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Lack of wind ruins green plan

Attempts to go green in Cirencester have been thwarted because there is not enough wind to generate energy.

Cirencester Town Council installed wind-turbine footpath lights at the Kingshill playing fields in 2004 following advice from energy company, Energy21, in 2000.

But seven of the lights did not work and 12 were unreliable because of the lack of wind. Now the system will be plugged in for mains electricity anyway.

The lights, along the path from Kingshill School to the old railway cutting, were tested by Severn Wye Energy Agency in August 2006 which suggested upgrading the electrical circuits in the lamps.

The company which supplied the lights agreed to carry out this work free of charge but it cost the town council £4,000 in materials.

The lights still never worked properly and the town council has now decided to reconnect them to the electric grid for the safety of the footpath users.

Town councillor Peter Braidwood said: “I don’t wish to throw good money at bad. I think the town council in 2000 was badly advised by the looks of it.”

Town clerk Andrew Tubb said: “Since installation local residents have expressed concern about the unreliability and the situation now has to be considered as a priority and addressed before the onset of winter.”

Town Councillor Andy Lichnowski is keen on keeping Cirencester green and is heading up the energy neighbourhoods competition to reduce household energy.

He said: “As a town council we are committed to sustainable and renewable energy so I am very disappointed in this case that it hasn’t worked.

“Clearly the council has spent quite a lot of money, time and energy in finding a solution but we also had to address the immediate concerns to keep the area safe.”

By Emma Tilley

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard

12 July 2008