Council warned new HQ could generate 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions

A climate campaigner has warned that constructing a new corporate building in the borough could create up to 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

The future of Maidenhead Town Hall is currently being reviewed by the council as the local authority does not believe the building meets its climate strategy targets.

This includes achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

A detailed business plan is set to be drawn up to help decide whether the council should retain and refurbish its corporate headquarters in St Ives Road or establish a new building elsewhere in the borough.

Sarah Bowden, from the RBWM Climate Emergency Coalition, told the Advertiser the council’s decision needs to be based on evidence and take into account how much emissions could be created by constructing new civic accommodation.

She said: “The council has to look at the whole lifecycle carbon cost of both options and if they were to move out that must include, ‘is whoever is going to move into that building going to increase or reduce emissions?’

“You can’t definitely say that refurbishing it or upgrading it is the right answer because I don’t have the evidence for that.

“All I know is a typical new office building is about 10,000 tonnes of carbon to build and you’ve got to consider that.”

The climate campaigner added the problem surrounding the town hall’s energy performance could not simply be solved by moving out and passing the building onto someone else.

“The council’s strategy is a strategy for the borough as a whole to get to net zero, the town hall will remain in the borough whether the council is there or not,” she said.

“The problem remains and you can’t pass it on unless with certainty you know it will be solved.”

Councillor Donna Stimson (Con, St Marys), cabinet member for climate change and sustainability, said campaigners were ‘absolutely right’ to point to the potential amount of carbon emissions which could be created by constructing a new building.

She added: “The paper wasn’t saying we’re going to tear this down it was saying we’re going to look at it.

“We’re going to have a very clear look at the building to see what can be done with it, how much will it cost to retro-fit it and what it’s use could be and then make a decision.”

She added: “We’re at the beginning of a journey and we all need to play our part in that.

“Our strategy is to reduce the borough’s carbon footprint and you can’t just pass that responsibility onto someone else.”

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