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Airbricks, Flooding and Cavity Wall Insulation

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 6 January 2016 at 4:45 pm

Airbricks, Flooding and Cavity Wall Insulation

Airbricks are hollow, vented blocks that are placed into walls to allow for air circulation in the subfloor of houses with suspended timber floor. This air circulation is designed to prevent the underfloor space becoming damp and stale. Damp problems can occur if airbricks are blocked, flooded, c…

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How much will V2G cost and when, where and who will make it happen?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 January 2016 at 12:30 pm

How much will V2G cost and when, where and who will make it happen?

  Vehicle 2 Grid (V2G) could be happening sooner than we had anticipated. Nissan and energy powerhouse Enel announced at the Paris climate change summit (COP21) that they have teamed up to test trial a V2G system in Denmark.[1] The V2G system will integrate electric vehicles (EVs) and th…

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What agreement was reached at the COP21 UN Climate Change Summit?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 30 December 2015 at 10:40 am

What agreement was reached at the COP21 UN Climate Change Summit?

On Saturday 12th December 2015, as the climate conference in Paris came to a close, one day later than planned, many people sighed with relief that finally an agreement had been reached. The outcome: A commitment to aim to hold global warming to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels …

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Santa's top 7 festive green tips

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 21 December 2015 at 9:30 am

Santa's top 7 festive green tips

Santa's gone green this Christmas. Here, hot off the press, are his 7 top festive green tips: 1. People are an energy source - no not like in the Matrix! Have a party, enjoy yourself in the comfort of knowing all those extra bodies are warming your house for free. 2. Use energy effici…

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Biomass RHI will drop to 5.14p/kWh on 1 Jan 2016

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 18 December 2015 at 10:30 am

Biomass RHI will drop to 5.14p/kWh on 1 Jan 2016

The Renewable Heat Payment for Biomass boilers and stoves is due to reduce by 20% on 1st January 2016. This is inline with OFGEM expectations. The RHI is funded by general taxation and therefore the scheme budget is set at each Government Spending Review.  The expenditure is controlled v…

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Will installing solar panels lead to a leaking roof?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 18 December 2015 at 10:15 am

Will installing solar panels lead to a leaking roof?

There are a number of ways to secure solar PV panels to a roof. Certified fixings, properly installed using approved tried and tested methods, will secure the panels to your roof without causing leaks. However, do ensure the installer you choose ticks all these boxes before proceeding. Installing…

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Feed-in Tariff for Solar PV to be cut to 4.39p/KWh, not 1.63p

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 17 December 2015 at 3:42 pm

Feed-in Tariff for Solar PV to be cut to 4.39p/KWh, not 1.63p

The government has heeded the overwhelming responses against the proposed cuts to the Feed in Tariff (FiT) payments. As of the 8 Feb 2016 domestic solar PV installations up to 10kW in will receive a generation tariff of 4.39 p/kWh. While this is significantly higher than the previously proposed 1…

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What are the pros and cons of living off-grid?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 17 December 2015 at 10:30 am

What are the pros and cons of living off-grid?

  What is living off-grid? In the simplest sense living off-grid is a life-style choice where you make yourself less dependent on public utilities and national infrastructure such as electricity, gas, water, sewage, phone and internet lines.  Why would you want to live …

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Christmas Crackers - 7 festive energy saving jokes

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 16 December 2015 at 11:15 am

Christmas Crackers - 7 festive energy saving jokes

I stole solar panels off my neighbours’ roof this morning. It was daylight robbery.   Wind turbines. I'm a big fan.   Many scientists agree the only way to solve the planet's worsening energy crisis is for the whole world to convert to solar…

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Where do your solar PV panels come from?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 December 2015 at 10:15 am

Where do your solar PV panels come from?

I could ask a few more questions about this, such as ‘is it more important to you that they are cheap or that they are made in Europe?’, ‘do you worry that Chinese production will mean the closure of EU PV manufacturing plant?’, ‘are you concerned that panels which s…

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Does your home's energy efficiency influence its price and salability?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 14 December 2015 at 12:30 pm

Does your home's energy efficiency influence its price and salability?

It’s difficult to know how much energy efficiency measures or renewable energy technologies make a difference to the sale price of your home.  There is some evidence that better insulated homes or those with renewables can command more in an open market, but the facts aren’t clea…

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Government consults installers on lifting VAT to 20% on energy saving products

Posted by Gordon Glass on 11 December 2015 at 3:50 pm

Government consults installers on lifting VAT to 20% on energy saving products

The government has just launched a consultation related to a possible hike in VAT from 5% to 20% for a number of energy saving and renewable energy products. Any companies who supply and/or install such products into residential accommodation are invited to respond. As we wrote back in June, …

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Should I cut down a tree shading my roof to make way for solar panels?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 10 December 2015 at 2:15 pm

Should I cut down a tree shading my roof to make way for solar panels?

