COMMUNITY LEADERS of a pioneering energy initiative are ready to make rural village life a lot greener, writes Ben Coulbeck.
Project leaders of Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral have finished a 12-month study and are considering creating a renewable energy system for the village’s school, neighbouring houses and buildings.
Plans could include wind turbines, solar panels and bio- diesel, which could power a boiler at the Church Road school.
Technical co-ordinator professor Roy Alexander revealed the final report from their micro-grid study would be presented to Ashton Hayes Parish Council next month.
“The next step is fundraising to set up and develop a renewable energy resource which would provide energy for the school as a starting point.
“This would be managed by a community organisation.
“We have nine months’ wind data that helps us, for example, look at what size of wind turbine would be suitable for an area like Ashton Hayes. But there are a range of options.”
The Ashton Hayes project, which aims to become England’s first carbon neutral village, recently gained praise in a report by the Centre of Sustainable Energy.
The document, funded by the Energy Saving Trust, says Ashton Hayes could be seen as a blueprint for other rural communities wishing to follow in its green- thinking footsteps.
It reads: “Ashton Hayes Going Carbon Neutral has achieved a significant amount, not least generating a huge amount of interest in the project. The carbon neutral concept has been ‘mainstreamed’ in Ashton Hayes – it is now an integral part of village life and a natural topic of conversation for residents.
“This is being reflected in residents’ behaviours, the foot- printing survey shows emissions are down by up to 20%, and behavioural change is big part of this.”