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Norfolk town to set blueprint for sustainable living

PUBLISHED: 12:42 21 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:34 07 July 2010

What was labelled one of England's worst polluting town's in terms of CO2 emissions has been given a chunk of a £10m cash prize to make it one of the UK's first low-carbon communities.

What was labelled one of England's worst polluting town's in terms of CO2 emissions has been given a chunk of a £10m cash prize to make it one of the UK's first low-carbon communities.

Reepham Town Council discovered its residents create an estimated 13,000 tonnes of CO2 per year - the equivalent of 20 hot air balloons every day, according to a survey by CRed at UEA and the Energy Saving Trust.

But now the town is well on its way to becoming a shining example to the rest of the UK on how to cut carbon after winning half a million pounds as part of the government's Low Carbon Communities Challenge.

The project set out to find settlements which could provide a blueprint for sustainable living.

Reepham has already launched the country's first rural car club, a car sharing scheme, it is running the world's first trials of using biofuel to heat homes and the town's two schools and it ran a successful campaign to get homes in the town properly insulated.

The £500,000 from the Department of Energy and Climate Change will be given to a community fund which focuses on energy-efficient renovation, transport, behavioural change and food initiatives.

Rex Warner is a member of Reepham's Green Team, which was created from a committee of the town council and undertook one of the country's first comprehensive community carbon audits five years ago.

It found the town's carbon emissions, per capita, were 48pc above the national average and sparked the town's bid to go green.

“Reepham is an example of how we can create low carbon communities,” he said. “I'm delighted that Reepham has been chosen as a winner of the Low Carbon Communities Challenge as it will enable community groups across the town to deliver the next wave of carbon reduction projects.

“These projects will lead to reduced fuel poverty, reduced transport poverty, and reduced carbon emissions.”

About a quarter of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions come from heating, lighting and powering electrical appliances in homes - indicating the importance of domestic action to help the country meet its green targets.

Energy and climate change minister Joan Ruddock said: “We've had more than 300 communities register their interest with the Low Carbon Communities Challenge, so there's a real appetite out there to save energy to help tackle global warming and save money on fuel bills.

“The ten winning projects will now spend the money on things like community wind turbines, solar panels, heat pumps, insulation or green transport projects to cut emissions.”

In return for technical and financial assistance, people living in Reepham will contribute to finding low carbon solutions which could benefit the whole country, as proven measures will be used nationally.

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