THE Chairman of a parliamentary science committee has heralded Oxford for ‘leading the way nationally’ on decarbonising the economy.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb, who heads the Science and Technology Committee, also praised the wider county over its action on the climate crisis, during a tour of Osney Lock Hydro yeterday.

Mr Lamb went to the community-owned power station on Osney Island to learn about 'smart grid trial' Project Local Energy Oxfordshire (LEO).

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Described as 'one of the most ambitious, wide-ranging, innovative, and holistic smart grid trials ever conducted in the UK', the £40 million project tests electricity network flexibility models and markets across Oxfordshire, as well as various other eco-friendly schemes.

‘Massively applauding' the Oxfordshire public’s action, Mr Lamb said: “Oxford clearly is leading the way in this nationally and it is immensely impressive – other areas can learn from this.

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"We need to look at what incentives are necessary from government to get other areas to do this sort of thing."

His committee is looking into technologies needed to deliver the government's net zero carbon target by 2050.

Mr Lamb said: "A few weeks ago (I found out) about this initiative in Oxford and was fascinated to find out more.

"I think part of the solution of how we decarbonise our whole economy will come down to local action.

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"(We need to) move away from a reliance on big generating stations and and generate a lot of our electricity locally on a small scale."

The committee will produce a report this year making a series of recommendations on to how to meet the new net zero target.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) and Low Carbon Hub hosted the tour, which highlighted the advantages of projects like the station, which is participating in the scheme.

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Its 200 local community investors, who founded it in 2013, receive a four a per cent profit on their money, which helps fund local energy.

It has also just received a £9,900 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant for a heritage project to support a series of community based arts projects celebrating the links between energy generation in West Oxford, and the local and global environment.

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Barbara Hammond, Low Carbon Hub CEO said: “The drive for decarbonisation provides us with the opportunity to change the way individuals interact with our energy system, enabling people to transition from being passive consumers to active energy citizens.

"It's a great example of how a local people can work together for the benefit of the local community and global environment. Through Project LEO we hope to be able to support many more community energy projects.”

Stewart Reid, Head of Future Networks at SSEN, added: “SSEN strongly supports the net zero target and we are actively working to better understand how the transition to a low-carbon economy can be managed in a manner that mitigates risks and maximises opportunities."