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- £2.5m funding competition boost for communities* cutting carbon emissions in the East of England
- Anglian Water, DEFRA, E.ON and Suffolk County Council back campaign
- Judging panel includes environmentalist, Jonathon Porritt and the WI’s Fay Mansell
- Campaign supported by innovative technology - a community carbon footprint calculator and social networking site - and ‘on the ground’ community advisors

Are you part of a group actively undertaking carbon cutting activities in the East of England or an individual looking to encourage others to cut carbon emissions? If so, the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) challenges you to come forward and take part in an innovative competition to win a share of £2.5 million of public funding.

The call is part of Cut your Carbon, a three-year campaign launched today by EEDA that aims to bring together communities in the East of England to tackle climate change. Groups taking part will be able to measure their carbon footprint to see the success of their actions. They can try to win EEDA match funding of up to £200,000 for projects that apply fresh thinking to cutting carbon emissions. The campaign has already won the support of Anglian Water, Defra, E.ON and Suffolk County Council.

Richard Ellis, chair, EEDA says: “We are looking for everyday super heroes who are passionate about taking action and plugged in to their local communities and, for the pathfinder round which opens now, already actively doing something to tackle carbon emissions – to come forward and take part in the competition.

“When people accept ownership of an issue and take action to address it you have a recipe for dramatic change. Group those individuals into a community and imagine how that will magnify the impact they can have. Climate change is an issue that needs to be tackled in this way. Given that the East of England is the recognised ideas region, I am really looking forward to seeing and funding some really inspiring and effective projects over the next three years.”

The competition

A panel of high profile judges from a diverse variety of backgrounds will help decide which projects are inspiring and innovative enough to receive funding. The panel will be co-chaired by Richard Ellis, EEDA chair and Jonathon Porritt, chair of the Sustainable Development Commission, and also includes Fay Mansell, chair, National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) and Tim Pyke, head of climate change, E.ON UK, among others.

Jonathon Porritt, says: “The overwhelming weight of evidence on climate change points to a rapid acceleration in human-induced changes in the climate, with rapidly worsening consequences for humankind. Despite these facts, emissions of CO2 in the UK have risen over the past few years, and to date there has been faltering progress to address this. This makes this competition a breath of fresh air, as it offers people the chance to come up with effective solutions, so I am happy to support it.”

Examples of projects that might be submitted include a renewable energy solution for a community building or group of households, a low carbon transport solution, or other community initiatives involving food miles, water or waste management.

EEDA has already identified a number of active communities that have ambitions for winning EEDA funding. A list of the communities and their projects is below:

Green Sproughton (Suffolk) – renewable energy (wind and water) for community buidlings; and the development of cycle path network.

Othona open Christian community (Essex) – renewable energy (biomass boilers and wind); grey water/rain water recycling; and even a green gym where the equipment generates power.

• Reepham Environment Working Group (Norfolk) - a biofuels project

St Mary's Church, Welwyn (Herts) - renewable energy solutions; it has already installed an innovative ground source heat pump solution for the Church

Sustainable Girton (Cambridgeshire) – a large wind-powered turbine to supply energy to community buildings

Zero Carbon Castle (Bedfordshire) - a project to achieve 60 per cent carbon dioxide emission reductions in classic Victorian terrace housing.

To help communities take action, EEDA is providing resources including:-

1) face-to-face support from community advisors who can help you bring a community together, help you draw up your plans provided by Rural Action East

2) an innovative online toolbox:-

- an unique ‘community carbon footprint calculator’ enabling communities to fulfil the requirement of measuring their carbon footprint before seeking funding
- a social networking facility communities and individuals can utilise to communicate online
- links to and information on public sector organisations who can provide support and services such as UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development (UK CEED) and Renewables East.

The first funding round opens from launch and closes on 12 June 2008. EEDA views round one as a ‘pathfinder’ round for active communities but the competition is open to everyone who wants to take part.

To find out more visit www.cutyourcarbon.org.uk or call 0800 0433 094.

Support

The campaign also has the support of:-

- Anglian Water – One of the leading providers of water and wastewater services in the UK. The company will provide Cut your Carbon communities with advice via the website and community support officers on water efficiency, helping them to identify water conservation measures as part of their wider action plans. The company will also support the review panel and judges by providing insight on water-based projects.

- Defra – EEDA’s carbon footprint calculator has been built using DEFRA's Act on CO2 model

- E.ON – One of the UK’s leading power and gas companies will provide Cut your Carbon communities with advice on renewable energy solutions, identifying the most suitable source for the building/environment in question. It will assist communities with early stage development of project plans and give more focused support to those that reach the final stage, helping ensure robust, deliverable project plans.

- Suffolk County Council has set the mark for local authority involvement with the Cut your Carbon campaign and established the Suffolk Green Fund. This will provide £100,000 in match funding for the first, pathfinder round of the competition for winning communities from Suffolk to cover the gap in funding that successful communities still need to find. The money will be available for both capital and revenue costs and as such can be used by groups to cover some of the set up costs of developing their ideas. Linking the two funding streams in this way will streamline the process for communities in Suffolk to seek funding enabling them to do so through one mechanism rather than two.

* Communities are defined as those united by a common interest or geographical location. The competition can therefore incorporate groups of friends or neighbours, sports clubs, schools if they are working with the wider community within which they operate and potentially groups of businesses sited together.

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NOTES TO EDITORS:

Interviews with Richard Ellis, Jonathon Porritt, Fay Mansell and the sponsors can be arranged through EEDA press office. There is also a community from each country that is available for interview.

Images are available including the Cut your Carbon word mark and heroes photography from www.cutyourcarbon.org.uk – see the ‘Press’ option within the ‘News’ tab. Further photos from launch activity will be available on Facebook – see our Cut your Carbon profile and video.

About the East of England Development Agency

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) is the driving force behind sustainable economic regeneration in the East of England: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. EEDA’s vision is for the East of England to be an ideas driven region that is internationally competitive, harnesses the talent of all and is at the forefront of the low carbon economy. For further information visit www.eeda.org.uk

EEDA is working towards becoming carbon neutral by 2010 and would like to encourage individuals, businesses and partners to do the same. The East of England is the only region that is on target to meet tough new EU carbon reduction targets set this week. It is also the only region to have a dedicated £80 million ERDF low carbon programme that will help the region and its businesses cut emissions and boost economic growth.

Press enquiries to:

Rebecca English, Cut your Carbon media relations officer
Tel: 01223 202839
M: 07923 537238
Email: rebeccaenglish@eeda.org.uk

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of East of England Development Agency (EEDA) in the following categories: Leisure & Hobbies, Home & Garden, Environment & Nature, Farming & Animals, Construction & Property, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.