203Members of the County Durham Environment Partnership will be joining thousands of organisations around the world taking part in Earth Hour to raise awareness of climate change.

Residents and organisations are encouraged to join in and switch off lights and unnecessary equipment for an hour at 8.30pm on Saturday 19 March to highlight climate change and show they care about the future of the planet.

Durham County Council will be supporting the event on Friday afternoon, where offices will be encouraged to switch off unnecessary equipment at 3pm. Schools around the county are also backing the initiative with their own Earth Hour events.

Another key member of the Environment Partnership, Durham University, will also be taking part. As well as asking all staff and students to switch off any non-essential lights they will also be switching off the exterior illuminating lights to Durham Castle. This will dramatically alter the night skyline of Durham City, as the public will be able to see the

Castle in a different light for the Earth Hour period. Terry Collins, chief executive of Durham County Council and Chair of the Environment

Partnership, said: “Although Earth Hour shows how much energy can be saved in just sixty minutes, it’s also a chance to put the spotlight on the issues facing the planet. We’re proud to do our part in County Durham and hope that, by seeing such an iconic building as

Durham Castle participating, we can encourage everyone to think about living in a more sustainable way.”

For more information, as well as a carbon footprint calculator and how changes you can make to your lifestyle can help the planet, visit the Earth Hour website at http://earthhour.wwf.org.uk/