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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:- 20 December 2013


WITH the Met Office predicting months of freezing winds and heavy snow, a warmth scheme in Southport is urging local residents to seek help if their heating is broken.

In the next week, temperatures are expected to plummet to as low as minus 4°C in parts of the country, while bitter northerly winds have already left many areas of Britain feeling the chill.

Given the predicted cold conditions, npower Health Through Warmth is encouraging local residents to repair or replace boilers or heating systems that are no longer working. The scheme helps eligible, vulnerable homeowners to access funding and arrange the installation of heating and insulation measures that they can't afford themselves.

Elaine Midwinter, npower Health Through Warmth scheme manager, said:- "As the Big Freeze hits, we are expecting residents to experience more boiler breakdowns and we would encourage people to get in touch with us – we may be able to help. From helping to fix or replace broken heating systems, to ensuring homes are adequately insulated, npower Health Through Warmth may be able to help vulnerable residents with long term illnesses to improve their levels of comfort and warmth."

Help from npower Health Through Warmth may be available to any vulnerable homeowners who have a long term, cold-related illness, a low income with little or no savings and who are unable to fully fund measures, such as a new boiler or heating system. You do not have to be, or become, an npower customer to benefit from the scheme.

Since the scheme was founded in 2000, more than 81,000 vulnerable residents in England and Wales have been referred to npower Health Through Warmth for aid with heating and insulation. More than £65million has been levered to help fund the work required, which includes £1.8million from charitable organisations. In addition, over £8.8million has been contributed from the npower Health Through Warmth Crisis Fund.

For more information about npower Health Through Warmth's eligibility criteria, or to apply for help, please visit:-

CLA calls for sky lantern ban through stricter entertainment licences

THE CLA in the North is appealing for local authorities in the region to ban the use of sky lanterns through stricter controls on entertainment licences.

With the festive season, and New Year's Eve in particular, inviting an upsurge in use, the CLA fears that it is only a matter of time before there is a serious accident.

The Association is urging local Councils to amend their entertainment licence policy so that all new licences granted for a venue or an event include a clause prohibiting the use of sky lanterns.

CLA North Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said:- "Sky lanterns are serious fire hazards, they also endanger the lives of
grazing livestock as well as other wildlife, and create unnecessary litter. Those releasing lanterns often have no idea of the hazard they pose, nor do they consider the implications of releasing a naked flame with absolutely no control over where it will land. Lanterns that land in fields can get chopped up when farmers mow for silage or hay, resulting in fragments of wire in the forage. Cows, which naturally tend to chew things to check them out, get the wire trapped in their gut, resulting in an agonising, slow death."

The Vale of White Horse District Council in Oxfordshire has added a condition to its entertainment licence policy prohibiting the use of sky lanterns. This has been backed up by a ban on Council-owned land.

Councillor Robert Sharp told the CLA that adding the banning clause meant the process is then implemented automatically upon licence renewal at no additional cost; with the whole district eventually being covered.

The Royal Parks have a similar ban in place; they search for, and confiscate, sky lanterns brought in by those attending events on their property.

Many countries have already banned the use of sky lanterns, including Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Spain Germany and parts of the USA.

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