Britain's Countryside Agency has launched an initiative to encourage rural communities to harness renewable energy. There are real opportunities for communities, rural entrepreneurs, and the environment to benefit from the government's drive on renewables, says Ewen Cameron from the agency. Its Community Renewables initiative "will bring new skills and livelihoods to the countryside and help people realise how they can link renewable energy to countryside activities, whether this is managing farm waste, heating new housing, harnessing local wind power, or developing new markets from farm woods." The initiative will focus on community partnerships which will look at ways of harnessing renewable energy in their areas. Three pilot projects are to be launched in the autumn. Local support teams will encourage groups such as farms, schools, housing developments, businesses, hospitals and community groups to develop renewables. It will provide support, training and advice-also on getting the finance together. Over the first three years, each team will have some £100,000 of central support, but will be expected to lever funds from outside sources. Community Renewables is supported by the Department of Trade & Industry, Forestry Commission, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Energy Saving Trust.
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