Solar panels and trees aren’t always the best of companions. Branches and leaves may cast shade over your panels reducing their efficiency. This is an interesting moral dilemma. On one hand you have the benefits of reducing your carbon footprint by switching to solar power. On the other…

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How to calculate how much carbon dioxide your tree has taken from the atmosphere

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 9 December 2015 at 2:05 pm

How to calculate how much carbon dioxide your tree has taken from the atmosphere

The amount of mass that is carbon within a tree is approximately 50%. To calculate how much CO2 this represents, times your carbon by 3.6. Now to the hard bit - WARNING - this involves maths! Calculating the amount of carbon sequested by a tree is a tricky business - the species, location and…

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One little girls dream to be a sustainability ninja

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 7 December 2015 at 10:20 am

One little girls dream to be a sustainability ninja

Sara Rickards gives a talk as a clean, green, carbon reducing, cost-cutting machine. Aside from being really quite adorable in living in her childhood dream of being a ninja she explains how were are consuming resources 50% faster than the Earth can regenerate. If we all lived as we do in the UK …

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Could liquid air energy storage address periods of over-supply from renewables?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 4 December 2015 at 1:10 pm

Could liquid air energy storage address periods of over-supply from renewables?

One of our readers recently responded to our blog on "When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?" with the following email: Dear YouGen, Regarding your article about the National Grid being unable to absorb excess power generated by renewable source…

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David Mackay delivers a renewables reality check

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 3 December 2015 at 3:40 pm

David Mackay delivers a renewables reality check

In a fascinating and inspiring TED (Technology, Enertainment, Design) talk David Mackay, an engineer and physicist at Cambridge University, talks us through how much space would be needed to power the entire UK as stands (with its petrol cars, gas boilers, electricity from coal etc) from renewabl…

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UN Climate Change Summit targets legally binding agreement limiting emissions

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 30 November 2015 at 10:05 am

UN Climate Change Summit targets legally binding agreement limiting emissions

The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as the UN climate change summit or COP 21, starts today (30 Nov 2015) in Paris. What is the aim of COP 21? The conference will bring together governments from 19…

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Will V2G solve the problem of storing solar electricity?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 26 November 2015 at 12:05 pm

Will V2G solve the problem of storing solar electricity?

Vehicle to grid (V2G): There are about 43,000 electric vehicles on the road in the UK and that number is set to reach one million around 2020. [1,2] With the expectation of smart meters in every home by 2020, the market looks ripe for the growth of V2G systems. A V2G system combines energy ma…

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Can I move my solar panels to my new home and keep the Feed-in Tariff?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 25 November 2015 at 11:05 am

Can I move my solar panels to my new home and keep the Feed-in Tariff?

Q. Can I move my solar panels to my new house and keep my Feed-in Tariff (FiT)? A.  No. Any PV (Photovoltaic) system under 50 kWp that is transferred to another property would be treated as “second-hand” and would not be eligible for the FiT. When a property is sold PV system…

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55,000 responses to Feed-in Tariff consultation, 2600 unique and detailed

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 24 November 2015 at 10:15 am

55,000 responses to Feed-in Tariff consultation, 2600 unique and detailed

The Government response to the Feed-In Tariff consultation is now going to be published ‘in due course’. Andrea Leadsom, Minister of State at DECC, confirmed that the consultation which was launched on 27th August and closed on 23rd October had received nearly 55,000 responses.  …

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200 posts to go at DECC. What next for renewables from the spending review?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 23 November 2015 at 11:30 am

200 posts to go at DECC. What next for renewables from the spending review?

Are you looking forward to the spending review on Wednesday? Do you think there will be anything positive for energy efficiency or renewables?  Many of us are thinking the opposite. The only way this can go for Climate Change, is badly. We all know that we are living in an age of austeri…

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Should I buy a solar PV system now?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 20 November 2015 at 2:30 pm

Should I buy a solar PV system now?

The answer is yes, absolutely, but you had better get moving.  With tariffs set to reduce or disappear altogether in the new year, you probably have until 31st December 2015 to get your system in and your application for Feed-in Tariff (FiTs) payments to your supplier. Your FiTs applicat…

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How can I avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at home?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 20 November 2015 at 12:15 pm

How can I avoid carbon monoxide poisoning at home?

We're in Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (16 - 22 Nov 2015. Left undetected, carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal or cause permanent damage to your health. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas with no smell or taste. It is produced through the incomplete burning of carbon fuels... Potential…

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When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 19 November 2015 at 11:34 am

When will the level playing field be ready for renewables to compete on?

