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London's energy busting Low Carbon Zones go ‘live’

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Ten energy-busting Low Carbon Zones across London have gone ‘live’ to help residents, schools and businesses to go green, to save money and create job opportunities at the same time. These Zones have each been awarded a share of £3million by the Mayor of London to cut carbon by 20.12 per cent by 2012. Local councils and their partners are delivering the Zones. They are introducing a range of innovative ways to become energy efficient, in line with the Mayor's environmental priorities. There is a wide range of pioneering activity taking place, which is only the start for green projects in the 10 Zones.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “London's 10 Low Carbon Zones are now officially 'live', championing the latest energy busting technologies, trialling innovative ways to go green and helping people save money. Not only will this have a hugely positive impact on our environment but it is stimulating new industries to create job opportunities. Everyone in these eco-areas now has the tools to achieve top energy saving status.”
Barking and Dagenham council has trained local unemployed people to become fully qualified energy assessors, given residents a free ‘grow your own’ starter pack to help reduce carbon emissions linked to the food they buy and offered a number of free car club registrations. The first electric vehicle charging point is now available to the public, with others in the pipeline. And a low carbon loan will also be launched soon, along with the council’s credit union, to fund energy efficiency measures in residents' homes.
Haringey is finalising plans for the installation of a Living Ark - a zero carbon, off-grid community centre - and energy-saving solar photovoltaic panels at three schools, at a community building and at the Muswell Hill branch of Marks & Spencer. 150 residents who recently attended a consultation event have been invited to buy shares in a local social enterprise company, En10ergy, which has been set up to enable local carbon emissions reductions projects, such as solar photovoltaic arrays on public and commercial buildings. The not-for-profit company is also launching a share offer on 28 March to encourage local people to invest in carbon emissions reductions projects in the area.
South of the river, Lambeth’s Zone in Brixton is holding a fun community event later this month at Loughborough Community Centre to launch its Zone. There will be exhibitions, prizes and freebies and the event aims to inspire visitors to support the Low Carbon Zone by giving people information on ways to reduce their carbon footprint.
Merton is launching its very first Low Carbon Zone this month with the first in a series of Low Carbon advice surgeries for residents. Called the Wandle Valley Low Carbon Zone, residents living within the Phipps Bridge and the Cherry Tree Estate area are set to benefit from two years worth of energy and cash saving initiatives The Zone is made up of 1,000 properties across 12 streets and includes three schools, six businesses and a number of community groups.
Neighbouring Richmond Council was first out of the blocks in launching its Low Carbon Zone last month at a community event in Ham and Petersham. The Zone is working with Oxford University and residents’ associations to create a model eco-village, helping local people become more energy efficient, in part through a smart metering scheme. This will involve monitoring how much energy is used in the home and then giving an analysis as to where savings can be made. Six hundred residents will then be given energy saving devices like hot water tank jackets, and they will be supported to make changes through offers of grants and loans to make their homes more energy efficient.
The Sutton Zone in Hackbridge will be launched at All Saints Community Centre later this month, when residents will have the chance to learn more and to sign-up to become leaders for local 'Eco Teams'.
As part of their project for Queen’s Park, Westminster Council is working with energy suppliers to upgrade heating systems on local estates to save residents in 1300 homes money and cut carbon.
Low Carbon Lewisham Central is rolling out a programme of free loft and cavity wall insulation and other energy efficiency measures for every home in the zone. Lewisham Council will also be running a scheme where residents will be able to allocate funding for environmental improvements to the area - activity will reduce the carbon footprint of local businesses, introduce an innovative approach to improving the energy efficiency of 'hard-to-treat' homes, and offer residents free solar panels.
Southwark's Zone in Peckham is securing private investment to help upgrade heating systems in flats to communal heating systems and provide heat metering. The Zone is also working with local small and medium sized businesses to train local residents to help provide an advice service for residents about how to make their homes more energy efficient.
In the Archway Low Carbon Zone, in Islington, an 'Energy Doctor in the Home' scheme is now up and running. The Energy Doctor visits residents in their homes to help with heating controls, bills and the fitting of small measures such as radiator panels. From the end of March a team of Low Carbon Zone champions will be talking to residents on their doorstep to raise awareness of the Zone and promote discounted loft insulation, with the first 50 households being offered free insulation.
Each borough scooped up least £250,000 each to take part in Mayor’s pioneering Low Carbon Zone programme, funded by the London Development Agency. The zones are bringing together local authorities, community organisations, residents, businesses, utilities and the GLA to work together in a targeted geographic area.