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MoJ targets ‘all-electric’ prisons in renewed decarbonisation push

Like other prisons under construction such as HMP Five Wells in Wellingborough (pictured), the new prisons will use recycled materials to reduce carbon. Image: gov.uk.

Like other prisons under construction such as HMP Five Wells in Wellingborough (pictured), the new prisons will use recycled materials to reduce carbon. Image: gov.uk.

Four new prisons are going to be built to be ‘all-electric’ as the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) targets carbon reductions across its operations.

The prisons – which will include one under construction next to HMP Full Sutton in East Yorkshire, while work is underway to identify locations for a further site in the North-West of England and two in the South-East – will include a range of technologies including heat pumps, solar panels and smart lighting systems.

By using such technology, the MoJ expects to cut £100 million in energy costs over the next 60 years, as well as reducing carbon emissions by 85% compared to other prisons already under construction.

During construction, emissions will be lowered by using recycled concrete and steel in construction, learning from the construction of HMP Five Wells in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, and the new jail in Glen Parva, Leicestershire, both of which are utilising recycled materials.

“Our ambitious approach offers a unique opportunity to build back a safer and greener prison system,” said Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland.

“New jails will use new green technologies and modern methods of construction to ensure our prisons cut carbon emissions as well as reoffending.”

By relying on electric heating as opposed to gas, when the grid is fully decarbonised the sites will become net zero. They form part of a larger push by the government to decarbonise prisons, committing £15 million of investment to efforts at existing sites. This includes installing solar panels on a further 16 sites, bringing the total number of solar panels across the government’s estate to over 20,000.

This push by the MoJ to rollout solar follows the quiet closure of a government solar initiative in 2018, after just 100MW of a promised 1GW was installed across HMG property.

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