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Power cables to be buried in area of natural beauty

The energy giant UK Power Networks has decided to bury its power cables in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in east Kent.

The cables are essential for electricity supply, but putting them underground is extremely expensive. The decision has given fresh hope to campaigners trying to prevent a corridor of massive pylons being erected in the Valley of the Great Stour near Canterbury. John Ryall reports.

  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Bright future for solar investment?

The owners of a solar farm in Kent are offering local people the chance to invest in the scheme. It's an attempt to win round sceptics in Paddock Wood who might otherwise not be so keen on the idea of thousands of solar panels in a nearby field. But some in the area are still unconvinced including the town council.

David Johns reports, speaking to Solar Project Manager Mike Rogers, and Paddock Wood Town Councillor Sarah Hamilton.

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  1. Simon Harris

Gas plant could scupper estuary airport plans

Campaigners against one of the biggest and most expensive projects the south east has ever seen have an unexpected ally - a gas plant on the Isle of Grain in north Kent.

The plant has just secured a four-year deal to buy up to three million tonnes of liquefied natural gas which could secure the energy needs of three million British households.

But the plant is right in the middle of what could be Boris Johnson's new Thames Airport. And the possibility that the site could be demolished or relocated is being hailed as a nail in the coffin for the Mayor's plans.

Simon Harris has been looking at the arguments for and against.

Age UK's advice for rising energy bills

ITV News Meridian spoke to Mervyn Kohler from Age UK to get his advice for keeping warm as the colder weather approaches.

Age UK also recommend following these websites for help if you are struggling to stay warm with the rising energy bills:

The Energy Saving Advice Lane - [http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Organisations/

Government-and-local-programmes/Programmes-we-

deliver/Energy-Saving-Advice-Service

Age UK advice - http://www.ageuk.org.uk

The Home Heat headline- http://www.homeheathelpline.

org.uk/](http://www.homeheathelpline.org.uk/)

First of the 'big six' to increase energy bills

Scottish and Southern to increase energy prices Credit: ITV Meridian

Scottish and Southern Energy is the first of the 'big six' energy providers to announce it's going to charge customers more for gas and electric.

SSE says it's average bills will rise 8.2%. But, there are regional variations - the south and south east has been hit with a 9.7% increase.

Average bills will rise by £106 pounds a year to £1,380.

The company say much of the bills are made up of costs outside their control.

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Southampton Airport at forefront of energy saving measures

Southampton Airport is undertaking a ground-breaking project to improve lighting on the aircraft stands as well as reduce carbon emissions.

The airport will make savings of around £45,000 by installing Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting throughout the airport, cutting its electricity use by ten percent.

It is the first time LED technology has been used in this way at any UK airport.

The airport has replaced more than 70 per cent of its lighting with LED alternatives and also used solar powered technology across the airfield - cutting its electricity use by 10 per cent.

Improving the energy efficiency of the airport is a long term strategy. We’re committed to doing everything we can to manage the business as responsibly and efficiently as possible. The steps we’ve already taken demonstrate our commitment which we intend to build on into the future.”

– Dave Lees, Southampton Airport Managing Director

SSE stops cold calling

The energy company SSE has today announced it will stop making calls to potential customers.

The company's energy supply brands - Southern Electric, Scottish Hydro and SWALEC will only contact customers they have a relationship with or who have agreed permission.

SSE say their focus is now on ensuring that existing customers get the best possible products and customer service.

An Annual Energy Review will take place where an energy adviser ensures they are on the best tariff for their needs and advises on ways to reduce energy consumption.

Nobody likes receiving a sales call out of the blue and so we are stopping it. It doesn’t matter that other energy companies still do it, or other industries for that matter, cold calling is not something that a company like SSE - committed to providing an excellent customer experience - should be doing any longer. This decision to end unsolicited calls is part of becoming that company and demonstrates that we are dedicated to delivering what customers want.”

– Will Morris, Managing Director of SSE Group
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