Council’s foresight helps weather fuel price increases

Councillor Fleur Butler

Councillor Fleur Butler

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Pioneering energysaving tchniques are helping to insulate council tax payers across rural North Yorkshire from the worst of this year’s fuel bill increases council chiefs have claimed.

Richmondshire and Hambleton District Councils say the impact of this year’s 19 per cent increase in fuel prices will be reduced toa three per cent rise in Hambleton, while Richmondshire is in line to make a seven per cent sabing, because of energy-saving measures that have been introduced during the last few years.

These include fitting council vehicles with fuel saving systems to monitor staff driving and limit peaks in consumption, optimising electricity supplies and using more energy-efficient equipment in council owned buildings.

The Richmondshire authority has also started to improve insulation in all its council homes and installing air-source heat pumps to replace traditional central heating.

Councillor Fleur Butler, the district’s climate change spokeswoman, has welcomed the new figures showing the savings both local authorities are making, and urged residents to follow their lead.

“There are huge numbers of the population who are really struggling with their bills,” she said.

“Many of our rural areas, because they are off the National Grid, have their own set of problems.

“The cost and the expense does make a huge difference - the pressure we are all feeling is somewhat greater.

“By the councils leading the way and showing we are making a difference, it makes people take notice.

“There may be a certain level of scepticism around carbon reduction but nobody can fight against saving money on their heating bills.”

Both councils estimate they are now saving about £80,000 a year by introducing the greater energy-saving measures.

Both local authorities have also started promoting energy efficiency and approproate business advice to help local enterprises save money themselves.

Hambleton’s environment champion, Coun Tim Swales, said: “The best say to promote the benefits of energy efficiency is to lead by example.

“We are providing the advice residents and businesses need to follow our lead.”