RESIDENTS on a Barry estate have had new light shone on proposals to get solar panels installed in the community to offset rising fuel costs.

The Gibbonsdown Residents Association earlier this month appealed for the Vale Council to consider the environmental solution for the estate to help tackle poverty and assist in heating homes and powering community facilities.

Vale MP Alun Cairns and Vale AM Jane Hutt have expressed support for the idea.

Gibbonsdown Residents Association chairwoman, Molly Conway said the United Nations had recently been saying people had to change their thinking.

She said: “Councils have to be forward thinking and start looking at renewable energy.

“It would be a good move to help with the deprivation on the estate – for the young mums and families. It would mean warmth for the elderly and children and put more money in their pockets.

“We read about food banks which are a disgrace in this age. We are in 2014.

“The Vale Council needs to be more forward thinking regarding renewable energy.”

Vale Council head of housing services, Hayley Selway said no decisions had been made in terms of the regeneration issues associated with the Gibbonsdown estate, but added: “The potential for solar panels have not been ruled out but at this stage we have no cost information. We are keen to support our tenants and residents in combating fuel poverty, and anticipate that any regeneration funding gained for the Gibbonsdown estate will be used to support this.”

Vale MP Alun Cairns said a solar panel initiative sounded excellent and he would do all he could to support.

“This sounds like and excellent initiative and I will do all I can to support.

He said: “It is a tangible way of introducing long term benefits to individuals and families in Gibbonsdown. I often receive complaints about solar panels being sited on farmland but this is a perfect example of a community coming together to make best use of resources over the long term.

“It shows me that when local communities are put in charge, they can come up with the most innovative and exciting ideas possible.

“This would be much more beneficial than so much money being spent on trees. It is environmental and cost saving at the same time.”

Vale AM Jane Hutt added: “It is important that Gibbonsdown residents have given their views on the needs and priorities of their community including making their homes more energy efficient. Tackling fuel poverty is a priority and I hope a way forward can be found to respond to these needs."

Vale Council cabinet member for environment and visible services, council biodiversity champion and Gibbonsdown ward member, Cllr Rob Curtis had not replied at the time of going to press.