help schools, offices and housing developments in England play a part
in reducing the effects of climate change.
support teams in 10 areas covering half of England. The support teams
will help local people and organisations devise renewable energy
schemes suited to their area. The aim is to not only create
environment friendly developments but to enable community groups to
directly benefit from the income generated.
The local support teams, which are made up of local councils, energy
experts, government bodies and other specialists will provide advice
and training on feasibility studies, funding, technology issues,
planning, environmental assessment and public participation.
The key areas of funding which the community schemes can draw upon
will be the government's:
-£20m major solar photovoltaic (PV) demonstration programme
which will include support for community projects and individual
-£10m programme for renewable energy schemes with strong
local community or household interest
-£5m renewable energy budget for fuel poor households that
are off grid or without mains gas connections.
Examples of the types of projects the initiative hopes to develop
- Turning waste from farm and food waste into natural gas to
generate electricity for community buildings
- Using wood fired boilers to heat schools
- Harnessing solar energy to power hospitals
Mr Wilson said:
'This initiative could lead to schools powered by small scale wind
turbines, hospitals with solar rooftops and houses with wood chip
'Everyone can play a part in increasing the amount of renewable
energy the UK uses. Educating people is the key to helping people
develop their own renewable energy ideas. I am determined to no
longer waste the will and determination of local groups to produce
'These new projects will bring educational opportunities and local
jobs as well as the obvious environmental benefits. Potential for
employing manufacturing skills is an important part of the case in
favour of developing our renewables.
'Another key aspect of this initiative is that it will give a further
source of income to the communities involved in such schemes.
Innovative ideas like this could be the key to regenerating some our
more deprived areas.
'The support teams will also provide innovative ways of providing
cheap and efficient power to those who live in tough social
conditions. Crucially, they may be able to help set up renewable
energy schemes for households which aren't connected to the mains gas
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Countryside Agency board
member Tony Hams said:
'This month's cabinet office Energy Review called for public
involvement in renewable energy. This is exactly the role of the
Countryside Agency's Community Renewables Initiative. It will help
people devise renewable energy developments suited to their own
locality, that they can benefit from.We are delighted with the
support we've received from fellow government departments. Now we
must work together and help people get environmentally sensitive
renewables projects on the ground.'
A list of the regions where the local support teams will operate are
at Annex A.
1. The initiative is a joint scheme between the Countryside Agency,
The Energy saving Trust, DTI, DEFRA and the Forestry Commission.
2. For more Information about Community Renewables visit our website. The Countryside Agency
is responsible for advising government and taking action on issues
relating to the social, economic and environmental well-being of the
3. The government expects to create a£1bn market for renewable
energy by 2010. The main driver for this will be the shortly to be
introduced renewables obligation which will put an obligation on
electricity suppliers to supply ten per cent of their electricity
from renewable sources. In addition a£260m support programme
has been provided over the next three years.
4. The government announced its proposals for the new Renewables
Obligation on 5 October 2000. Copies of the
latest Renewables obligation Consultation consultation document are
available from the DTI website.
5. The Scottish executive will be implementing a similar obligation
Local Support Teams are being set up in the following areas:
Northumberland and Durham
David Francis, Community Council of Northumberland
Cumbria and Lancashire
Maf Smith, Furness Energy Partnership
North, West, and South Yorkshire
Robert Clark, Kirklees MBC
Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk
Clare Hall, Ecotech
Shropshire and Herefordshire
Richard Davies, Marches Energy Agency
The East Midlands region
AlisonHepworth, East Midlands Regional Assembly
Gloucestershire and Wiltshire
Graham Ayling, Severn Wye Energy Agency
Devon and Cornwall
Paul Baker, Devon Association for Renewable Energy
Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire
Keith Richards, TV Energy
Surrey, Kent, and London Borough of Croydon
Nigel Blandford, Surrey CC