– Around twenty of us met on Zoom to learn about an environmental village project in nearby Cheshire.
We first heard about some of the news from our various project groups (more info here), followed by proposals to create a new collective of groups from a wider area across Derbyshire to lobby MPs and local government on environmental issues. Do contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in this proposal.
Our main presentation was from Kate Harrison – Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral project in Cheshire.
You can view Kate’s full presentation by clicking on the link at the top of this page.
One interesting activity which Kate undertook personally, was to monitor her energy use using a Belkin monitor (which monitors use both daily and over a longer period such as a year).
These are the results for Kate’s use for different appliances. The costs may be a little more now – but still useful for comparison.
I may stop drying my hair with a hairdryer!!
Following Kate’s excellent presentation, and a Q&A session, we discussed what had been the main messages to take away from the presentation. This is a summary of that discussion:
- Think of fun and creative ways to engage with local people and encourage them to attend meetings and events. E.g. “Bubbly and apple pies”, or other freebies, such as eco light bulbs.
- People really like to save money – so find out what can be saved by being more sustainable (FB link – Kate Harrison’s Great Energy Race), and promote that.
- Early involvement with their local school and youth groups (e.g. the brownies) had been critical, They’ve been going since 2006, so some local residents have grown up with the project always in the background. And if you involve school children, their parents (and grandparents and others) will follow.
- The enthusiasm of individuals is paramount (and impressive in Ashton Hayes). A few really motivated people can make a big difference. Play to people’s skills and interests.
- Think big – really big! Ambitious, creative targets capture hearts and minds (even you can’t realistically achieve them) – they also capture the media’s attention – and local supporters in other agencies, and grant providers.
- Use anyone in positions of authority for advice – e.g. local authority climate action advisers (apparently Derbyshire Dales District Council has one of these). They need to know there are groups like ours, keen to help them achieve their own objectives. We need to ask them to work with us.
- Campaigning to encourage local planning authorities to ask for higher levels of sustainability in new developments had been worthwhile. They had managed to raise on energy grading by at least one level.
- Their community energy scheme (run by a community interest company) is very interesting. Kate mentioned additional help if we were interested in pursuing this (e.g. energylocal.org.uk) .
- Some specific thoughts relevant to TDEG….
- Some of us recall Rod Barona (used to live at Bushey Heath Farm on Tideswell Moor, and was also a Tideswell Parish Councillor) – he installed a ground source heat pump and small wind turbine on his farm. Maybe he would be willing to speak to the group at some point?
- We recalled all the work to try to install a wind turbine at Bishop Pursglove School. Major problems with land ownership, etc. But maybe the time is right to explore this issue again – or some other renewable energy scheme. Other new buildings with possible opportunities – the new Youth Club, the new Markovitz building on the industrial estate, and the new housing schemes currently pending in the village.
- The East Midlands Energy Hub was mentioned – potential source of grants.
We now hope to work together to consider and take forward some of these actions.
We also confirmed that our next whole group meeting would be on Wednesday, 9 December, and would focus on the ecological crisis and what we could do about it in our local area.
If you haven’t see it yet – do catch up with David Attenborough’s latest BBC documentary “Extinction – the Facts”.