As Peterborough continues in its aspirations to become the UK’s Environment Capital, the Chief Executive of Peterborough Environment City Trust makes the case for retaining their funding from Peterborough City Council, in the face of widespread cuts under consideration to all sectors of the Council budget. Broadcast at 08:35 on Tuesday 14th September 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. The interviewer is Paul Stainton.
PS: Hugh Cripps the Chief Executive at Peterborough Environment City Trust. Good Morning.
HC: Morning Paul.
PS: You could be about to suffer from cuts in funding. Peterborough City Council have confirmed to us that it’s one of many possibilities it’s considering to save money. Are you worried?
HC: It’s a possibility. That’s the buzzword. Yes I mean of course any cut in funding would be a big disappointment to us, but when times are hard, we have to be considered along with everybody else, don’t we?
PS: Yes. I mean, it’s just a week, though, after Peterborough City Council gave us another new slogan, Home of Environment Capital. Not quite the right spelling, in my book, but never mind. I won’t be picky
PS: But it makes it incredibly difficult to justify those slogans, and to achieve them, if you’re even thinking about cutting back on something that helps make Peterborough greener.
HC: The City Council have been supportive of the Trust for over seventeen years, a really fantastic partner. And as I said, when times do get hard we have to be considered. Hopefully they won’t .. they’ll decide that it’s better in the advantage to the city to keep funding PECT, because I think for every pound that we get from the City Council, we have a multiplier effect of about ten, so we produce another ten pound, which is money drawn from central government, and European funding, etcetera, which is brought to Peterborough and spent in Peterborough. So we offer great value for money. So I would urge all your listeners to contact their councillors and say protect the spending on the environment. It is important, but we have to face facts.
PS: How much of your funding comes from the Council?
HC: Well as I said, about a tenth.
PS: Is it ten per cent?
HC: Yeah. It’s that high actually. But the advantage with the money that we get from the Council is it’s a core grant, which supports my salary. (LAUGHS) Which is very very hard, because the money that we get from other sources gets spent entirely on projects. So we need that bit of money to keep the core ticking over.
PS: So even if there’s a small cut in funding, it will have an impact on .. jobs and the work you do?
HC: It’ll have an impact on how we deliver. But fortunately the Trust is in a strong position at the moment, and we can sort of hopefully ride out the storm. But it will be difficult, and it would be a shame to sort of cut back, as you say, at a time when we’re trying to launch the Environment Capital status. We really need to be pretty sort of gung-ho.
PS: Yeah. What sort of things have PECT, Peterborough Environment City Trust, achieved over the years? What’s your proudest achievement?
HC: Oh gosh. I mean, there’s just so many . Because we cover the whole environmental spectra, I mean. Hopefully most of the listeners have heard of the Green Wheel, which is ..
PS: Well it’s been mentioned at least five times on the show this morning.
HC: Oh of course, yes. So that’s a major project. That was an eleven point two five million pound project. But we’ve been delivering, you know, very proud of the work we did with energy efficiency advice. we’ve helped insulate thousands of homes in Peterborough. The work we do with schools, the work we do with assisting businesses to become more cost effective, and the work we’re doing on changing people’s opinions, to become more environmental, and living a greener lifestyle.
PS: Yeah. You came to work on a train this morning, is that right?
HC: It’s true. Yes I did.
PS: Better than the car, I suppose.
HC: Sometimes .. I had to drive in yesterday, and I hate it when I have to drive in.
PS: What are you driving Hugh?
HC: Oh a beaten up old Ford Focus.
PS: Oh a silver Ford Focus. You’re with producer Ben. He’s got a one point six Ghia. He’s got the Ghia.
HC: No no. Just a one point six.
PS: You don’t get the armrests with that, do you?
HC: No you don’t, no.
HC: But on a sunny day it’s on the motorbike, but no, normally it’s on the train.
PS: Yeah. It’s amazing isn’t it how many people are dependent on the car this morning. We have this report, and we’ve been talking about it all morning, and getting people to be dependent … or non-dependent. And it’s very difficult, isn’t it, to be non-dependent on the car, at this time in the morning, getting to school, getting to the office, wherever you’re going. We need to do more to encourage people.
HC: I think it’s actually just making that first step, actually planning your journey. I mean, what would it take you to come by alternative transport? And you often find there is a bus very convenient, and you just have to sort of change your lifestyle rather than lie in bed listening to Paul Stainton on the radio in the morning.
PS: No no no.
HC: Saying give it another five minutes.
PS: Do you want support or what? I’m trying to help you out here.
HC: O thanks mate. But yeah just get up that couple of minutes early, get disciplined, get to the bus stop, and get that bus. We’ve got very good public transport in the city actually.
PS: Yeah. Don’t cut them anymore, please.
PS: Peterborough City Council, don’t cut any more bus routes. On the subjecvt of cuts at PECT, or possible cuts, Paul Phillipson from Peterborough City Council gave us this statement, and he said : ” As part of the ongoing consultation into the restructure of Neighbourhood Services, there is a proposal to change the way the Council supports PECT. However it is important to stress that at this stage this is just one of a number of proposals that are being considered as part of the wider consultation.” So fingers crossed.
HC: Fingers crossed, indeed.
PS: That you don’t lose your wages, Hugh.
PS: Hugh Cripps, Chief Executive of PECT, thank you for coming in this morning.