A Champion Spat

The OWL

planning spokesman Cllr Ian Rigby recently wrote “The council are planning to build 37 new council homes on sites in Skelmersdale and Westhead. Yet when we asked for the financial appraisals of the schemes, we were disappointed to learn that the plans were to build the homes only to the minimum standards required by current building regulations.

“There is already a Future Homes Standard that achieves a much higher standard of energy efficiency. While it is not currently required, if the Borough Council is to turn the fine words of becoming a carbon neutral council by 2030, then it needs to make a start now. It should at least have considered building to ‘best available’ standards. Instead, they are to press on without even considering this greener option. These new homes will likely still be inhabited into the next century and extra investment in the structure of these properties now, as they are built, could be a good investment financially and for our environment over future decades”.

But his remarks were given short shrift in The Champion by Council Leader Ian Moran

who suggested the OWL Leader Cllr Adrian Owens was responsible for refusing to fit “ugly” solar panels when he was in office, denying many hundreds of residents’ savings on their fuel bills and further damaging our environment.

Cllr Owens

is not amused and wrote to the Champion letters.

“Not for the first time, Cllr Ian Moran throws around grossly inaccurate statements in an attempt to distract from the failings of West Lancashire Borough Council on energy efficiency highlighted by Cllr Rigby.

“When I was Deputy Leader of the Council, I instigated the installation of the very first solar panels on council buildings in the Borough including on the council’s own offices in Ormskirk. I never once turned down any proposal for solar panels as Cllr Moran inaccurately states. He should instead recall that I worked closely with councillors of all parties including Labour colleagues of his on the Firbeck revival in Skelmersdale. On that project, I approved spending to provide external insulation on these homes far in excess of minimum standards – insulation that has saved tenants and owners of these houses many hundreds of pounds on their fuel bills every year since and reduced carbon emissions accordingly.

“Instead of trying to distract from the point raised by Cllr Rigby, Cllr Moran should address the point raised and ask himself why, given the Council agreed more than 12 months ago to aim for carbon neutrality, councillors were asked to approve new council housing the other week that doesn’t come close to that aspiration”.

Watch this space! A Council spokesperson has added tuppenceworth by stating an intent to build 12 carbon zero homes on disused garage sites and installing solar panels on all low rise flats. Is that it?

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