SOUTHAMPTON will become the greenest city in the UK using sustainable forms of energy to help reduce climate change, according to the city's civic leaders.

The promise has been made as Southampton City Council today launches Britain's first Integrated Energy Vision for the future.

The vision will see the city make more use of its pioneering combined heat and power generations, make better use of renewable energy resources like biomass, introduce new energy efficiency programmes and increase the amount of green space in the city - including roofs with plants growing on them.

Cllr Gavin Dick, Cabinet member for Environment and Transport, pictured, said: "Our vision is for Southampton to be the most sustainable city in the UK.

"We want Southampton to be the number one energy efficient city and this vision is outlining changes that will take place to achieve that."

To make their vision reality, the council will be looking at introducing a number of initiatives aimed at reducing the city's reliance on fossil fuels, while also reducing the amount of energy used by both homes and businesses.

One of the biggest changes will be to force large-scale developers, in both residential and commercial sectors, to incorporate small scale combined heat and power plants into their new builds.

Across Southampton, the city's CHP network already supplies around 40 businesses including the West Quay shopping centre, The Quays Swimming Complex and Southampton Solent University, while similar small-scale CHP plants are in use at Southampton General Hospital and Southampton University.

A geothermal aquifer, in which water is pumped one-mile underground to hot rocks, is also used to heat the water by around 15-20 per cent before the CHP process.

But the green plans for the city go further than just extending the current CHP network.

Cllr Dicks is also proposing to abolish the planning development costs for households wanting to put up solar panels or install small-scale wind turbine generators.

There are even plans to erect a giant wind turbine in a, currently, secret location on the edge of the city.

Cllr Dicks added: "What we are saying is it's fine what we have done so far, but we can do more.'' The Energising Southampton Vision will be launched today at Springhill School, which already uses the city's CHP network.

The launch will then kick off a month of events.