Posted by: Mike Grenville | 21 December 2009

First Low Carbon Challenge Winners

The 10 ‘first movers’ in the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s ‘Low Carbon Communities Challenge’ Phase 1 winners have been announced. Communities in Norfolk, Isle of Wight, London, Nottinghamshire, Pembrokeshire, Cheshire, Northumberland, Yorkshire, Oxfordshire and Devon are the first of twenty communities to benefit from a £10million fund as part of the Low Carbon Communities Challenge. Another 10 projects will be announced in January.

The winning phase 1 applicants are:

1. West Oxford Community Renewables, Oxford
To pilot a community renewables building society’ that will support the development of an integrated approach to low carbon living in West Oxford. The funding will be used by the West Oxford Community Renewables Industrial and Provident Society to develop a £1.6m pipeline of renewable energy projects. The income from these will be donated to the Low Carbon West Oxford charity to develop low carbon projects with the aim of achieving an 80% reduction in emissions in West Oxford by 2050.

2. Ellen MacArthur Foundation ,Chale Green, Isle of Wight
Bringing an entire rural off grid community out of fuel poverty, with an integrated approach to reducing carbon. Additional funding is provided by the social landlord to ensure the properties are upgraded to Decent Homes and Ellen MacArthur Foundation is supporting the project management and behaviour change elements of the project. The entire village will benefit from the social improvements and a number of PV installations throughout the estate will feed a community managed funding initiative to ensure the project continues to support the village improvements for years to come.

3. Norfolk CC, Reepham, Norfolk
LCCC funding will allow Reepham to reduce its CO2 by 127 tonnes per year by using a community fund to deliver a comprehensive range of projects which target; energy efficient renovation, renewables, transport, behavioural change & food initiatives. The Norfolk County Council scheme is replicable and is well supported by partner organisations, committed community leaders and the wider community.

4. Lammas Low Impact Initiatives Ltd, Pembrokeshire, Wales
The focus of the application is a community hub building which will become a hub for the village and a centre for education on low impact living for the wider world. The outcome would be a replicable, integrated rural sustainable development model. The project will be delivered using a combination of green technologies, permaculture cultivation methods and natural building techniques.

The Lammas project involving nine families living in eco smallholdings in the Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire will receive £350,000 from the Government to pay for a “community hub” building. The building will launch its low-impact housing initiative and pioneering farming and land-use technologies, as well as promoting carbon-positive food and fuel.

Construction on the Community Hub building will begin in February 2010 and take 12 months to complete. The building will be made largely from locally sourced tree-trunks stacked up in a Canadian log-cabin style and will include a range of innovative features such as a prototype wood-powered cooker. It will incorporate a café and a shop and will sell produce from both Lammas residents and other local people engaged in land-based livelihoods. The Lammas project plans to run its first open day in April 2010.

5. Transition Town Totnes, Devon
The proposal will take the form of ‘Transition Streets’, whereby 12 streets across Totnes, chosen so as to represent the demographics and housing stock of Totnes, undertake a programme of behaviour change called ‘Transition Together’. Participants are then eligible to apply for subsidised retrofits and then to a rolling fund for low interest loans for domestic renewables, harnessing feed in tariffs to enable the repayment of the loans.

Transition Culture report

6. The Meadows Partnership, Nottingham
The Meadows Ozone Energy Services is a company formed by local people in the Meadows and has aspirations to change a inner city area with multiple deprivation levels to become a exemplar to other similar inner city communities. The Meadows has a housing stock of approx 4000 houses with a mixture of housing types including over 1000 Victorian terraced houses that are hard to insulate. The project seeks to demonstrate that low carbon savings can help reduce fuel poverty.

Press report

7. Kirklees Council, Huddersfield, Yorkshire
Greening the Gap will involve PV application to three main community centres and 30 domestic houses. This project presents a credible carbon reduction story in a deprived, ethnically diverse area, with a team that have been very successfully in communicating best practice widely.

8. Haringey Council and the Muswell Hill Low Carbon Zone, North London
An integrated application involving a diverse range of interventions and partner organisations. Muswell Hill sustainability group provides strong community leadership with Haringey Council providing support and resources. The application includes PV installations on four schools to be used as a learning tool and to encourage behaviour change, a mobile sustainable learning facility, cycle parking and a community renewable energy company will gain funding to generate income for carbon reduction measures in the community. Much action is already taking place within the Low Carbon Zone.

9. Berwick Core Ltd, Berwick upon Tweed
In conjunction with the Berwick Housing Trust, the funding would be spent on a retro-fit renewable programme which will see the installation of photovoltaic panels installed in 50 houses. The revenues due to the electricity generated would feed into a community fund that would be reinvested for further environmental and social programmes. The remaining £50k would go into the Low Carbon Berwick Programme which will see the implementation of a local action plan including behavioural change initiatives for domestic householders and wider environmental initiatives through Berwick that would be aided via a volunteer work force. It is the ultimate aim of the Low Carbon Programme to establish a Berwick Transition Town.

10. Sustainable Blacon, Chester
Blacon is a suburb of North West Chester adjoining the English/Welsh border. Blacon will champion energy efficiency and refurbish two local houses, so people can see what they can do to cut their bills and have access to advice and practical support for its 16,000 residents. They will also be bringing together local people from across the community installing some of the latest technology in their homes and enable local people to help one another to cut bills and spread good practice through their social networks.


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