Crime Team, the force has set up something new, something innovative and the gold standard that other police forces and indeed the world is now looking at.”
In formulating the new approach, Anna Pretious looked at the whole force and how it was complying with ever changing environmental laws.
She said: “We have introduced systems to measure and record our energy and fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions with a view to improving resource efficiency and reduce expenditure.
“We also looked at how we could reduce the amount of waste the force produces, with 58 per cent now being diverted away from landfill.
“We have also worked at increasing the biodiversity of the North Wales Police estate through the introduction of biodiversity action plans.”
She added: “Going forward we want to contribute to ensuring North Wales is a safer, cleaner and greener place for the communities that live here.”
Ms Pretious, who is based at St Asaph, says new legislation means it is the duty of public bodies to comply with the principles of sustainable development.
She said: “We have to work closely with our partners to share knowledge. There are no quick solutions and when it comes to energy consumption, for example, we have to look at how much we use and where we can make savings over a long period of time.
“We have introduced schemes such as photovoltaic installations to harness the energy of the sun which are all having an impact.
“For example, the installation at the Colwyn Bay HQ, which cost £50,000, will have paid for itself in eight years and produces 33,343kwh and offsets 17 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
“These are big savings. And at new build police stations at Llangefni, Nefyn and Tywyn solar PV panels have been installed while rainwater recycling means the majority of the water required for toilet flushing is provided.
“Llangefni now uses 50 per cent less mains water than police stations of a similar size and function. And we have utilised gas fired absorption pumps as a practical alternative to air and ground source heat pumps with the station being heated via under-floor pipes.
“Gas consumption is now about 60 per cent less than at sites of a similar size and function with traditional heating systems.
“We have reduced the amount of fuel used by police cars and other vehicles by 18 per cent, which equates to a saving of 231,899 litres over a 7 year period. That’s been possible because we have 70 fewer vehicles and overall the fleet is more fuel efficient now.”
She added: “We always consider renewable energy at the design stage of all our projects and embody them where possible providing they are cost effective, use proven technology with reasonable pay-back periods.
“We have come a long way in ensuring the actions of the force contribute to a better, safer and greener North Wales.”
Philip Morris, North Wales Police’s Environmental and Energy Conservation Engineer, is responsible for ensuring waste is reduced and pollution prevented at all North Wales Police and Fire and Rescue Service sites.
He said: “We are undoubtedly making a big difference through the implementation of legislation and raising awareness of environmental issues.
“I believe we are leading the way through our sustainable development plan, our waste management regime and the pollution prevention measures we have put in place.”