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24 September 2014
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The Challenge

The Challenge

BBC Somerset takes The Challenge

Staff at BBC Somerset aim to create the first carbon-zero radio station in the UK.

BBC local radio, online and TV staff based in Taunton have had 'eco-auditors' co2balance.com to look at every aspect of their operation - from the mileage of the transport fleet down to what happens to the office tea bags.

Broadcasting House in Taunton goes green
Staff at Broadcasting House in Taunton go green

According to the auditors, the station - with headquarters in Taunton and a large district studio in Yeovil - generates more than 64 tonnes of CO2 each year.

On hearing the results the staff are voluntarily dipping into their own pockets to fund the three main accredited methods of carbon offsetting - tree planting, sustainable projects and carbon trading.

On average the cost to each member of staff will be between £25 and £50, depending on their salary.

Now staff are looking at all areas where pollution is generated to reduce the station's carbon footprint and make it more environmentally friendly. These include:

Water cooler
The water cooler is being phased out
  • The fleet of cars for reporters are to be swapped for fuel-efficient vans.
  • Even more efficient vehicles will be tested over the next few months.
  • Most reporters now use laptops, to work from home, reducing commuter miles.
  • Lighting systems are to be replaced with more energy-efficient ones.
  • Loft insulation is to be improved and installing double glazing will be looked at.
  • The electricity and paper supplies will be checked to make sure they are eco-friendly.
  • Water coolers are being removed in favour of tap water.
  • Food waste will be separated for composting - even tea bags get their own bin.

Future projects include:

  • Ensuring all cleaning products are eco-friendly.
  • Potentially piloting a new breed of 'stop-go' car, which switches off the engine when at a standstill.
  • Using of biofuels in all transport.
  • Planning permission being sought for solar panels and investigations being carried out into potential of use of a wind turbine.
Recycled paper
Office paper is made from recycled material

Editor Simon Clifford says: "We have been reporting on climate change and good and poor environmental practice for years, and we felt it was about time we got our own house in order.

"It's a real credit to the staff here that they feel strongly enough to spend their own hard-earned cash to get this project up and running.

"When the auditors come to monitor our progress in 2008, I'm aiming for a 25 per cent cut in our own carbon footprint.

"With technological advances, the days of a big central office with all those incumbent journeys for staff and contributors are starting to look dated in Somerset."

last updated: 17/05/07
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