AN INSPIRATIONAL village is preparing for a carbon neutral Christmas this year.
Ashton Hayes Parish Council was awarded the Community Initiative Prize at the London Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in November for its Carbon Neutral Project which has seen residents achieve a 20% decrease in their energy bills since June last year.
Over the Christmas period our carbon footprints soar as we over-consume, travel more frequently and use much more energy. Villagers in Ashton Hayes are this year gearing up for an energy-saving festive season.
The village Christmas tree, which has been donated by a local supplier, will play a central role in the village’s festive greetings.
The intention is to hang wooden decorations with festive messages on the tree instead of sending numerous Christmas cards, therefore reducing the amount of waste.
Regular Christmas lights on the tree will be replaced by low energy LEDs to further reduce emissions. There are also calls for a plastic bag free Christmas and a vision from city councillor Andrew Garman that could see the village producing its own food for the festive season and beyond.
Project co-ordinator Gary Charnock said: “People have been pleased with the energy-saving results so far, and are wondering what we can do next. We could even start to generate our own energy.”
The village has also inspired similar projects across the Atlantic. The town of Eden Mills in Ontario, Canada recently teamed up with Ashton Hayes after a visit earlier this year.
The village is hoping to become the first small community in England to achieve carbon neutral status.
For more information on Ashton Hayes and the Carbon Neutral Project, visit www.goingcarbonneutral.co.uk