Nottinghamshire's Robin Hood territory of forests, also traditionally an area of coal mining, is now home to a programme that has brought wood back as a cleaner, more sustainable fuel. The County Council has converted old boilers in its schools from coal to wood pellets. By 2007, 17 schools had benefited, and were saving around 2,400 tonnes of CO2 per year.
With a cleaner, smoke-free environment, both teachers and pupils at the schools are enthusiastic about the Council's initiative, and people living nearby have noticed a reduction in pollution. "When we burned coal it looked like the QE2 coming out of the docks! You used to get a layer of dust on all the cars outside" said John Flannigan, Site Manager at West Bridgford School. The schools are also using their new wood-fuel boilers as a teaching resource to engage pupils in the move to sustainable energy.
The biomass push in the region has expanded the supply and use of wood pellets from local forestry and sawmill waste. The Council also uses boilers manufactured locally by Hoval and Ashwell . This emphasis on using local services has created new green jobs.
Nottinghamshire County Council was the first in the UK to set up a Local Public Service Agreement, committing it to cut CO2 emissions from council buildings by 25% or 3,500 tonnes a year. Their aim is zero net emissions by 2050.