A PLAN to power a West Oxford neighbourhood using wind, sun and river power was last night given the thumbs-up by the Government.

Dozens of homes could use electricity from generators at Osney Weir, solar panels on buildings and wind turbines perched on Cumnor and Harcourt Hills.

Local people have set up West Oxford Community Renewables (WOCR) which is aiming to raise £1.4m to fund the power project.

It was conjured up by victims of the 2007 floods and the Government yesterday said it was impressed by how the community had got stuck in and made things happen.

Lois Muddiman, of Harley Road, said: “We thought the floods, right on our doorstep, were definitely due to climate change, and we had better do something about it.”

Now the company has started selling £1 shares in blocks of 10, 250, 1,000, or 20,000 to finance renewable green energy schemes.

It plans to sell the energy to the National Grid, with profits ploughed back into the scheme for the first five years.

Ms Muddiman said: “There will be no financial return for five years, then we hope to pay out up to five per cent. And anyone can buy.”

Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, who lives in nearby North Hinksey, has bought £1,000 of shares. He said: “I bought shares because I think it’s a good cause, run by good people with good ideas, which to me are the ingredients of a good investment. It’s a long-term investment — not a donation — designed to meet a long-term challenge.”

It is hoped the company could initially supply enough electricity to power 112 of the 1,600 homes in the area, which stretches from the George pub in Botley Road to the railway bridge towards the centre of the city.

Ruth Mayne and Ms Muddiman, chairman of Low Carbon West Oxford (LCWO) which spearheaded the company, yesterday met Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street.

And Ed Milliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, hoped other communities across the country would follow the lead.

He said: “Local solutions to the global problem of climate change are vital if we are to make the shift to a cleaner, greener future. LCWO is a great example: they’ve come to grips with the issue, developed local action plans, and then simply got stuck in and made things happen.

“We want to see similar community projects across the country. Last week, the Government outlined what steps we will take to reduce emissions under our UK Low Carbon Transition Plan.

“It’s heartening to see that groups such as LCWO, with its enthusiasm and initiative, are already leading the way. They may also benefit financially from the clean energy cashback schemes which will begin next year.”

Mr Milliband is expected to attend a public meeting at Oxford Town Hall, organised by Friends of the Earth, to discuss the Government plans to tackle carbon emmissions.

Meanwhile, LCWO is in the final 10 for a £1m National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts competition prize.