Cumbria Action for Sustainability

In this edition, there are a few opportunities you might be interested in - a chance to invest, and perhaps join our list of energy consultants. We're also looking back over the first year of our two major projects - one supporting people at risk of extreme weather, and the other leading towards a greener future for Alston Moor. Oh, and happy National Gutters Day! Jaki
Investment opportunity as co-ops buy wind farm
There are just a few weeks left to invest in a ‘loan note’ paying 4.5 per cent interest a year, linked to the community buying an existing wind farm in Cumbria.

The Mean Moor commercial wind farm in the south of the county was acquired by three renewable-energy co-operatives in July, and the public are now being offered the chance to invest, to raise funds towards the purchase.

Energy Prospects, High Winds and Baywind co-operatives came together to buy the wind farm, with the support of Thrive Renewables. It's thought to be the first time a community organisation has purchased an existing wind farm from a developer.

Mean Moor has three 2.3 MW Enercon turbines and is across the valley from the existing High Winds turbines at Harlock Hill. 

It is intended that the loan note will be repayable after a maximum of three years. The minimum subscription is £500 and the maximum £50,000. The offer closes on 18 December.
Calling all energy consultants...
CAfS is looking to update our bank of suitably qualified consultants to assess renewable energy options for community buildings such as schools and village halls.

We are often approached by groups wanting to know which technology they should be focusing on for their site, as they might have a range of options open to them.

We are looking for renewable energy experts who can provide independent advice. You will ideally have experience of implementing systems, as well as knowledge of a broad range of renewable energy systems at this scale. This would include ground/air/water-source heat pumps, biomass boilers, solar systems and micro hydro/wind. 

If you are interested, please send in some relevant examples of your work and your CV to office@cafs.org.uk. Or if you know someone this might appeal to, please forward this email on to them!

Flood resilience project helps hundreds in year one
We've just marked the first anniversary of our project to help Cumbrians adapt for extreme weather.

The Rebuilding Together project began in October 2016, thanks to funding from the Big Lottery Fund, working in partnership with Cumbria CVS and ACTion with Communities in Cumbria.

CAfS has been helping Cumbrian residents to adapt their homes to cope better with flooding and improve energy efficiency, with training courses for professionals. We're also supporting communities with projects to tackle climate change, as one of the root causes of the extreme weather we're now seeing.

Over the past year, we've advised hundreds of people at drop-in sessions, events and home visits, and produced a guide for householders wanting to make their homes more resilient to extreme weather.

We've also begun work to reduce the amount of waste caused by flooding, starting with research to understand the causes, which was published in September.

CAfS is very glad to have had the opportunity to support people in Cumbria who've been affected by flooding, with more planned for the year ahead. We'll continue our personalised retrofitting advice for householders, and we're also developing an online tool to make it even easier for residents to work out the most appropriate improvements for their type of property. Watch this space!

Alston Moor Greenprint marks first year
Greenprint
This month marks the first anniversary of the Alston Moor Greenprint, our three-year project to help the area overcome some of its biggest challenges with green solutions.

Low-energy homes, greener transport, renewable energy, reducing waste and growing food have all been on the menu during the first year of the project, which is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and run by Roe Baker from CAfS.

Here's how we've got on so far:

  • We've married up the Greenprint with the new community plan being created by Alston Moor Partnership (AMP). It means that the Greenprint vision and actions will be threaded through the community plan.
  • We've linked in with Alston Moor Parish Council so that the Greenprint could hopefully be embedded into any future Neighbourhood Plan they develop.
  • Alston Moor residents have been sharing their views to help the Greenprint and community plan teams capture the issues the area faces - from discussions, surveys and public meetings to events and even an art installation.
  • Alston Moor Community Energy launched last winter, and the Greenprint project has helped them explore solar-energy schemes at three sites. Watch this space for updates.
  • New research has shed light on energy use by Alston Moor residents. A questionnaire went to 2400 homes and businesses, as well as being online.

Next steps:

  • Consultation continues next year with a house-to-house survey about the whole range of topics in the community plan, including the Greenprint.
  • The Greenprint and AMCE teams will try to find funding to create an energy strategy for Alston Moor.
  • Ideas for low-energy homes with offices or workshops incorporated into them are being explored.

Find out all about the Greenprint (including Roe's snazzy new timeline!)
In brief...
Know of any newsletters?
If there's a parish or community newsletter in your area, it'd be a huge help if you could send us details. We often need to let people know about schemes and events they could take advantage of, and we're compiling a list of local newsletters around the county. Please email Jaki if there's one near you. Thank you VERY much!
It's National Gutters Day!
This is National Maintenance Week - a great time to seal up any draughts, boost your insulation and replace older light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs. This annual focus on maintenance is led by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) but encourages the owners of all sorts of buildings to be aware of the importance of regular care. It's a good reminder to tackle issues that can lead to damp, such as blocked guttering (with today being National Gutters Day), which can increase your heating costs as your home feels colder. Find out more >>
Fund could help with environmental projects
For any green groups out there, a new £4m fund for social impact projects might be worth a look. The Invest for Impact fund offers finance between £50,000 and £150,000 in the form of grants or loans to support long-lasting social impact. Find out more >>

Climate news...
From agreements in Paris to rules in Bonn
The UN climate talks have just concluded in Bonn. This gathering of nations was tasked with converting the agreements made in Paris in 2015 into "a set of rules by which nations can combine to defeat global warming", as summed up neatly by The Guardian. The consensus seems to be that progress was made but there's a lot still to do. Paul Allen from the Centre for Alternative Technology posted a great summary on Facebook on his way home from the conference on the train. Read Paul's conference overview
Government launches Clean Growth Strategy
You may have seen in the media that the Government has published its Clean Growth Strategy, leading on from the 2008 Climate Change Act. We've come across this helpful summary of the commitments in the strategy. There's potentially some good news around renewable energy in rural areas.
How Low Can You Go?
A simple suggestion this time:

If you're doing Christmas shopping online, log your purchases via Give As You Live and choose CAfS as your charity. We'll get a small donation at no cost to you, so you'll be supporting our work to reduce Cumbria's carbon footprint.
Events
Festive Freegle | Staveley Village Hall | 25 Nov

Freegle Give & Take | Kirkby Stephen Sports & Social Club | 25 Nov

Community resilience discussion | 29 Nov | Contact Sustainable Brampton

Conversation Cafe | Cake and Ale Cafe, Carlisle | 2 Dec, 12-2pm

Solway beach clean-ups | 30 Nov & 9, 14, 30 Dec | Email for locations & info

Christmas markets by Sustainable Brampton: Carlisle 2 Dec, Brampton 16 Dec.

Workshop on the theory of lime uses & historic buildings | 9 Dec |
For details: 015242 51002 or info@storiesinstone.org.uk
Know of a sustainability event?  Tell us  & we'll include it next time.
Cumbria Action for Sustainability
01768 210276 | jaki@cafs.org.uk |  www.cafs.org.uk
Company Number: 6492907 Registered Charity Number: 1123155