SOUTH Gloucestershire’s fire service has hit its target to reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service (AF&RS) set out to reduce its carbon emissions from energy use, fuel and travel by almost a third over the past five years.

The service announced it had reached its ambitious target and reduced its annual energy and travel costs by over £100,000 since 2009.

This was during a time when energy prices have been steadily rising and AF&RS has seen its estate grow.

Environmental and energy improvement co-ordinator at AF&RS, Simon Richards, said the service had changed the way it conducted its business.

He said: “We have been integrating renewable energy sources, such as solar for water hearing and electricity generation when refurbishing some of our buildings, reducing the number of miles our vehicles travel, and encouraging our staff to take action and switch off lights and electrical equipment when not in use and reduce heating demand.

“Much of the work we have done is about changing behaviour. We have encouraged staff to use the electric and hybrid cars we have in our fleet of ancillary vehicles and we promote the use of technology to try to reduce the need to travel in the first instance.”

Chief fire officer Kevin Pearson said he was delighted with the success of their carbon management plan.

“When it was introduced the target was very aspirational,” he said. “But thanks to the hard work and dedication of our staff, we have been able to achieve great results.”

He said the next step was to ensure the service’s buildings were as energy efficient as possible and to harness sustainable methods and materials in any future building work.