Schools across Surrey are having their outdated end-of-life gas boilers replaced with new solar heating systems to help combat “skyrocketing” energy prices.

The £6 million project is split between time-sensitive government cash coupled with Surrey County Council’s “greener futures” fund which it says will be “effectively repaid’ via £1.6m in overall savings from cheaper fuel bills – or through reduced energy tariffs to schools.

The work will be carried out over the summer and is scheduled to be completed before the start of the new school year.

This is not only to minimise disruption but also because the government contracts are time-bound, meaning if it is not used, the cash is lost.

Surrey County Council’s greener futures strategy says evidence that climate change is real is beyond doubt and its effects are already being felt.

It says an increase in man-made greenhouse gases will impact on the “health, wellbeing and finances of Surrey’s residents, businesses, landscapes and biodiversity for many years to come” and as such, the county intends “to play its part by reducing its dependency on fossil fuels”.

The Tuesday, July 25, environment meeting heard from lead councillor Marisa Heath who said one of the chosen schools told her they were “absolutely thrilled because they’ve got skyrocketing energy prices and can’t even get the temperature right”.

She said: “They’re really excited that we’re working with them on this.

“It’s a great program proposal.

“We need to move it on as we’ve been successful in getting government money.”

The first set of schools to benefit from the new heating panels are: Beauclerc Infant School, in Sunbury, Kingswood Primary School, in Lower Kingswood, St Peters Centre, in Englefield Green, Worplesdon Primary School, in Worplesdon, and Park Mead Primary School, in Cranleigh.

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