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Solar panels for shelters

INNOVATIVE wind and solar-powered shelters will soon be shielding Hyndburn commuters from the fierce winter weather.

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INNOVATIVE wind and solar-powered shelters will soon be shielding Hyndburn commuters from the fierce winter weather.

The two new shelters - the first in the county - will be erected at Church and Oswaldtwistle Railway Stat-ion, and will keep commuters warm and well-lit, entirely by renewable energy.

The exciting development comes from bright spark Richard Watts, a Lancashire County Council public transport expert.

His design has been patented by the county council which stands to make a fortune if it is used across the country.

He said: "It's an ideal use of green power. It helps the environment and keeps people safe and warm. We worked on the idea with a firm of architects. It just made sense as the technology already exists."

"If the shelters at Church and Oswaldtwistle are a success we will look at extending them to other stations, with priority being given to the Ribble Valley line."

Solar panels will be placed on the shelters' roofs to harness the sun's rays, and wind energy will be transferred from turbines and stored in the shelters' batteries.

The power will heat, light and run a "real time" electronic information system, which will provide travel information and updates.

Dave Hooper, First North Western's operations director, said: "We are firm supporters of advances in environmentally friendly technology and try to incorporate it into our business wherever possible."

"We're thrilled that the first of these green eco-shelters will be installed at a First North Western station and hope to see them at other station across our network in future."