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Issue Date:- 11 February 2008


DESPITE increasing pressure to go green, new research by Southern Electric shows many Britons remain unconvinced that they can afford to live greener lives. 

The Southern Electric survey reveals that half of people in the North West think the environment is of vital importance and 85% are willing to consider lifestyle changes to save energy within the next 10 years.

The majority also believes that making greener choices as a consumer involves spending more money; and across the UK, lack of money is cited as the main reason for not making changes to save energy at home.

Independent financial expert and TV money man, Alvin Hall, says:- “The Southern Electric research suggests that, while people ‘talk the talk’ on green issues, few ‘walk the walk’ and many use money as an excuse. Some green products do cost a premium but helping to save the planet doesn’t have to break the bank or be a chore. In fact, the average home can actually save around £300 a year by simply being more energy efficient.  Home insulation, energy saving appliances and cutting down on energy consumption all help and will lead to cheaper energy bills in the long run as well as benefiting the environment.”

Southern Electric is the 1st energy company to actively encourage customers to cut back on energy use through ‘better plan’, its unique green energy product. ‘better plan’ is a home energy service that pays customers to cut their bills – giving bonuses, discounts and cash credits for using less energy . The cash credits are then applied as a reduction to the customers’ energy bills.

Ray Smethurst, ‘better plan’ programme manager, says:- “Households account for a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions, so together we can all make a different to the environment by making our homes greener. And far from costing you more, people can actually make money by signing up to ‘better plan’.  It may seem odd for a company to be encouraging customers to consume less of its core product, but we believe it is the only way forward that is sustainable for our business and for society as a whole”.

Southern Electric launchedbetter planas part of its commitment to work in partnership with its customers to help them reduce their energy use and to create a more sustainable level of energy consumption across the country.


MERSEYSIDE Police are becoming increasingly concerned over the welfare of a heavily pregnant woman who has gone missing from a local hospital.  Click here to see CCTV images of the missing woman.

The woman admitted herself to Southport hospital in the early hours of  Sunday, 10 February 2008, where she was examined by hospital staff who found her to be in the early stages of labor.

The woman left the hospital just after 2.30am GMT without advising anyone as to where she was going.

The woman is described as being white, 25 to 30 years of age, 5 ft 6 in tall with shoulder length blonde hair.

When giving her details to hospital staff the woman said she was from the Manchester area.

She was wearing a white top, sleeveless jacket, black trousers and white trainers.

Police are appealing to the woman, or anyone who knows her or has information about her to contact them on 0151 777 3960.

WRC class honours for rookie co-driver 1
Report by Joanna Boyes at Jardine International

THE Daily Telegraph journalist Franca Davenport, co-driving for Liverpool born Tony Jardine, finished 41st overall and second in class N3 on her fifth ever rally and her World Rally Championship (WRC) debut. The Castrol / Daily Telegraph team battled against the lack of snow, constantly changing road conditions and limited visibility in the Uddeholm Swedish Rally held over 7 February 2008 to 10 February 2008.

The media duo have experienced some hair-raising moments including a spin on stage four on Friday morning which resulted in them becoming stuck nose down in a ditch. Fortunately an army of spectators came to the rescue and the pair were quickly back on track. On the same stage, Sébastien Loeb rolled his car causing damage which ultimately led to his retirement from the rally after stage 11 on Saturday 10 February 2008. Jardine and Davenport passed the upturned car of Loeb, setting a faster stage time despite the fact that Loeb continued to finish the stage.

The drama continued on stage six with Jardine hitting a snow bank, as they took off over a jump, causing the car to turn sideways in the air. However Jardine quickly regained control of the Ford Fiesta and the Castrol crew carried on to claim the second fastest time in his class, just one minute and 34 seconds behind the leader, Lasse Storm.

Thousands of spectators turned out to watch the rally live and gave the event, which is described by people who live locally as a folk fest, a party atmosphere. On several stages the pair struggled for visibility in what they thought was dense fog although this proved to be smoke from the bonfires and barbeques that lined the route of the rally. The vast number of spectators included many British fans, a number of which made it to the service park to support the Castrol team. One area which was particularly popular with spectators was Colin’s Crest, a section of the Vargasen stage which is dedicated to the memory of the late Colin McRae who won the Swedish Rally four times. Davenport and Jardine, competing in the only Ford Fiesta in the rally, were confronted with constantly changing road surfaces from mud to ice and snow. Davenport stayed focused throughout the event never missing a beat with the pace notes and, in the style of a seasoned navigator, provided Jardine with extra warnings of expected icy tracks under tree cover.

Jardine said:- “Franca has done a fantastic job in her first ever World Rally Championship event. Its incredible how quickly she has been able to adapt and step-up to WRC level following her run of national events last year, as shown by her 100% finishing record. We were expecting more snow for the rally, but haven’t been disappointed by the stages, it has been a real mix of conditions. We are also planning to frame the time sheet from stage four which shows us as having a quicker time than Sébastien Loeb!”

Davenport said:- “It’s been a fantastic experience competing against the world’s best. We had some scary moments on the stages but Tony has been great in helping me to achieve my goal of completing this rally. Tony drove amazingly well especially considering these unique conditions. Also it was great to meet one of the top WRC drivers Petter Solberg at the remote service in Hagfors. It was a big challenge and it is a great feeling to have finished this difficult event.”

ProSpeed Motorsport, who run and prepare the Castrol car for the Jardine team, had to make few repairs to the Fiesta during the event as it withstood the harsh conditions of the Swedish Rally.

The Castrol / Daily Telegraph team also managed to complete the three day rally on just ten spiked tyres without a single puncture. Team boss Olly Marshall and supporting service crew member, McLaren SLR engineer Andy Beale, enjoyed the challenge of the daily remote services and commented that it encouraged the WRC and privateer teams to work on a level pegging.

Marshall said:- “Franca has been building up to a round of the WRC for a while now, and I’m really impressed with how well she has done here in Sweden. I’m sure we will be seeing more of Franca’s co-driving skills on future rallies.”

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