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Last Updated: Monday, 6 November 2006, 08:59 GMT
Climate change at heart of 'eco-town'
By Janey Doyle
BBC News, Oxfordshire

Lower Watts House
Liz Reason's energy efficient home is called Lower Watts House
Residents of Charlbury hope they have put it on track to become the most eco-friendly place in England.

They held a meeting last month to pool ideas on how they can collectively give Charlbury a sustainable environment.

Now, where for years the debate has been whether the Oxfordshire place is a town or a village, residents have switched to discussing saving energy.

One of the scheme's founders, Liz Reason, already boasts one of the most energy efficient homes in the country - it is so efficient, local Conservative MP, David Cameron, gained inspiration, on a recent visit, from the house for his own home improvements.

Mrs Reason puts the cosiness of her home down to being draft proof - there is no letter box in her front door, all skirting boards are painstakingly sealed to the floor and not a whistle of wind can get past her entry porch.

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A Charlbury resident for 15 years, she says "Sustainable Charlbury" is about changing the way people think.

Sat at her kitchen table, surrounded by energy saving light bulbs and information leaflets, she says: "There's no limit to the amount human beings can change their behaviour, we want people to think they can make a difference."

With her are three more of the Sustainable Charlbury scheme's founders, who are planning to set up a community interest company, and secure grants for the community's plans.

Proposals include a "light bulb library" - a supply of energy saving bulbs to supply the town which has no DIY store.

There are also proposals for a garden to produce fruit and veg and "bring-and-takes" to re-use belongings.

See how some of the 3,500 residents are working to make Charlbury sustainable.

Mrs Reason is also shunning the current fashion for cheap flights abroad. She has not flown since 1999 and has found alternative ways to travel.

Charlbury's primary school is next to Millennium Wood, the planned site for an organic garden, to supply residents and school lunches.

While Sustainable Charlbury has been warmly received by residents, the idea was first conceived by a nine-year-old.

Becky Landale put posters up, which read: "We should help the world and make Charlbury an eco-town."

Anthony and Margaret Landale and their daughters have pledged to give up flying, even though Mrs Landale has family in South Africa.




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