Spam is costing businesses across Shropshire thousands of pounds, and using up as much energy as it takes to power thousands of homes, a county computing company said today.

Fears were raised this week about the rise in companies being sent spam or malware via social networking sites as the popularity of the channels continues to rise.

But the figures are still way below that of constant email spam, which businesses across the region consistently have to deal with every day.

Chris Pallett, of Bespoke Computing in Telford, said: “Spammers are only sending out spam because it is successful.  It is a 30-year-old global industry recently valued at $130billion and growing exponentially.  Up to 98 per cent of all e-mail messages are junk, and if one in a million recipients were to respond, that’s a good response.

“The environmental impact of spam e-mail is also a concern.  In a recent study it was said the energy required to send, deliver and filter out spam globally in a year is equal to powering 2.4 million homes.  Over three quarters of this energy consumption comes from people deleting spam, searching for legitimate e-email.

“These surprising large numbers only help us understand the scale of things; spam may only be a small handful of the e-mails that you receive on a daily basis but think of the longer term effect. The cost to delete one spam e-mail is four to five seconds of time.  Or, on average, 2.5p.  A few seconds or a couple of pence may sound trivial, but how much spam do you get? A client of ours receives 5,000 e-mails daily, 96 per cent of which are spam. That nicely stacks up to nearly 81 days or £44,000 every year.

“The solution of course, is to out-law spam and unsolicited e-mail – certainly easier said than done.  The next best option is to filter your e-mail before it arrives.”

Mr Pallett said as the spam emails continue to flood in-boxes across the region more and more people are taking action against it.

And as social networking sites become a target people are being forced to make changes to their systems.

“In the earlier example the solution that filters those 5,000 messages every day cost only £340, quite a decent return on investment,” added Mr Pallett. “If your business has a problem with spam, talk to your existing IT provider or call us on 0845 004 3025.”