Last reviewed 8 October 2021

Courts and tribunals across England and Wales are to receive funding to reduce energy consumption as part of a multi-million package to reduce emissions across the criminal justice system.

Courts and tribunals will receive £40 million to install energy saving technology, including renewable energy, automated management systems and new insulation designed to support government ambitions to reduce emissions across the sector by 10% — equivalent to carbon savings of approximately 6000 tonnes by 2025.

The money will be spent on installing solar electricity panels at a number of buildings across the estate, as well as updating lighting, heating and air conditioning systems to improve energy efficient. Electric vehicle charging points are being rolled out to more buildings to encourage carbon-friendly travel.

Announcing the new measures, Courts Minister James Cartlidge said the initiative was designed “to improve sustainability throughout the criminal justice system”.

“This is part of our plan to roll out technology and modernise the estate to deliver a better service for all court users,” Cartridge added.

The plans are part of a wider £285 million investment package being spent on improvements to prisons and courts across England and Wales. Four new ‘net-zero ready’ prisons were confirmed recently by ministers, which will reduce energy demand by half and cut emission of 280,000 tonnes of CO2.

Existing prisons will also benefit from a £15 million investment to cut their emissions. Solar panels are being installed at a further 16 sites bringing the total number of solar panels across the estate to over 20,000, helping to cut power demand across the prison service by around 20%.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has also developed a five-year strategy, setting out further measures, including new smart water meters to monitor water usage, track leakages and install water-saving devices in showers, sinks and toilets. Other measures include improving recycling, a and reusing facilities to reduce waste and protect biodiversity through better tree maintenance, increasing pollinator planting and replacing shrubbery with native plants.