South Cerney Station commit to being carbon neutral by 2040

06 July 2021
Image of military personnel at South Cerney station.

Amey is proud to be part of a forward thinking and environmentally focused team at South Cerney Station and we are playing a key part in an ambitious project that will decarbonise the estate by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Government’s Net Zero 2050 target. 

The Station is home to 29 Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, which provides movement, postal and courier services to the British Armed Forces worldwide. What makes this Station unique is the ‘One Station, One Team, One Family’ ethos that exists between military and civilian personnel. Teams from Amey, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), MOD personnel, Service families and children are directed as a whole, managed from one place and working to a shared and common goal. 

Captain Nigel Williams RAMC, the Army Force Protection Adviser, is the driving force behind the initiative which has been his vision for over 11 years. 

He commented, “We began by introducing a management system to monitor, manage and report our sustainability work that is overseen by the Defence Safety and Environmental Committee. In 2010 we installed meters into our top ten most energy-consuming buildings to provide a better picture of site-wide energy use. The site is made up of both new and older buildings so our immediate challenge was ‘How can we manage what we cannot measure?’ Instead we used data from DIO’s utility management system which has shown a 38.7% reduction in our CO2 emissions, from a 2009/10 baseline of 3,819 tonnes, to 2,305 tonnes in 2019/20.” 

In 2010, Amey worked with all parties to identify spend-to-save projects, supporting work to replace the Station’s fuel oil heating system that had oil tanks positioned above a primary water aquifer (risking pollution) with gas boilers for the district heating system. This removed the pollution risk and delivered annual savings of around £50,000 on oil costs. 

Five years later, we worked alongside DIO to carry out a survey that identified that Service properties on the estate were connected to the MOD electricity supply and subject to the very high costs of ‘TRIAD’ (tri-annual demand peak) periods in winter. As part of the Stations youth clubs a TRIAD Warrior Group was formed by Pte Lauren Barr who was inspired after attending one of Captain Williams’s sustainability and climate change lectures.  The children took part in an energy-saving awareness campaign that included 58 primary and 30 secondary school children who designed posters and leaflets which were displayed throughout the workplace areas, and delivered to houses on camp to help educate residents on how to conserve energy.  

Since then, the Station has introduced many more initiatives in their quest for decarbonisation that includes assigned a Building Custodian to monitor energy use in their building and delivering regular briefings to key personnel with a focus on environmental protection.  Annual climate change lectures are delivered to all personnel each year and logistics personnel attend environmental protection courses at RAF Halton to guide them in their sustainability and environmental protection management responsibilities. 

And work is currently taking place to establish a 1.4MW power plant containing 5,200 solar panels that will supply enough power for around 350 homes, representing one-third of the annual consumption. A further saving of 400 tonnes of CO2 a year is expected, and it will reduce costs by an estimated £109,000 after a year, £1,087,000 after 10 years, and £2,718,000 after 25 years. 

Captain Williams is incredibly proud of the work that has been done so far and is keen to ensure that the whole South Cerney Station is recognised for their commitment, adding; “I am extremely proud of the progress we have made and are continuing to make, as are other colleagues involved in this work. I think it is important that sustainability successes like these are properly recognised, because that will encourage other sites to follow. We could not have achieved what we have without everyone connected to South Cerney sharing a vision to reduce our environmental impact and slow down the effects of climate change.”  

To date, the team have collected an impressive eight awards in recognition of their environmental efforts and have even more projects in the pipeline that will provide benefits for the local and wider community for many years to come.