Today saw the first Steora benches installed in the UK, in three communities in rural Conwy – Llangernyw, Llanfair Talhaiarn and Conwy town.

The smart benches are solar powered with multiple functionality – a wireless charging pad, charging ports for wired phones (and other smart devices), night illumination, energy saving main controller and data collecting.

Meira Woosnam, Rural Enabling Officer for the Conwy Cynhaliol project said, “LEADER funding is all about trialling and piloting innovative ideas and we were delighted that the Local Action Group (LAG) here in Conwy supported a project that supported renewable energy and in turn enhance the visitor’s experience”

Cllr Ifor Lloyd representative of Llanfair Talhaiarn Community Council who were one of three groups that expressed an interest in the offer following an open call exercise said, “We are grateful of the opportunity to be part of this trial as we are developing the space for community use and tourism. We hope people, be they tourist or locals make good use of the technology it has to offer”.

The benches themselves will collect information on how much power has been generated, how much has then been used by the public and also how much of its Wi-Fi data has been used.

Cllr Goronwy Edwards, Chair of the Conwy LAG said “The Steora benches are manufactured in Croatia and supplied worldwide, but this project sees the first to be installed in the UK here in rural Conwy. The aim is to encourage people to stay for longer periods in rural areas and take advantage of renewable energy.”

For more information with regards to the work of the Local Action Group in Conwy and the LEADER programme– visit www.ruralconwy.org.uk or contact us on 01492 576673 or conwylocalactiongroup@conwy.gov.uk.