It appears that this author’s prediction for 2007 may just be coming true. More and more community groups are springing up to take on the environmental challenges that face us, certainly if the UK is anything to go by. We’ve already heard about the residents of Chew Magna, and their efforts to ‘Go Zero’ here and here, and about the growing trend of Transition Towns that are aiming to wean themselves off fossil fuels. Now we hear from the BBC about a conference of community representatives from around the country, who are looking to learn from the example of Ashton Hayes, a community which we also covered here, and which is aiming to be Britain’s first carbon neutral town.
Groups represented at the conference ranged from the Brilley Mountain eco project in Herefordshire, representing a community of just 330 people, to Going Carbon Neutral Stirling, which is applying for a £1m grant (approx. US$2m) to tackle the carbon footprint of Stirling’s population of 90,000. The BBC’s David Ward described the scene as being not unlike a ‘polite revivalist meeting’:
‘The village's pioneering, uncranky practicality (begin with energy-saving lightbulbs and keep going) has become an inspiration, its leaders the messiahs of carbon footprint reduction.’
It certainly seems these folks are becoming catalysts for important change if Bollington Carbon Revolution, another project represented at the conference are anything to go by. Included in the plans for this 7000 strong community is a return to hydro power, and the group has produced a 48 page strategy report covering all aspects of a more sustainable future for this former mill town.
Whether the people of Ashton Hayes really are the new messiahs of carbon reduction, we don't feel qualified to say. But we certainly hope they are prophets of what's to come...