The national grid is ill-equipped to deal with the intermittent supply of electricity from renewables. It was designed with energy production from fossil fuels in mind, leaving innovators and policy makers stuck with an ageing infrastructure which is costly to adapt. Of energy supply, Amber R…

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Is a more market sensitive Feed-in Tariff possible?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 18 November 2015 at 6:41 pm

Is a more market sensitive Feed-in Tariff possible?

As the green energy technology market continues to grow and develop, the policies and regulation surrounding them need to evolve. The introduction of smart meters in every home could make real-time pricing for both the selling and buying of energy become an intriguing and very real possibility. I…

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Britain on course to miss a key renewable energy target

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 13 November 2015 at 12:45 pm

Britain on course to miss a key renewable energy target

Britain is on course to miss a key renewable energy target according to Amber Rudd.  The Energy secretary has written to government colleagues to admit that we cannot meet the target and that we may incur the wrath of the EU if we don’t do more. We have a legally binding target to …

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With oil prices low, why go green?

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 13 November 2015 at 11:55 am

With oil prices low, why go green?

With oil prices low, why go green? Oil prices have hovered between $50 and $70 a barrel for the past year, and have fallen a further 10% in the last week alone.  The Financial Times has reported that it expects oil markets are likely to stay oversupplied until 2020.[1,2] These decreased …

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For 50% tax relief, invest in a community energy share issue now (offer ends 30 Nov 2015!)

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 11 November 2015 at 3:05 pm

For 50% tax relief, invest in a community energy share issue now (offer ends 30 Nov 2015!)

You will have noticed that we have recently been posting quite a bit of information about Community Energy.  These are schemes which are usually Community-led and often involve off-site energy generation.  Some focus more on energy efficiency, and often those which focus on generation s…

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Earthship Brighton is Crowdfunding

Posted by Jason Ramsdale on 10 November 2015 at 10:03 am

Earthship Brighton is Crowdfunding

Earthship Brighton, the off-grid eco-building project, is crowdfunding to increase its impact. If successful, the fundraising will provide improved Earthship facilities, allowing the coordinators to run eco-education events and natural building courses to even greater effect. The Low Carbon T…

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Home energy management systems: the future or a passing fad?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 9 November 2015 at 10:45 am

Home energy management systems: the future or a passing fad?

With the rising cost of energy and the ever-increasing demand, both you and your house have to get smart to keep bills down. Home energy management systems (HEMS) are devices that monitor, analyse and control energy in your home. HEMS first hit the market back 2008 and are on the rise. In Decembe…

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Concerns with the smart meters roll-out

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 6 November 2015 at 11:50 am

Concerns with the smart meters roll-out

In my previous blog I looked at the smart meter roll-out and how smart meters work. This blog will examine consumer privacy, prepayment customers and concerns with smart meters. Consumer privacy and prepayment customers You will have some control over how your energy consumption data is u…

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How smart are smart meters?

Posted by Sharon Russell-Verma on 3 November 2015 at 11:10 am

How smart are smart meters?

This autumn the official roll-out of smart meters across England, Wales and Scotland will begin, and it should be complete by 2020. Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They have in-home displays which help you keep track of the energy you use, and will cut out the …

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How can I store surplus electricity from my solar PV using batteries?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 29 October 2015 at 11:15 am

How can I store surplus electricity from my solar PV using batteries?

A domestic electricity store (ie. lithium-ion or lead-acid batteries) could be one way to make the most of the free clean electricity that you are generating from your solar PV panels. These batteries will be familiar to you – lead-acid is often used in car batteries and lithium-ion is used…

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What energy efficiency questions should I ask before signing up for a new conservatory?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 28 October 2015 at 10:15 am

What energy efficiency questions should I ask before signing up for a new conservatory?

Conservatories give you extra living space which is filled with natural light, but so often they are too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. So what do you need to know about the energy efficiency of a conservatory before you sign up for it? How energy efficient are the windows? Is …

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How can a conservatory cut your energy costs?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 27 October 2015 at 10:05 am

How can a conservatory cut your energy costs?

If your experience of conservatories is as spaces that are freezing in winter and heat traps in summer, you might be surprised to learn that they can actually help you save energy. A well-insulated conservatory maximises solar gain by trapping heat from the sun, and that heat can then warm th…

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YouGen responds to government consultation on solar Feed-in Tariffs

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 26 October 2015 at 2:45 pm

YouGen responds to government consultation on solar Feed-in Tariffs

Consultation on a review of the Feed-in Tariffs scheme Response on behalf of YouGen YouGen is a website which attracts over 550,000 users each year. The site provides information and advice on renewables and energy efficiency measures. It also provides a well-used recommendation service t…

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And the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund winners 2015 are....

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 22 October 2015 at 2:05 pm

And the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund winners 2015 are....

