Fabian Brökelmann from Amersfoort in The Netherlands is fact finding about our sustainability efforts in Ashton Hayes this week. Fabian is involved in Research for the Dutch 'Raad voor het Openbaar Bestuur' (an advisory council/board on public government/authorities - issues for the Dutch Government) about the facilities and conditions for communities to accept responsibilities instead of the authorities. He is particularly keen on how communities embark and succeed in 'self determination'. Thanks to all the residents who have spared time to talk to Fabian. Ashton Hayes is a member of the Communities of Sustainable Europe, which is how Fabian heard about us.
Now in Association with
Ashton Hayes Community Energy CIC
Located in rural Cheshire, Ashton Hayes is a well knit community of about 1000 people that is aiming to become England's first carbon neutral community. We started our journey in January 2006 and since then we have already cut our carbon dioxide emissions significantly - by working together, sharing ideas and through behavioural change. We now have our community owned renewable energy company.
This website encapsulates our journey towards carbon neutrality and offers free advice and guidance. Please feel free to use anything from our website (we'd like a credit if you can).
We are delighted to sign up a substantial number of new members to the Ashton Hayes Community Energy Company at the Picnic in the Park - and those that joined us were entered into a prize draw for LED energy saving light bulbs. The lucky winners who will cut their energy use are Jacqui and Rick Malpas and David Lamb and Lesley Rickards.
University of Chester students say the March 23rd Earth Hour experiment in the village succeeded in cutting energy use. We are thankful to Scottish Power Energy Networks for helping us to monitor village energy use in great detail during the Earth Hour.
Here are some comments from two excellent reports which can be downloaded here and here.
"Earth Hour is a global event which is run by the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) every year. It aims to encourage governments, businesses and people to switch off their lights at the same day between 8.30 and 9.30 pm every year. Earth Hour is used to help promote sustainable issues amongst the general public and hopes to promote sustainable thinking. It is the world’s largest mass participation event in history with over 7000 cities in over 7 continents taking part.
Overall it would seem that the Ashton Hayes campaign was a success, with energy consumption rates dropping when Earth Hour began and then raising rapidly after the hour had finished. Although the project was focused on the level of engagement in the village and less about the actual energy saved, it is still important to note that the village will have saved a significant amount of energy over the short time period and most notably if this could be replicated throughout the UK then during Earth Hour it is assumed a great deal of energy and carbon would be saved.
Although the village of Ashton Hayes is already extremely knowledgeable about sustainable thinking, (this was evident in the knowledge of the school children) and therefore this type of project stood a greater chance of succeeding here than anywhere else, it is important to note that if the engagement rates were not successful in this village, then it is highly doubtful that it would work elsewhere."
At the WI Hall on 11 June, representatives from CWaC's Emergency Planning Team, the Police, NHS and Fire Service met with the village Resilience Planning Group.
The Ashton Hayes Resilence Planning Group launched its draft Resilience Plan on 11 June 2013 - the first community to do this in the CWaC area. The plan is designed to explain how, as a community, we can harness local resources and expertise to help ourselves in an emergency, in a way that compliments the respose of the emergency services. The 35-page plan has been developed over the last 18 months by a small group of volunteers under the leadership of Peter Bulmer of CWaC. Members of the group come from Parish Council, community shop and Ashton Hayes Energy Company. More details on the CWaC initiative can be found here.
CWAC Low Carbon Communities team (led by Peter Bulmer) has helped us put together an excellent summary of the Snow Angels work and the positive impact it has had on the community. Well done to Jane Colville and all her Snow Angels and the teams from Timebank and the Parish Council.