• £40m spent on making courts and tribunals more sustainable
  • Solar panels and other energy saving technology installed at buildings across the estate
  • HM Courts and Tribunals Service on course to reduce emissions by 10%

The money is being spent on a range of measures to improve sustainability and make HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) more environmentally friendly, now and into the future.

This includes reducing its consumption of fossil fuels by installing solar electricity panels at a number of buildings across the estate, as well as updating lighting, heating and air conditioning systems to ensure they are energy efficient. In addition, electric vehicle charging points are being rolled out to more buildings to encourage carbon-friendly travel.

This action will help to reduce the emissions generated by courts by 10% – saving approximately 6000 tonnes of carbon by 2025. It comes after four new ‘net-zero’ prisons were confirmed recently by ministers, designed to prevent the emission of 280,000 tonnes of CO2 and cut energy demand by half.

Together these steps are ensuring the justice system is playing its part to tackle climate change and help meet the government’s objective to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

Courts Minister James Cartlidge said:

It is vital that we build back greener from the pandemic and take this opportunity to improve sustainability throughout the criminal justice system.

This investment will reduce the carbon footprint of our courts and tribunals by 10% – with solar panels, electric car charging points and more efficient buildings slashing our energy demand.

This is part of our plan to roll out technology and modernise the estate to deliver a better service for all court users.

HMCTS has also developed a five-year strategy to ensure sustainability is considered in everything it does. The strategy sets out measures to minimise its impact on the environment and increase biodiversity. It is split into four areas:

  • Reducing carbon emissions – by insulating buildings better, using technology to monitor and automate building management systems and reduce energy use, providing vehicle charging points and bike racks, and enabling court uses to access digital services remotely
  • Saving water – by using smart meter technology to track water use, fixing leaks promptly, and using water from showers and sinks to flush toilets and irrigate grounds where it is possible
  • Reducing waste – by increasing the volume of waste that can be reused and recycled, reducing the amount of food waste generated, and by reusing or donating unwanted office furniture and items
  • Protecting and nurturing biodiversity – by protecting and maintaining trees on its estate, increasing pollinator planting where possible and replacing shrubbery with native plants where possible

Meanwhile, £12 billion is being invested by the government to build back greener and achieve its commitment to reach net zero by 2050. This will include hydrogen and carbon capture technology, greener homes, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, walking and cycling infrastructure, flood defences and backing offshore wind to power every UK home by 2030.

Notes to editors

  • This is part of a £285m investment that is being spent on improvements to our prisons and courts.
  • Case studies on solar panel installations at courts available for the following regions: Coventry, Leicester, Mansfield, Northampton, North Staffs, Nottingham, Shrewsbury, Cardiff Mags. (See annexes A-H further below.)
  • Meanwhile the Government is taking significant action to ensure our courts can operate at full throttle to recover from the pandemic and tackle delays. This includes:
    • opening New Super Court rooms to deal with large ‘multi-hander trials’
    • setting up Nightingale courtrooms across the country to increase capacity and ensure more trials can be heard – with a commitment to extend 32 courtrooms that deal with criminal trials until March 2022
    • working to reopen an additional 60 existing Crown courtrooms following the lifting of most restrictions – including social distancing – in England and Wales
    • ensuring there is no limit on the number of days that Crown Courts can sit for this year
    • putting in place measures to make over 300 jury trial rooms available to safely run trials
    • hosting more than 20,000 hearings using remote technology each week (across all jurisdictions) – a huge rise from a standing start in March 2020.
  • The impact of these measures is already being seen. England and Wales were among the first major jurisdictions in the world to resume jury trials, while latest figures show the number of outstanding cases has dropped by tens of thousands in the magistrates’ courts since last summer. Cases dealt with in the Crown Court remain at around pre-COVID-19 levels, and we’re listing thousands of cases each week.

Annexes

  • A – Coventry. We worked with Ameresco Ltd to install roof mounted solar panel PV on the building. Lightbulb 49.5 kw installed. 40710KWH/YR Energy generated. 9491 kgCO2E energy savings. 0.94acres of forest saved. This is the equivalent of taking 6.18 cars off the road each year.
  • B – Leicester. We worked with Ameresco Ltd to install roof mounted solar panel PV on the building. Lightbulb 49.5 kw installed. 76400 KWH/YR Energy generated. 17812 kgCO2E energy savings. 1.78acres of forest saved. 11.6 cars off the road each year.
  • C – Mansfield. We worked with Ameresco Ltd to install roof mounted solar panel PV on the building. Lightbulb 49.5 kw installed. 40800 KWH/YR Energy generated. 9344 kgCO2E energy savings. 0.93 acres of forest saved. 6.13 cars off the road each year.
  • D – Northampton. We worked with Ameresco Ltd to install roof mounted solar panel PV on the building. Lightbulb 49.5 kw installed. 42250 KWH/YR Energy generated. 9850 kgCO2E energy savings. 0.99acres of forest saved. 6.46 cars off the road each year.
  • E – North Staffs. We worked with Ameresco Ltd to install roof mounted solar panel PV on the building. Lightbulb 49.5 kw installed. 41040 KWH/YR Energy generated. 9568 kgCO2E energy savings. 0.96acres of forest saved. 6.27 cars off the road each year.
  • F – Nottingham. We worked with Ameresco Ltd to install roof mounted solar panel PV on the building. Lightbulb 49.5 kw installed. 45010 KWH/YR Energy generated. 10494 kgCO2E energy savings. 1.06acres of forest saved. 6.58 cars off the road each year.
  • G – Shrewsbury. We worked with Ameresco Ltd to install roof mounted solar panel PV on the building. Lightbulb 49.5 kw installed. 36080 KWH/YR Energy generated. 8412 kgCO2E energy savings. 0.84acres of forest saved. 5.5 cars off the road each year.
  • H – Cardiff. We worked with Engie Ltd to install roof mounted solar panel PV on the building. 1,076 KWH/YR Energy generated. 12,216 kgCO2E energy savings.

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    Courts go green

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