Householders invited to take charge of water and energy use

A publicly-funded campaign to drive down water consumption and energy use will be launched in Surrey today.

The Tap into Savings project will see almost 1,000 homes in the towns of Redhill and Merstham offered advice and devices to help them bring down the bills while reducing their environmental impact.

The scheme will also be rolled out in parts of the Midlands and East Anglia later in the year, when it will involve more than 10,000 people - making it the biggest campaign of its kind in the UK.

Homes will be provided with a range of free water efficient devices, including toilet cistern kits, aerated showerheads, shower adaptors and tap inserts fitted in bathrooms and kitchens.

Residents will also be encouraged to take control of their energy bills with the help of free energy monitors, energy saving products and advice.

As part of the project, Surrey residents are being encouraged to join EcoTeams - a bit like Neighboruhood Watch for the environment - where they can learn and develop ways of saving water and energy, wasting less and recycling more.

Constituency MP and chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Environment, Peter Ainsworth, said: "It is very heartening to know that most local residents understand and accept the need to save vital resources such as water and energy.

"As the population of the South East continues to grow there is increasing pressure to lead our lives more efficiently when using these life-essential resources."

Funded in part by Defra's Greener Living Fund, Tap into Savings is a joint project led by Waterwise and undertaken with the help of Raven Housing Trust, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, Global Action Plan, and the Environment Agency.

Trewin Restorick, chief executive, Global Action Plan added: "Tap into Savings research has shown that many people obviously care about the way they use water and energy in their homes, but we believe that through the use of more efficient devices and small changes to lifestyles, significant savings can be achieved.

"That's the challenge we are setting local residents with Tap into Savings and through the formation of EcoTeams."

A smaller pilot scheme for Tap into Savings undertaken in 2007/08 achieved savings of almost 15% in household water usage.

Sam Bond



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