Making big difference to people’s lives

COMMUNITY Energy Solutions has continued its work of bringing affordable and environmentally friendly heating to communities in the North-East.

COMMUNITY Energy Solutions has continued its work of bringing affordable and environmentally friendly heating to communities in the North-East.

This week CES held another successful and well-attended public meeting in Widdrington village, near Morpeth, where – thanks to CES and UK Coal, the principal funders – work is now at an advanced stage to bring mains gas to more than 50 homes.

As in many other communities, people in Widdrington have long had to endure expensive, inefficient and environmentally unfriendly fuel sources.

Work to lay the off-site feeder main has already begun in Widdrington Station, close to Stobswood, where CES and UK Coal are helping to connect more than 100 homes to the mains gas supply. Elsewhere in the region, CES has been working in partnership with Derwentside Homes, which has invested more than £150,000 to bring gas to The Dene in Medomsley, near Consett.

It was previously the only social housing site in Derwentside without a gas supply.

The funding will also help a number of privately owned family homes, which sit side-by-side with the Derwentside Homes properties, to be connected to mains gas.

More than 160 homes in total will benefit from the work being carried out there.

CES operations director David Lacey said: “There is a huge number of communities without a gas supply and we’re doing our best to change that.”

Up to now, these communities have had no option but to use inefficient and expensive fuel sources that invariably do more damage to the environment.

So, many people view “doing the green thing” as being the more expensive choice, but being able to pull all the elements together in order to extend the gas supply to these communities is actually working out cheaper for these individuals.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Community Energy Solutions is a non-profit distributing community interest company, set up with core funding from DTI-DDU and One NorthEast (ONE) and supported by the National Grid Affordable Warmth Programme.

Its aim is to help more than 20 communities over two years to benefit from more sustainable and less expensive fuel. In most cases, that involves extending the gas mains into these communities.

CES is currently engaged or has completed projects in nine areas of the region, from Middleton in Teesdale in the south to Prior Park at Berwick in the North.

Having made a big impact at last month’s National Energy Action 2007 Conference, CES was also pleased to report its recent successes to County Durham’s Sustainability and Environment Partnership launch meeting, which took place in Durham earlier this month.

The CES operating model has proved so successful in this region that plans are now at an advanced stage to roll it out across the UK.

The ultimate objective is to bring affordable warmth to more people and to reduce the size of their carbon footprint at the same time.

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer