As climate change hits the headlines again with the upcoming COP27 conference, Derbyshire Dales District Council is making progress towards its target of being carbon neutral by 2030.
While all eyes will be on Egypt until 18 November, the District Council is continuing to play its part in tackling the threat of climate change – despite challenging economic conditions.
In addition to carbon reduction measures at its own premises, the Council is supporting residents and businesses in the Dales to reduce their carbon footprints.
“Improving the energy efficiency of local homes has been a key focus of our efforts for several years,” said District Council Leader Councillor Garry Purdy.
“Using a mix of funding streams, including Local Authority Delivery Green Homes Grant funding, more than 160 homes have been improved to date with many more in progress.”
Improving home energy efficiency makes homes warmer and more comfortable to live in. With the average home producing 6t of CO2 a year it also reduces emissions.
Thanks to a successful bid to the Government’s ‘Sustainable Warmth’ competition low income households in the Derbyshire Dales can currently apply for free grants to make their property more energy efficient.
Anyone interested can simply contact the District Council's partner Marches Energy Agency to check their eligibility on 0800 677 1332 (select option 2) or email wdd@mea. org.uk
The District Council’s Climate Change Officer Jo Hill said: "We have seen a steady uptake of our fully funded energy efficiency improvement grants to date but would still encourage applications, particularly for homes off gas which generally have higher running costs and emissions.
“Grants are offered on a first come first served basis and we will run a waiting list for next rounds subject to future funding.”
The Council’s successful first ‘Go Green’ event this summer brought together solutions to the climate and biodiversity crisis, giving the opportunity for residents and businesses to explore what they can do to make a difference.
The work of one of the attendees, Derbyshire Dales Community Energy, is moving forward at pace, with installations of solar panels planned at local businesses funded by a community share offer. See more information on this at https://derbyshiredalesenergy.org.uk
At the District Council’s own premises, work is underway to improve the energy efficiency of the Town Hall in Matlock and the Agricultural Business Centre in Bakewell. The works include new windows and an air source heat pump in part of the Town Hall, while electric heating and solar PV panels will be installed on the roof of the ABC.
When complete, in summer 2023, this will reduce emission from Council buildings by around 30%. The work is being funded by a second successful bid to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme (PSDS).
Jo Hill added: “We are being supported by Nottingham City Council to install electric vehicle charging points at our main depot in Darley Dale. This will allow the trialling of electric vehicles in our fleet.
“The rural nature of the district means we have particular challenges to overcome to reduce emissions from our vehicles but trials should enable us to understand how we can do this while still delivering important services to our residents.
“Importantly, we recently approved a Sustainable Procurement Policy, giving us a framework to work with suppliers to reduce the climate change impacts of the goods and services we buy.”
As the Council reviews its Local Plan, which includes policies by which planning applications will be determined, climate change considerations are key. There will be a period of public consultation on the new draft plan.
Queries about climate change issues can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org