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Leader Wayne Fitzgerald's blog - 20 October

20 October 2023

Our active work to reduce carbon emissions across the city was highlighted this week as an exciting infrastructure project moved a step closer.

On Monday cabinet members agreed the next stage of the PIRI project, which will deliver low carbon heat and electrical power to key businesses and public buildings.

The PIRI scheme will transport heat and electrical power from the Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) operated by Viridor in Fengate (owned by Peterborough City Council) direct to buildings via a series of underground pipes and cables.

It’s a big project, one of the most exciting we’ve had in the city for some time, and it has huge potential - it will help Peterborough become one of the first carbon-zero cities of the future.

I’m extremely proud that this Conservative-led administration is delivering on its key pledges and creating a facility which will benefit our city for generations to come. We are ready for a project of this size and I’m looking forward to seeing the scheme continue to develop.

The council will now to take the necessary steps to procure a partner and establish a proposed commercial structure of the project, including producing a full business case, with a view to starting construction in winter 2024.

PIRI will be delivered in an initial two phases. Phase one will create the underground pipework and cables needed to deliver heat and power to key businesses in the Fengate area which is closest to the ERF. Phase two will deliver heat to key businesses and public buildings in the city centre.

It’s anticipated that once complete, the project will reduce the carbon consumption of these buildings by as much as 92-per-cent. This will play a big role in assisting Peterborough to reduce emissions down to net-zero.

Once the project is complete, it could be expanded to other businesses across Peterborough.

Encouraging residents to recycle more is another key priority for us and something we’re currently showcasing as part of national Recycling Week.

We’re actively focussing on the importance of throwing food waste away into the grey food waste caddy and there are several reasons for this.

Last year, the council disposed of almost 40,000 tonnes of household waste from the black bin collections, however we estimate that almost one third of this was food waste that could have been put in the grey caddies. Recycling food waste is better for the environment and saves the council around £870,000 a year in disposal costs.

The food waste collected separately is sent for processing at an Anaerobic Digestion facility which generates electricity to power homes and the local community, as well as producing a fertiliser which can be used in farming to enrich the soil.

So I'd urge all our residents young and old to think before they throw and make sure they are putting food waste in the food waste bin. It's a really simple step you can take which could save thousands of pounds and be better for the environment.

For more information and advice about recycling visit www.peterborough.gov.uk

Many of you may have read the news coverage about the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Regional Fitness and Swimming Centre because we have found RAAC in the building.

It's hard to believe that people are speculating that there is a sinister plot by the council to close the pool and sell it off. To reiterate, it is my intention to provide a new pool for the city as the one we have has seen better days.

Please do not believe the conspiracy theorists, it is simply an unfortunate set of circumstances. If we can get it back open, then we will.

In the meantime, we have organised open swimming sessions at The Stanground Sports Centre on Saturdays and Sundays in addition to Lido continuing to stay open. Early morning lane swims will continue at Jack Hunt Pool on weekdays (7.30am – 8.30am) and open swimming on Thursday evenings (8.00pm – 10.00pm). Visit www.vivacity.org for more details.

Next week sees the October half-term holiday take place and the good news for families is that there is plenty going on across Peterborough.

A Halloween circus is already underway on the Embankment and will be here until October 29, be sure to pop along for a spooktacular time. Youngsters can also get into the Halloween spirit at a special pumpkin picking and carving event at Flag Fen taking place from Saturday until Monday.

Lovers of fine foods will be in for a treat as a Continental market comes to Bridge Street. The market opens today (Thursday) and runs until Sunday. There will be many delicious delights to try and the market is open 10am - 6pm Thursday- Saturday and 10am –4pm on Sunday.

Finally, we want to look after our citizens in the best way possible, and this week (16-22 October) is Household Support Fund week.

The scheme was introduced in September 2021 to help those who are struggling financially, for local councils to support those in need with food and utility bills. More than 25,000 households have been helped in the Peterborough area, and of those, 3,467 are pensioner households.

You can find out more information on our website, and keep an eye on our social media as well.