This year’s M&S Energy Community Energy Fund received over 600 registrations of interest and 246 projects were submitted. These were shortlisted to 132 projects which then went to a public vote. Over 51,000 votes were cast and the winners have now been announced. They include projec…

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Energy Envoys: what is in it for the young volunteer?

Posted by Alex Steeland on 22 October 2015 at 2:02 pm

Energy Envoys: what is in it for the young volunteer?

Up to 300,000 young people across the UK now have the opportunity to become an Energy Envoy in order to complete the Volunteering section of their Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The National Energy Foundation (NEF) has recently launched its Energy Envoys volunteering …

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Energy Envoys: Tackling the energy literacy gap

Posted by Alex Steeland on 20 October 2015 at 9:50 am

Energy Envoys: Tackling the energy literacy gap

The National Energy Foundation (NEF) recently launched its Energy Envoys volunteering scheme to help tackle the serious problem of the lack of understanding of energy issues and an inability to apply energy knowledge in practice. This blog is the second in a three-part series through which we…

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Energy Envoys: What is the energy literacy gap?

Posted by Alex Steeland on 19 October 2015 at 11:20 am

Energy Envoys: What is the energy literacy gap?

Last year the National Energy Foundation (NEF) commissioned a national energy literacy survey to find out how much the British public really knows about energy. The survey of 2,058 adults conducted by ComRes revealed troubling results and raised concerns that people think they know more about ene…

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Will more Right to Buy deliver more cosy, affordable, well maintained homes for all?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 16 October 2015 at 1:45 pm

Will more Right to Buy deliver more cosy, affordable, well maintained homes for all?

Yay! Now I can buy my own home. Well not so fast, wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on? Right to Buy (RTB) was introduced by Margaret Thatcher in 1980 and is now close to reaching the 2million homes mark. Defenders of the original policy will tell you how it has helped people…

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How to best spend your £12 Government Electricity Rebate? :-)

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 15 October 2015 at 11:05 am

How to best spend your £12 Government Electricity Rebate? :-)

I am writing this with my tongue slightly in my cheek, but I am wondering what you are going to spend your windfall on. I am sure that a rebate of any size will be welcomed by many and for some it could mean a free week or so of electricity use. However, what I really think is that £12 is n…

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Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 13 October 2015 at 9:45 am

Why are we so obsessed with the payback for Solar PV?

When we look at renewable electricity or heat generation the first consideration always seems to be the length of time that it will take for the technology to pay for itself. It makes sense: if you’re investing several thousand pounds you want to know that it will be worth it. But is it rig…

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Petition to get government to review its approach to the solar feed-in tariff. 24,000 signatures to date!

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 9 October 2015 at 2:45 pm

Petition to get government to review its approach to the solar feed-in tariff. 24,000 signatures to date!

Are you one of those incensed by the current consultation to review the Feed-in Tariff? Are you unhappy that the government is back tracking on its pledge to be the ‘greenest government ever’? Do you think the cuts are going too far? Are you wondering why they would cut solar subsidie…

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Energy Efficient Homes should be a national infrastructure priority

Posted by NEF Gordon on 9 October 2015 at 1:45 pm

Energy Efficient Homes should be a national infrastructure priority

New research shows a programme to make homes energy efficient should be a national infrastructure priority for Government.  The report explains that this could deliver economic benefits comparable to High Speed 2 Phase 1, Crossrail and new roads. The findings build on analysis from Cambr…

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Climate Energy and Mark Group go into administration

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 8 October 2015 at 12:15 pm

Climate Energy and Mark Group go into administration

Climate Energy today became the second Green Deal Provider to call in the administrators within 24 hours. The company grew quickly from 2001 and at its peak employed 160 people. The number of employees had already fallen to 128, but a further 30 people were made redundant yesterday. Yesterday…

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Predictable, renewable, is bioenergy the way forward?

Posted by Gabby Mallett on 7 October 2015 at 12:50 pm

Predictable, renewable, is bioenergy the way forward?

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Tim Miller at the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI), Aston University. Here is some of what I learned. The National Grid's announcement of an increased risk of blackouts this winter has resulted in buying in additional supplies being p…

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How do I make the most of my solar panels?

Posted by Helena Ripley on 2 October 2015 at 10:30 am

How do I make the most of my solar panels?

If you were one of the early installers of solar PV and are receiving generation and export Feed in Tariffs (FiTs) then you are probably making a good profit. However, as the FiT has decreased, newer installers may be wondering how to use more of the electricity generated so that you don’t …

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Solar firm record fine for nuisance calls

Posted by NEF Gabby on 30 September 2015 at 9:52 am

Solar firm record fine for nuisance calls

Home Energy and Lifestyle Management Ltd (HELMS) has been fined £200,000 for making nuisance calls. The firm, based in Glasgow, hired another company (which it now blames for the issue) to conduct its marketing campaign. This company then undertook a comprehensive cold calling campaign whic…

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