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Town's pollution secret

PUBLISHED: 13:18 05 March 2008 | UPDATED: 14:28 07 July 2010

On the surface it is a picture postcard rural country town. But beneath its Georgian geniality Reepham, in mid-Norfolk, has a dark secret.

It is one of the highest polluting towns in the UK in terms of CO2, according to a survey.

On the surface it is a picture postcard rural country town. But beneath its Georgian geniality Reepham, in mid-Norfolk, has a dark secret.

It is one of the highest polluting towns in the UK in terms of CO2, according to a survey.

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

But instead of rushing off to buy wind turbines and solar panels, a group overseeing the town's environmental turnaround says simply by properly insulating all the town's properties would instantly cut carbon emissions by 20pc.

Rex Warner, who has led the environment group, said: “It makes us one of the most polluting towns in the UK.

“Reasons for this were that only eight per cent of homes are properly loft insulated - 80pc of homes are under insulated.”

“But we have noticed there has been a sea change in the last two to three years. And we want to set an example with the insulation project.”

It has been called the Reepham Insulation Project, or RIP carbon emissions.

The group submitted a funding bid to the Big Green Challenge today and two events have already been planned in the town to promote roof insulation, on April 16 and 19, in the market place.

Workshops are planned with local school children and people are being reminded they can sign up for a free survey to see if they need insulation.

Many are applicable for money off or even free insulation through Broadland Council, but do not realise, Mr Warner said.

Other projects led by the group include the giving away of more than £5,000 worth of energy saving light bulbs to residents, funded by the Energy Savings Trust.

Altogether the group has come up with 40 separate actions in the short to long term to enable the town to become carbon neutral.

Villagers have been asked to make simple pledges like wearing a jumper instead of turning up the heating, making less car journeys, using a green electricity supplier and turning off unused appliances.

James Ellis, of Norfolk Country Cottages, is leading the insulation project. He said: “These are the basic things everybody should be doing.

“Insulation, use of cars and reliance on oil are our biggest problems. Insulation is one we can hit quickly and get a 20pc reduction. “The next step will be looking at the oil, and we are not sure where we are going to go on that yet but there are some really good ideas.”

Ideas include a community purchase scheme for oil to reduce transportation movements, replacing oil with biofuel and using solar hot water systems.

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