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WATCH: Cumbria's award-winning businessman

Credit: ITV Border

A Cumbrian businessman has won a prestigious commendation from the energy industry for his work heating homes with unwanted wood.

Will Barden took the British Building Services gold award.

Paul Crone went to meet him.

A smarter way to cut energy bills

A group of older people in Dumfries and Galloway have been testing out a new system to help reduce there fuel bills. The smart sensor has been designed by experts at Heriot Watt University and the University of Strathclyde, and is a simple way to help the elderly keep an eye on their energy use


Energy saving street lamps light up Cumbria

13,000 street lights will be replaced with energy efficient bulbs Credit: Stephen Pond/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Cumbria County Council is replacing 13,000 street lights with new energy efficient LED bulbs.

The scheme will cost more than 7 and half million pounds but will save local tax payers almost half a million pounds a year.

Most major routes in Cumbria will benefit from the new lights which are brighter and more environmentally friendly.

"Technology has been improving over the years and where we've been able to keep pace with that we have done. Now the new LED systems have come into place they are much more efficient. Saving us about 200% efficiency on each light we replace so the next few years will start to see real savings."

– Cllr Keith Little, Cumbria County Council

Sellafield creates business opportunities in Cumbria

Sellafield has been promising to make it easier for local businesses to win contracts from the company.

George Beveridge, Deputy Managing Director at Sellafield, says terms and conditions have been simplified for small and medium companies.

He made the announcement at Cumbria Excellence Day, a special event that has been showcasing the success of the energy sector in West Cumbria.

MP Sleeps in Highest, Coldest Place

Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart will spend this Saturday night sleeping in one of the highest and coldest places in England to raise awareness of Cumbria Community Foundation’s Winter Warmth Appeal.

"Cumbria has some of the highest instances of fuel poverty in the country. Our traditionally built homes are difficult to heat and frequently off the mains gas grid, which make heating them very expensive.

"When your income is fixed, as is the case for many retired, elderly people, rises in energy bills can quickly become unaffordable, and the only choice left in the worst cases is to endure a cold home. It is completely unacceptable that an average of 300 people in Cumbria will die from the cold this Winter."

– Rory Stewart, MP Penrith & Border (Conservative)

He'll be joined by CCF's Chief Executive Andy Beeforth and supported by members of Penrith Mountain Rescue Team. They're hoping it will encourage people to sign up for a similar challenge 'The Big Sleep' in a field beside the Low Wood Hotel, Windermere, on Saturday 15 February.

This weekend, we’ll be ensuring the safety of these brave souls by accompanying them to England’s highest, coldest, stone-built bothy, over 2,700 feet up in the Pennines. It’s no mean feat as the temperature will be well below zero and winds have been recorded at 113mph. The exact location for this Saturday's sleep out is a closely guarded secret as we don't want to encourage people to head out onto the fells overnight in winter. Instead we’d say consider joining The Big Sleep - a much more civilised sleepover beside the Low Wood on February 15.

– John Whittle, Penrith Mountain Rescue Team

I’d like to say thank you to all our donors who have helped raise more than £52,000 to keep older people warm this winter. If you have your own camping gear and can bear the cold for one night to help raise even more money for older people, please join us for The Big Sleep on Saturday 15 February. We'll try to keep our minds off the weather by watching a family friendly film on an outdoor cinema screen. All the information you need and the names of the people who have already signed up are on our website or speak to Dan on 01900 825760.

– Andy Beeforth, Chief Executive of Cumbria Community Foundation

Around The House: Fuel poverty

Every winter, thousands of people die from the effects of living in cold homes.

The average dual fuel bill for gas and electricity is almost fourteen hundred pounds a year according to the energy regulator, Ofgem.

Now a campaign group, backed by 170 organisations, is calling on the Government to spend far more on making our homes energy efficient.

Watch Derek Proud's report for this month's Around The House:

You can see the studio debate on energy and fuel poverty below:


Around The House: What is the Middle Class?

The Chancellor predicts a "year of hard truths" while Labour Leader Ed Miliband says he will save the middle class.

Who are they really talking to, and which of them will sway the voters?

On this month's Around The House from Westminster, South Lakes Liberal Democrat Tim Farron joined Helen Ford and guests to discuss the economic choices facing us all.

Watch the full debate here:

Around The House: 11:35pm tonight

Topical discussion with the region's MPs Credit: ITV News Border

The impact of rising energy bills comes under the spotlight on tonight's edition of Around The House.

Plus, the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron is among a panel of politicians discussing the recent floods. He is joined by Skipton and Ripon's Julian Smith and the North Durham MP Kevan Jones.

Join Helen Ford and guests at 11:35pm tonight.

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