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08.12.06
Cornish farmers switch on to renewable energy

As Gordon Brown announces tough 'zero carbon' targets for new houses in the next ten years, North Cornwall farmers are hoping to generate greater local take-up of renewable energy use after learning about the latest technological developments in Europe.

A group of nine Cornish farmers have joined together to form the North Cornwall Alternative Land Use Group which through funding from the South West Rural Enterprise Gateway (SWREG) has been developing its understanding of how solar power, wind power and renewable sources of fuel can be more widely used to benefit South West homes and businesses.

Group members recently attended a leading Bio-Energy Exhibition in Spain, a four day international event in October, showcasing the latest technology in the field of renewable energy.

Group member, Royston Symons farms 200 acres of land at Pancras Week near Holsworthy. He believes European developments in sustainable energy can be applied to the UK to provide substantial savings for individual businesses and the wider community.

"Wind is one element that potentially everyone in the South West could tap into as a source of energy. I've discovered that harnessing wind power on my land with a small wind turbine would generate around 30-40,000 kilowatts of energy which could save me up to £2,400 every year and save up to 17,000 kilos of CO2 emissions," explained Royston.

"I'm also hoping some of the ideas we saw in Spain can be used to benefit others in the local area. I am currently carrying out some work with a not-for-profit company called Holsworthy Energy Services Company, which aims to supply cheap renewable fuel for people in the area. The exhibition showed us that an enormous range of dry waste materials such as wood pallets, cardboard and even plastics can be converted into pellets which form a highly efficient fuel source. People can get help to convert their boilers to biomass fuels and cut fuel bills by up to 30%."

The South West Rural Enterprise Gateway is delivered through the Business Link network and aims to help rural businesses access information, training and business development support. SWREG helps rural businesses to collaborate, through group development support, funding up to £1, 500 per annum and help with training costs, relating to the group's goals.

Lee Richards, Business Link project officer for SWREG in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly said: "This group is looking into some very innovative ways of working and living through more sustainable and efficient methods. And as Chancellor Gordon Brown's latest pre-budget report shows – in the next ten years we can expect to see big changes in the ways we use energy and we're all going to have to look far more closely at how to reduce our individual carbon footprints.

"The SWREG project has supported this group with 50% funding for their recent research trip to Spain and the knowledge they've brought back is having knock on benefits for their communities as well. The renewable energy sector is going to be a huge growth business area in the coming years and is predicted to generate an additional £260 million for the region's economy so it's increasingly important that we learn from our European neighbours and can implement some of their successful developments here in the South West."


For further information contact Maxine McAdams of the Marketing PR Company on 01566 771860 or email: mmcadams@marketing-pr.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in South West Rural Enterprise Gateway (SWREG) through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF) and in Business Link Devon and Cornwall through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

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Editor's notes:

SWREG is an element of Business Link's Gateway service aimed at helping rural businesses in the South West, through access to information, training and business development support.

It is one of the support schemes aimed at helping rural and land based businesses across the South West region and administered by the Business Link Agricultural Team. Others include:

• Farm Business Advice Service
• Rural Business Support Initiative
• Rural Diversification Capital Grant Initiative
• Rural Directory

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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