Today, October 15, Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP along with Chorley Council Leader, Cllr Alistair Bradley, and Deputy Leader, Cllr Peter Wilson, visited Chorley' s 'greenest primary school' for an educational morning.
The senior politicians, along with other council colleagues, were at The Parish of St Laurence CE Primary School to learn about their decarbonisation project, a huge milestone for both the borough and for schools across the country.
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The background and details of the project were explained to the senior politicians by Sam Johnson, Assistant Director of Education for Blackburn Diocese, and Phil Gornall, the Project Manager, as well as the school's headteacher, Emma Marquis and the pupils themselves.
The project started in summer, and included the installment of a ground source heat pump which means the school's heating and hot water is produced from the natural heat under their playing field, with no fuel required, making St Laurence's a completely green school and only the second in the country to have this type of heating system.
The school also now has 59 solar panels installed to produce its own energy, and they can sell any unused energy, for instance that generated in the school holidays, back to the National Grid too.
Other measures included replacing all their lighting with LED light bulbs to reduce the amount of energy they used, as well as installing cavity wall insulation, roof insulation, and replacing single glazed external doors and windows, to ensure that heat is retained in the building, improving efficiency.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: "This is fantastic isn’t it? To come to this school that’s leading the school revolution in how schools should operate.
"Young people so engaged in COP 26, giving me the ideas and the knowledge to take to COP 26 to share the green revolution that started at St Laurence in Chorley.
"And what a great school it is, what great young people, I know the future of our planet is safe when we’ve got the expertise of the young people and the difference that they make."
The morning ended with the school children, who were all either part of the school's council or Eco Team, asking Sir Lindsay Hoyle and the councillors what they will be doing to also help make the country greener, as well as sharing their own personal dreams about a green future.
The headteacher, Emma Marquis said: ”It’s been a lovely morning, it's been really really special to have people here, like Sir Lindsay, to spread the word, the children were very nervous about meeting him and speaking in front of somebody as important as him but actually they did brilliantly, they’ve enjoyed him being here.
"It was lovely to showcase what we’ve done here as part of our decarbonisation project and really get the word out there about how pivotal this is in us moving forward to become carbon neutral, it's really important to share that message and for the children to talk about their hopes and dreams for the future and the support they need in taking action to make smaller differences for a bigger change.”
The funding for the £600,000 project was provided by the Government’s Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS), which was announced in October 2020 and in total provides £1 billion to public buildings in the aim to reduce their carbon footprint.
The schools bid for the funding was put in by Sam Johnson, who oversees 150 voluntary aided schools in Lancashire, and in March 2021 St Laurence's were informed they were one of 27 schools across the country to be approved to be part of the project.
Sam explained: “One of the reasons we’re here is a few years ago I looked at the energy consumption across all my schools, and St Laurence was actually showing that it was one of the worst performing schools in terms of the way it uses its energy and its carbon footprint so I decided that if we’re ever going to get to zero carbon by 2030, we needed to address the issues that were present here at schools like this.
"So we’ve worked really closely with the school and now St Laurence has gone from being one of the worst performing schools in the diocese in terms of energy, to getting very close towards having a zero-carbon footprint, which is fantastic."