A DEVELOPMENT featuring 16 energy-efficient homes which will act as a pilot project for Barnsley Council’s future housing schemes to follow has been supported by ruling cabinet members.

The proposals, for Billingley View, Bolton-upon-Dearne, will allow Berneslai Homes to proceed with the scheme which includes ten two-bedroom and six three-bedroom houses.

A council report said they will use technology such as air source heat systems and solar panels, acting as a template for future housing schemes delivered by the council.

Coun Chris Lamb said: “These will be of high quality and they will show innovation, something which we can be proud of. The emphasis is on the low carbon aspect as this will be seen as a pilot scheme for others to follow. It’s another example of our stance on reducing our emissions and our actions speaking louder than words.”

The council says its strategy is to reduce pollution levels and bosses are aiming to achieve a zero carbon borough by 2040 - ten years sooner than the government is aiming for nationally - as air pollution has been cited as the fourth biggest threat to public health after cancer, heart disease and obesity.

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In 2017, Public Health England estimated that 3.8 per cent of all deaths in Barnsley in those aged 30 and above were attributable to fine particulate air pollution.

Coun Lamb added: “Climate change is something that threatens to seriously impact much of the world if we don’t take steps to combat it.

“There is growing public awareness and widespread concern on the impact of climate change and declaring a climate emergency brings these issues to the forefront of everyone’s attention.

“Our declaration is not just an empty gesture, we have taken time and worked hard to make sure we underpin this statement with action. Examples of this can be seen through current work. These programmes will help us to achieve zero carbon and make sure that Barnsley is doing its bit in reducing the impact of carbon emissions. We will be striving to achieve these goals earlier than the proposed dates.

“We want to protect Barnsley for future generations, making sure that people are safe from harm.”