GREEN thinking Kirkburton councillors have secured a prestigious environmental award.
The eco-friendly parish council saw off a number of powerful entries from across the UK to take home the ‘Best Region’ prize at the 2008 Renewable Energy Awards in London.
The council, which has a number of Green Party members, was honoured for being the most active authority anywhere in the UK at encouraging the take-up of renewable energy.
Kirklees and Kirkburton council member, Andrew Cooper, said: “We have used new powers brought in by the Government in 2006 to encourage the use of renewable energy.
“Unfortunately the Government provided no guidance on how to use these powers so we produced our own nine point plan.
“We’ve established a model that can be used by any of the 10,000 parish councils in the country.
“We were up against some big regional development organisations so there was some stiff competition.
“We’ve now had our first installation at Burton Village Hall and we hope to help a variety of community organisations in the future.”
A spokesman for the British Renewable Energy Association, said: “Kirkburton Parish Council has put a new policy in place to promote micro-generation and energy conservation, making them the first Parish Council in the country to use new powers under the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006.
“This small parish appears to be doing more than our national government!”
Burton Village Hall, owned by the Kirkburton and Highburton Community Association, was the first community building to benefit from the parish council’s energy plan and is now running on energy generated by new solar panels.
Special display meters have also been fitted at the entrance of the hall, so that people can see how much energy the panels have produced.
Kirkburton Parish Council is also in the running for £1m Big Green Challenge prize.
Councillors will hear later this month whether they have got through to the final ten.
Finalists will be given up to £20,000 to help implement their ideas with the winner taking home the majority of a £1m prize fund.