AN INVENTOR has set up his own manufacturing process to make his new water-saving toilet flush device.

David Wilkes, of Calder Road, Mirfield, got a £45,000 grant from the Department of Trade and Industry, to go into production with Interflush.

The device, which is attached to the toilet cistern, allows people to control precisely the amount of water used in each flush.

The gadget took almost 10 years of development, and can save 45% of water used in a conventional cistern.

Mr Wilkes, 52, a former teacher at Thornhill High School, said: "An average household will save about 1,000 litres of water each fortnight.

"This saves pumping and water treatment costs as well as reductions in carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions."

The device is being given a trial by Kirklees Council.

If adopted on a national scale, the device could help to reduce CO², one of the gases most harmful to the environment.

It is estimated that the Interflush could save the UK more than 500,000m litres of water, 550m kwh of electricity and 250,000 tonnes of CO² emissions every year.

Mr Wilkes went into production himself, because of problems finding a manufacturer willing to go into partnership with him.

"If they can nick your idea they will do but will not pay any royalties," he claimed. "You can take out patent insurance but that is not guaranteed to pay out. The lone inventor is alone."

He was helped by his DTI Smart Money grant but had to pay consultants Corporate Ventures in Manchester, £5,000 to help him apply successfully for the £45,000.

"They were worth every penny. I got a grant but would not have done without a specialist team.

"The application was an inch thick. Anybody applying on their own has no chance. They put marbles under your feet.

"I succeeded because I employed specialists who know how to play marbles."

Mr Wilkes is launching the Interflush at London's British Invention Show, October 21-24.

He has also entered it in the Environment Agency's Water Award 2005 and is through to the second round of the Business Commitment to the Environment Award.