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Top tips: How to make the biggest energy savings

Turn off to save money Credit: PA Pictures

According to the Energy Saving Trust here in the Midlands we could make big savings on our energy bills. Here's their tips on how

Standby Savers - There here are a number of products available to help cut down your standby electricity consumption, such as standby savers that allow you to easily turn all of your appliances off from standby without having to reach for the plug.

Televisions and games consoles are now among the primary sources of our everyday entertainment, yet when left on permanent standby they are costing us £45-80 a year. Check your appliances regularly and switch your supplier to take control of your bills.

Cold appliances - Is your fridge-freezer 15 years or older? If it is, then the chances are that it could be using more electricity than required. As fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers are switched on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it could be worth finding models that are more energy efficient and will save you money on electricity bills. Tenants can ask their landlord to buy a newer model if the current one is faulty or not performing efficiently. If it's not possible to replace the model, then the following tips and advice can help save money on refrigeration:

o Make sure the back of your fridge-freezer is ventilated and dust free - dusting should be done at least once a year to keep it running efficiently;

o Make sure the fridge-freezer is out of direct sunlight from outside or other sources of heat from inside the home, such as your oven or boiler;

o Make sure the door seal is not damaged

o Check that it is cycling on and off as it should - ideally you should only be able to hear your fridge or freezer running 30-40% of the time; and

o Don't keep the fridge-freezer doors open longer than necessary.

Lighting - Lighting is a vital aspect of any home, especially during the darker winter evenings. Lighting makes up 16 per cent of household electricity consumption. By turning off the lights when they're not needed you could save around £7 a year. If households want to go further, replacing all the remaining old-fashioned bulbs with CFLs and all the halogens with LEDs could typically save around £45 a year.

Switching off could save Midlanders millions

Turn off to save money Credit: PA Pictures

Research has found that West Midlanders could save £138 million just by turning off appliances rather than leaving them on standby.

74% of people living in the West Midlands are worried about energy bills but yet only half of households who received an unexpectedly high energy bills check if unused appliances are turned off. That's according to the energy saving trust. They also say three quarters of people in the region who have a spare TV leave it on standby.

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Grand Designs show promotes a greener way of living

This year the show has a distinctively green theme. Credit: ITV News Central
Visitors are being encouraged to grow their own food. Credit: ITV News Central
The idea of keeping your own chickens was proving popular with guests. Credit: ITV News Central
Furniture made from ordinary household objects was also on show. Credit: ITV News Central

Over 150 exhibitors showcase local produce at food festival

11th annual food festival taking place in Melton Mowbray. Credit: ITV News Central
It is one of the UK's largest regional food festivals. Credit: ITV News Central
Both food and drink are available to sample. Credit: ITV News Central
Local produce is on offer for over 10,000 visitors. Credit: ITV News Central

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Curry house fined for using beef in lamb curries

A curry house has been ordered to pay more than £3,000 in fines and costs after admitting to sneaking beef into lamb curries in a bid to save cash.

Undercover trading standards officers bought a lamb madras on two separate visits to Massala Bite Ltd in New Road, Rubery - but lab tests revealed they contained no lamb at all, just beef.

The Massala restaurant in New Road, Rubery Credit: Google Maps

The company was ordered to pay a total of £3,489 in fines, costs, and a victim surcharge at Redditch Magistrates Court.

Councillor Mark Bullivant, chairman of Worcestershire Regulatory Services, said:

The company said it had limited finances and therefore had used the cheaper meat.

The menus had not been amended for the same reason although staff had been told to advise customers of the use of beef instead of lamb – although no such advice was given to trading standards officers during their two visits.

Our professional officers are committed to ensuring that food is honestly and accurately described and will continue to take formal action where the law is flouted.

– Councillor Mark Bullivant, Worcestershire Regulatory Services
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Roadworks cause major downturn in trade at Northampton shops

Shop managers in Northampton are demanding answers after reporting they have lost up to 70 percent of trade during recent roadworks.

Businesses on Derngate Road say they hav been hit hard by road closures which Northamptonshire County Council insists are necessary to ease congestion and provide a more attractive entrance to the town.

Victoria Leggett reports.

Bin strikes in Birmingham

Collections are expected to be disrupted today because of a row over conditions. Credit: ITV News Central

Bin collections in Birmingham are expected to be disrupted today because of a strike by refuse collectors and street cleaners.

Around sixty members of the Unite Union are refusing to work overtime this week and will also stop working for four hours today.

Workers are unhappy over new terms and conditions, as well as the way council is using agency staff, rather than employing people permanently.

Birmingham City Council have said they have held talks with representatives from Unite, but have not been able to reach an agreement over terms and conditions for staff.

"We expect there will be some disruption to services. Residents are asked to put our their refuse and recycling as usual. If it is not collected, we would ask that people take any uncollected bags, boxes and bins back onto their properties, and to present them again when their next scheduled collection is due (one week's time for refuse and two weeks' time for recycling).

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and would like to reassure residents we are doing everything possible to resolve the issues relating to the dispute."

– Birmingham City Council spokesperson

Further strike action is expected to take place this Friday (15 August).

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