Energy expert's capital award

PUBLISHED: 10:01 30 January 2010 | UPDATED: 11:39 25 May 2010

WESTON Town Hall's energy expert has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

WESTON Town Hall's energy expert has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

Steve Hodges was given the honour in recognition of 30 years of cutting utility power use in public buildings.

The 56-year-old North Somerset Council officer says he has saved the authority tens of thousands of pounds over the past seven years.

Father-of-two Steve said: "I'm happy that my years of hard work have been recognised like this.

"I've been trying to save money for local authorities for almost three decades and it's really the culmination of that."

During his time working for the unitary authority, Steve has made Weston Town Hall the first in the country to use sheep's wool insulation.

He says it is an inexpensive, natural, British and green way to keep the building warm.

A solar powered boiler has also been installed as an environmentally-friendly alternative to the traditional method, while another of his projects has been to change thousands of council building light bulbs to energy efficient versions.

The 56-year-old, of Coleford, Gloucestershire, said: "If we can have something that's better for the environment and saves money, as far as I'm concerned we should do it.

"It's better for the world and better for taxpayers."

Freedom of the City of London is one of the oldest surviving traditions, with the first said to have been presented in 1237.

Traditionally, freemen were allowed to earn money and own land, but one of the more peculiar privileges is the right to drive sheep over London Bridge, which Steve plans to do with borrowed animals this summer.

At January's full meeting of North Somerset Council, chief executive Graham Turner said: "This is the first and probably last time that I will have to make such an announcement, but it is a pleasure to have to do so.

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