Plans are underway to make the Lisburn Road one of the “greenest roads” in the country, with wind turbines generating electricity.
Members of the Lisburn Road Business Association (LBRA) are hoping that turbines placed on the road in the Balmoral area could be a money-spinner for local traders, by selling electricity created to suppliers such as Power NI.
The plan is part of the ongoing re-imaging of the road, in order to attract more shoppers and other visitors to the area. Several businesses will benefit from recent news that Power NI is to slash its prices, however, it is understood that the majority of shops and businesses on the road are served by different providers, including southern-based Airtricity.
LBRA member and local newsagent Mark Taylor, said the turbines, if built, could also become an “attraction” in themselves for curious visitors.
“We are looking at making the Lisburn Road one of the greenest roads anywhere in either Ireland or the UK,” said Mark.
“The idea for turbines is one that is being discussed right now, and if it goes ahead, we would envisage them being based at the grassy banks of the Stockman’s Lane flyover. These would produce power that would be sold on to Power NI, while we would also try and make them as attractive to look at as possible. Even if they became a bit of a visitor attraction themselves, it can only be of benefit to local traders, who are keen to boost numbers.
“We are talking to electricity suppliers who have said they are keen to make it work, and we hope that in the coming months we will be able to announce something.”
Meanwhile, the 14 per cent reduction in bills announced by Power NI was welcomed by the NI Independent Retail and Trade Association (NIIRTA), which works closely with South Belfast traders.
NIIRTA Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: “This is clearly good news for both our members and hard-pressed working families. This reduction is very timely given the trend in recent years of ever rising energy costs on small businesses. It also reduces pressure on disposable income of working families which in turn may result in a small increase in consumer spend.
“We are committed to working with all the major energy companies to ensure that our members become more energy efficient to further reduce costs and invest in sustainable energy.”