Town's green energy plans welcomed

More than 50 people turned out to a public meeting to discuss plans to power a town using a hi-tech green energy supply.

Bishop's Castle Town Council is looking at installing a central ground-source heat pump which could potentially provide heat to all homes and community buildings in the town.

Organisers of the meeting, at the Three Tuns pub, said the response was largely positive, although some concerns were voiced about plans for a wind turbine.

The scheme has been welcomed by Ludlow MP Philip Dunne, who described is as "an exciting project".

Meeting organiser Lorraine Waumsley said: “The response to the project was very positive and encouraging."

At the moment the town is not connected to the national gas network, meaning most buildings are heated with either liquid petroleum gas, oil or coal. This means heating costs are higher than most areas, and Mrs Waumsley said carbon emissions were about twice the national average.

Dave Green of Sharenergy and Martin Crane of Carbon Alternatives explained how the heat network could work, and how a wind turbine could provide the electricity to power the heat pump.

Mr Green said: “The whole project makes sense if a community owned wind turbine can power the system.

"We would take one unit of electricity from the turbine and turn it into three units of heat for local homes and other buildings”.

Environmental charity Lightfoot is working with the local Carbon Action Plan group to examine the feasibility of the project.

A survey of local opinion is also underway and there will be a stall outside the town's market tomorrow.

Residents have until Thursday next week to fill in a survey about the proposals.

Mrs Waumsley added: “Whilst some people are concerned about the possibility of a wind turbine many others are pleased to see us putting forward a proposal that could significantly reduce our carbon emissions and help to protect the town against ever rising fuel prices”.

A report on the proposal and the results of the survey will be presented to the town council at its meeting on October 19.

Mr Green added: "This heat network proposal is in its very early stages and much work remains to be done.

"But we are hopeful that the town council will include it, along with possible wind turbine sites, in the town’s neighbourhood plan so that further studies can proceed.”

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