Merton campaigns to help residents save energy and money

Merton Council and local environment charity Sustainable Merton have partnered up to help local residents and businesses reduce energy and potentially save money on their gas and electricity bills.

Following the council’s successful bid for £76,000 from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Merton has launched a campaign to inform residents about two major energy initiatives – the Green Deal and the Big London Switch.

Working closely with the council, Sustainable Merton will be visiting residents in Cricket Green, Colliers Wood, Mitcham Town Centre and Merton Park this month, offering them free advice on how they can reduce energy in the home and switch to a cheaper energy tariff. The charity has already approached more than 500 homes across the borough.

Merton Council is the only borough in London to have also won a bid for funding to provide free energy assessments to a number of businesses in the borough. To help support the local economy in these difficult times, the council is working with Merton Chamber of Commerce to identify local businesses which could benefit from having a free energy assessment carried out on their premises.

Cabinet member for environmental sustainability and regeneration, Councillor Andrew Judge, said: ‘Merton Council has always been leading the way when it comes to the environment. At a time when energy bills are soaring, it’s important that we help residents, particularly the most vulnerable, get cheaper energy deals and improve their home energy efficiency. Switching collectively to one domestic energy provider to get better energy deals can benefit us all as residents.’

Merton Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive, Diana Sterck, said: “Merton Chamber of Commerce is delighted to be continuing its partnership with Merton Council by working with local businesses to see how they can benefit from the Green Deal. This is an essential part of our Greening Business Programme which offers free advice to local businesses about how they can become ‘greener’ and save money in doing so. I would encourage local businesses to come along to our event on 21 March to find out more.”

More information on the Green Deal is available at http://www.merton.gov.uk/greendeal. Merton residents who would like to take part in the Big London Switch can find out more at http://www.biglondonenergyswitch.org.uk or by calling 020 8274 4901.

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Notes to editors:

1. About the London Borough of Merton

An outer London borough to the south west of the capital with a population of 200,000 residents living in 80,000 households and served by 7,500 businesses. Formed in 1965, the borough’s five main town centres are Wimbledon (taking in the Village, the Broadway and South Wimbledon), Mitcham, Morden, Raynes Park and Colliers Wood.

Merton is home to the world famous All England Lawn Tennis Club, where the Wimbledon Championships take place every year bringing an extra 500,000 people into the borough for the tennis extravaganza.

In the 13th century, the Statutes of Merton, the basis of common law in England and seen by many as the forerunner for modern parliament, were signed here. In the 19th century Merton was a place of industry where famous names such as Arthur Liberty and William Morris based their businesses on the River Wandle. The Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson also lived in Merton.

2. Merton Chamber of Commerce meeting on energy saving – 21 March

Merton Council is hosting an event on 21 March alongside Merton Chamber of Commerce to advise local business on how they can save energy and what the Green Deal means for their business. To register, visit Merton Chamber events or call 020 8947 0055.

3. The Green Deal

This initiative enables residents to pay back the cost of home energy-saving improvements over time, through their electricity bill. Alternatively, residents who are in receipt of disability or means-tested benefits may be eligible to receive energy efficiency improvements to their home, free of charge.

4. Big London Switch

This is available to residents in Merton and across London. Through this scheme, Londoners collectively sign up to help negotiate a better deal with energy companies. It involves 20 London boroughs and London Councils who are seeking to negotiate with gas and electricity companies, on the behalf of London residents, a better deal on their energy bills. This pan-London initiative aims to help up to 1.75m residents across the capital to switch to get a better deal on their bills. It is estimated that 325,000 homes across the participating boroughs are in fuel poverty which means more than 10 per cent of income is spent on electricity and gas. Almost 400 local residents in Merton have registered for the Big London Switch so far.