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Nationally important Tap into Savings project launched in Surrey

* Tap_into_Savings.jpg

Earlier today, what is thought to be the UK's biggest water and energy saving project - Tap into Savings - was launched in Redhill, Surrey.

The Tap into Savings community initiative will help people in nearly 1,000 homes in Redhill and Merstham save water and energy, as well as money on their household bills.

Tap into Savings will also be delivered in two other areas in the UK - the Midlands and East Anglia - and will jointly involve more than 10,000 people. Results will be evaluated and announced later this year.

A recent Tap into Savings survey, in Redhill and Merstham, found that more than half of the residents involved (54%) are worried about paying their energy bills. The majority of residents surveyed also say that they are already taking steps to save water and energy, but many would like to do more. Tap into Savings will help people achieve that aim - and, by making savings today, they'll improve the environment of tomorrow.

"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to help residents save water and energy by encouraging small changes in their behaviour and installing products in homes," explained Joanne Zygmunt of Waterwise, who is leading the Tap into Savings project team.

"Tap into Savings will help us all live more efficiently in both environmental and monetary terms."

Officially launching Tap into Savings at The Belfry Centre in Redhill, Peter Ainsworth MP, 2009 Environmental Parliamentarian of the Year, 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."

The Tap into Savings survey revealed that many local residents already save resources. For example:
* 58% of people regularly turn off the tap when cleaning their teeth
* 77% of people hardly ever leave the tap running when washing dishes
* 66% of people hardly ever boil more water than they need in the kettle
* 85% of people recycle regularly

It also revealed that 46% aim to do more to help the environment in the future. Tap into Savings will help them do that, by saving more efficiently and effectively.

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

The Tap into Savings initiative in Surrey is focused on 600 selected Raven homes in the Redhill and Merstham area and also involves 350 private homes within the Reigate & Banstead Borough Council area.

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 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 - neighbourhood groups of friends and relatives - to learn and develop ways of saving water and energy, wasting less and recycling more. Shoppers visiting the Belfry Centre today were made aware of Tap into Savings and EcoTeams through various competitions, free information and awareness displays. The launch activity continues tomorrow (Saturday, 10am - 4pm).

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 Surrey pilot scheme for Tap into Savings undertaken in 2007/08 - the Preston Water Efficiency Initiative, in Tadworth near Banstead - achieved savings of almost 15% in household water usage.

"This is a forward-thinking initiative that has obvious benefits in our everyday lives and I urge local residents to support Tap into Savings by joining a neighbourhood EcoTeam, and making worthwhile savings for everyone concerned," added Cllr Julian Ellacott, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council's Executive Member for Environment.


12th February 2010

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