Independent retailers in Lewes, East Sussex, are reporting a dramatic rise in sales thanks to the launch of a new local currency. The Lewes pound, the equivalent of one pound sterling, was created to encourage local shopping, help cut CO2 emissions, and boost economic resilience in the town. Sue May, owner of May’s General Stores, is one of the 70 local traders who is accepting the Lewes pound. She said: “When people spend money in supermarkets it disappears out of the town. This scheme ensures that the money spent in Lewes stays in Lewes.” The launch of the Lewes pound has attracted huge publicity and visitor numbers to the town have soared. “Tourists and locals have been really excited by the scheme,” Sue added. Notes are also being issued by the local Barclays Bank. They contain high-tech security features to prevent counterfeiting and can be traded back to sterling at any time. The pilot runs until August 30, 2009.