Green Blacon group wins DECC funding

Blacon in Cheshire is one of the first ten winning locations in the UK and the only one in the North West to benefit from a £10m fund as part of the Government's Low Carbon Communities Challenge.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change launched the competition in July to find communities keen to be at the forefront of moving to a low carbon economy. Around a quarter of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions come from heating, lighting and powering electrical appliances in homes. By 2050 this needs to be almost zero if the UK is to cut its emissions by 80%, highlighting the importance of local action.

Blacon will receive £500,000 to champion energy efficiency and refurbish two local houses, so people can see what they can do to cut their bills and have access to advice and practical support for its 16,000 residents. They will also be bringing together local people from across the community installing some of the latest technology in their homes and enable local people to help one another to cut bills and spread good practice through their social networks.

Joan Ruddock, energy and climate change minister, 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.

Ged Edwards, chief executive of Sustainable Blacon, said: "Blacon in Chester is a strong urban community and the challenge builds on Sustainable Blacon's work on four 'greens' – open spaces, energy, transport and social enterprises. Through the challenge, we will be helping one another to cut our household energy bills, broadening our understanding of climate change and supporting each other to do what we can about it. This is a testament to the visionary work undertaken over the last few years by Blacon Community Trust, its partners and local residents. We hope our experience will encourage and help other communities in the vital task of cutting carbon emissions for a more sustainable future."

In return for technical and financial assistance, people in Blacon will work alongside government and contribute to finding low carbon solutions from which the whole country will benefit. Successful outcomes from the project will pave the way for a national roll-out of proven measures.

DECC is now looking for an additional twelve communities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to take part in the next phase of the challenge.

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