Leading the way to net zero with Maggie Bosanquet

In this episode of Building sustainably: the road to net zero we welcome Maggie Bosanquet, Low Carbon Economic Development Team Leader at Durham County Council, to talk with Chris Lavery about managing the council's sustainability strategy and climate change initiatives. 

In this episode: national leaders on net zero carbon

The path to achieving net zero carbon isn't always clear, with clarity over exactly what organisations need to do to achieve net zero remaining hard to come by. 

So, what are some of the biggest challenges those in charge of large property estates face? And what solutions are out there?

Low Carbon Economic Development Manager for Durham County Council, Maggie Bosanquet is leading the way on behalf of one of the biggest councils in England, with a portfolio of 850 buildings. So much so that Durham County Council has been recognised by the UK government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as nationally leading in its quest for net zero carbon.

We're excited to welcome Maggie to find out how.

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“We all need to save the planet, all of us working together. We all need to be doing what we can in our own sectors. And to my mind, partnership, collaboration, and cooperation are absolutely the fundamental heart of what we need to do.” Maggie Bosanquet, Low Carbon Economic Development Team Leader at Durham County Council

Meet Maggie Bosanquet

A green campaigner for over thirty years, Maggie Bosanquet has been the Low Carbon Economic Development Manager for Durham County Council since 1995, representing one of the largest local authorities in England. She supports local, national, and international partnership initiatives, and has delivered renewable energy and energy efficiency projects across the Council’s land and buildings.

An environmental powerhouse, Maggie’s a well-respected figure who’s established the Regional Energy Officers Group and the Climate Emergency Strategic Board, and is a long-standing and active member of the Durham Energy Institute’s (DEI) Advisory Board.

Key highlights

  • 3:49 - 6:12 - Leading Sustainability and Climate Change Strategies - Maggie has led the Durham County Council's Sustainability Team for over twenty-five years. She and her team work for one of the biggest councils in the country, with a portfolio of 850 buildings. Maggie's team recognizes that carbon is both a social and economic issue and is responsible for the council's energy and water management, renewable energy generation, and retrofit of buildings. All these contribute to hitting net zero for Durham County Council by 2030.
  • 6:12 - 11:22 - Sustainability Initiatives - The main focus of the Sustainability Team is writing and implementing the climate emergency response plan, which has two key chapters dedicated to the council and the county. The council team focuses on energy management to take the council's emissions down. The county team works on projects like developing the electric vehicle infrastructure, collaborating with 240 schools across the county to raise children's awareness of climate change and energy, and helping 500 SMEs with free energy surveys, advice, and grant funding to tackle their carbon emissions.
  • 14:15 - 18:33 - Sustainability Challenges - Some of the greatest challenges Maggie and her team face are switching to sustainable heat, the constant change in government energy policy or lack of energy policy, the council's broad portfolio of about 800 buildings, where each requires its own unique approach, and the cost of all of these initiatives.
  • 20:13 - 23:50 - Harnessing Geothermal Energy - Durham County is set to develop a geothermal mine water scheme that harnesses heat from the Coal Authority‘s Dawdon flooded and abandoned mines for supply to the Seaham Garden Village. The water comes from an extensive network of abandoned coal mines, which is treated before it gets pumped out to sea. The heat from the water can also be a renewable and sustainable energy source with the potential to have a zero carbon footprint. The Seaham Garden Village will be the UK's first mine water district heating scheme.

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