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Why is County Hall still lit up, when most of its staff are home-working?

PUBLISHED: 06:00 09 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:08 09 October 2020

Lights on at County Hall at 6.45am. A reader has questioned why they need to be on. Pic: David Hill.

Lights on at County Hall at 6.45am. A reader has questioned why they need to be on. Pic: David Hill.

David Hill

Questions have been asked about why County Hall still has so many lights on in the early mornings and evenings - when the bulk of council staff are working from home.

Lights on at County Hall at 6.45am. A reader has questioned why they need to be on. Pic: David Hill.Lights on at County Hall at 6.45am. A reader has questioned why they need to be on. Pic: David Hill.

The majority of Norfolk County Council’s staff have been doing their jobs from home during the coronavirus pandemic, but about 100 are working at the council’s headquarters in Norwich.

But people living and working near the Martineau Lane building have asked why so many of the building’s lights need to be on, when most of the staff are at home.

Reader David Hill, who took these pictures at 6.45am on Monday and Tuesday, questioned why so many of the building’s floors needed to be illuminated at the same time.

The council recently set a date of 2030 for Norfolk to achieve net zero carbon emissions, as part of a new environment policy.

A spokesman said, despite the perception having so many lights on at County Hall was wasteful, there was an explanation and that energy consumption was coming down.

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The spokesman said: “Anyone passing County Hall may wonder why there are lights on in the building outside usual ‘office hours’.

“Our low energy LED lighting throughout the building only comes on when it’s needed, using a network of motion sensors.

“These sensors are triggered early in the morning when the cleaning team starts, and when the security team do their regular rounds of the building, including during the night.

“Since the major refurbishment of County Hall, electricity usage has dropped by around 20pc and gas usage by 40pc. There is also a bank of solar panels covering large areas of the roof of County Hall.”

The council came under fire recently for approving a £1.9m car park at County Hall. More than 300 people have signed a petition calling for the council to reverse that decision.

The council’s planning committee voted to extend the existing car park and to add a second deck to part of the current set-up.

Critics said the coronavirus pandemic showed people could work from home, so it was not needed.

But the council said staff from other buildings which would be closing would need to be based at County Hall and some frontline staff needed cars to do their jobs.


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