Selling and renting back Borough Hall would be ‘ultimate greenwashing’ of carbon emissions

Borough Hall

One way Bedford Borough Council could reduce its carbon emissions would be to sell Borough Hall and rent it back, but this is “ultimate greenwashing”, a meeting heard.

Bedford mayor Dave Hodgson was responding to a question from Councillor Lucy Bywater (Green, Castle Ward) at last night’s (4 October 2021) Bedford Borough Council’s Informal Climate Change Committee.

Following a presentation of the Annual Greenhouse Gas report by Paul Pace, the council’s chief officer for environment, Councillor Bywater asked, “Can we have a bit more information about what is contracted out, and is excluded in the emissions?

“If there’s a service that comes under the council’s responsibilities, it should be included, shouldn’t it?”

The mayor said, “When it comes to the Statutory Returns, one of the easy ways [to reduce the recorded emissions] is to outsource refuse collection.

“Some councils are making lower returns because they don’t actually include refuse collection.

“But that’s the way the government collects the data. The other way you can do this, and some councils have done this, is to sell Borough Hall and hire it back again.

“This will immediately wipe out Borough Hall as a carbon asset that we have to declare.

“That is greenwashing of the ultimate type, we’re not intending to do that, that’s not the way we would go.

“If you outsource that isn’t a reduction, that’s moving stuff around. We need to review the statutory terms as they make a bit of a mockery of it.”

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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