A GREEN pressure group has expressed its delight at news it will receive a £500,000 Government grant.

Low Carbon Hook Norton will help people in the village use the six-figure sum to promote sustainable energy use.

The village will become one of the greenest communities in the UK because of the award, which saw it named as one of 22 projects across England to receive a share of £10m from the Government’s Low Carbon Community Challenge scheme.

Villagers set up Low Carbon Hook Norton in February 2008, and the money will be used to pay for a range of measures to reduce the village’s carbon footprint.

At the centre of the project is Hook Norton CofE Primary School, where £200,000 of work will be carried out.

Solar panels will be installed on the roof and used to power classroom equipment and two community electric pool cars, which will be based at the school and available for anyone in the village to use.

The school will also install a ground source heat pump — a piece of equipment that extracts heat from the ground — and use it to heat classrooms.

Dr Tim Lunel, of Low Carbon Hook Norton, said: “This is incredibly exciting. The whole community has been talking about doing these things for a while.

“We thought it would take 10 years to make these sort of changes, but now we have the money we can achieve it much sooner than we thought.

“As a result, Hook Norton is poised to become one of the greenest villages in the UK.

“This project was born from a group of people who wanted to do something to respond to climate change.

“First, we all looked at our own energy use and tackled that by doing easy things like changing lightbulbs and turning off lights.

“Then we moved on to bigger projects like loft installation and solar panels to heat hot water.

“Now we want to move on to much bigger things like putting photovoltaic panels on to the roof of the primary school to generate electricity and having electric pool cars for the community to use.”

Hook Norton Brewery will be the base for a biodiesel tank, where members of the community can fill up their cars on biodiesel — fuel that has been converted from waste chip fat oil.

Some of the money will be used to provide interest-free loans of up to £20,000, which will enable householders to insulate their lofts and install solar panels.

Brewery retail manager Duncan Collins said: “It’s very pleasing that the tank will be based here.”

Hook Norton Primary School business manager Hazel Hope said: “We are already a green flag school, which demonstrates we have acted to reduce our energy consumption, but the plan is to install some solar panels and a ground source heat pump so we can use renewable energy sources for electricity and heating.

“The children are very excited — it’s a big project and they have all been learning about the environment in class.”