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COUNTY'S STREET LIGHTS USE GREEN ENERGY

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Cumbria CC is now using 100% 'green' energy for its 44,000 streetlights, illuminated road signs and traffic lights ...
Cumbria CC is now using 100% 'green' energy for its 44,000 streetlights, illuminated road signs and traffic lights - doing its bit to combat climate change and global warming.

This comes as research suggests that the first three months of 2002 are thought to be the warmest since records began 140 years ago and all the indications from tree ring analysis suggests that it was the warmest start to a year for 1000 years.

Lawson Short, council spokesman for the environment, said: 'Cumbria CC is one of the first authorities in the country to obtain 100% green energy for street lighting. The council is committed to reducing the impact it has on the environment and this initiative is part of that. Energy from coal, oil or gas produces carbon dioxide emissions, the main cause of global warming and climate change. By contrast energy from renewable sources is largely greenhouse gas free. By switching to green energy for street lights, the council is helping the government meet its commitment to cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010 and setting an example which other organisations can follow.'

Green electricity from renewable sources is exempt from the Climate Change Levy. The Levy was introduced last year and applies to all buildings except houses. The aim is to encourage organisations to become energy efficient by increasing the cost of energy used.

The county council used the Lancashire Purchasing Agency (LPA) to negotiate the contract, with the supplier being British Energy. It has been purchasing energy for road lighting through the LPA since 2000 and has saved in the region of 30% (approximately£500,000). The council has been purchasing 10% green energy since last October and because of this, with green energy at a premium, was able to jump to the front of the queue when LPA re-entered the contract enabling 100%.

The county council is looking at how it uses natural resources and as a first step will shortly appoint an energy manager who will be responsible for producing an energy strategy and identifying ways of reducing energy and water consumption in council buildings.

Notes

1. The research mentioned in paragraph two was published in the New Scientist and is from the UK Meteorological Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Predication and Research, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the University of East Anglia.

2. The Climate Change Levy would be in the region of£70,000 per year for the electricity for road lighting, illuminated traffic signs and traffic signals.

3. Capitadbs acted as consultants on behalf of the county council to negotiate the contract.

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