Clitheroe Castle in the dark for Earth Hour

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CLITHEROE Castle is joining hundreds of iconic buildings across the UK – among them the Houses of Parliament and Manchester United’s Old Trafford – by switching off its lights for an hour on Saturday.

The big switch-off, called Earth Hour, will also herald a week of energy efficiency giveaways at the Ribble Valley Borough Council Offices in Church Walk, Clitheroe.

From 8-30 to 9-30 p.m. on March 23rd thousands of individuals, landmarks, businesses and schools will plunge into darkness to show their support for a sustainable future.Organised by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour attracts thousands of participants, from the London Eye and Houses of Parliament, to Edinburgh Castle and Piccadilly Circus.

Now Ribble Valley Borough Council has signed up to the annual “lights out” campaign that has even attracted the support of astronauts at the International Space Station. Council leader Michael Ranson said: “We are proud to be involved in such an inspiring event as Earth Hour.

“Although the Clitheroe Castle lights are energy-efficient, we think plunging this iconic landmark into darkness will show that we take the wellbeing of the planet seriously. Everyone has a role to play in reducing the carbon footprint and we invite residents to join us in this symbolic gesture.”

Ribble Valley Borough Council is at the forefront of several energy efficiency schemes, including People Power and the award-winning Warm Homes Healthy People.

People Power aims to combine the purchasing power of residents to cut the cost of heating and lighting. If just 15,000 households from across Lancashire sign up to the scheme they could save a hefty £3million a year –up to £250 each –on their energy bills. Households are invited to register by April 8th, with energy suppliers vying for their business on April 9th.

the first 20 residents to sign-up for People Power at the Ribble Valley Borough Council Offices between Monday March 25th and Thursday the 28th will receive Warm Homes Healthy People goody bags featuring electric blankets, fleece shawls, hats and gloves, flasks and thermos cups, nightlights, slippers vouchers, draft-proofing and radiator reflectors. Everyone thereafter will receive a host of giveaways, such as People Power fridge magnets and pens, and energy efficient light bulbs.

Warm Homes Healthy People Warm Homes Healthy People, launched last winter by Ribble Valley Borough Council and the Department of Health, saw free winter warmer packs distributed to vulnerable households across the borough. Now the scheme, cited by the Government as an example of best practise, has been re-launched to include boiler replacements and repairs, gas supply and appliance safety checks, home heat loss checks with thermal imaging cameras, home energy checks with OWL monitors and loft and cavity wall insulation.

Ribble Valley Borough Council has reduced the energy bills and carbon footprint of its buildings, including Clitheroe Castle, by the installation of green technology, such as motion-sensory lighting and hand-dryers. Two of the council’s public loos, at Slaidburn and Ribchester, have also won national awards for being energy and water-efficient, with anti-vandal sensory taps and flushes, and energy-saving light bulbs.

Further details of People Power and Warm Homes Healthy People are available from Ribble Valley Borough Council on 01200 425111.