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Sustainable Youlgrave: Annual Review 2008/9

Posted Thursday, July 2, 2009

Sustainable Youlgrave : Annual Review 2008/9


This annual review was adopted at Sustainable Youlgrave’s AGM on 23 June 2009, following a substantial debate about the involvement and inclusion of the whole community, including the longer-term residents, which was referred on to a sub-committee.



Content follows the ‘route map’ and all other SY documents and is based on minutes of committee meetings and other relevant information. Content entries start with a review of the year past followed by the year ahead in italics (TBC = to be continued). Content is brief and is not a substitute for individual reports.

1. Logo and graphics

The logo has been in use for a year or more. An offer has been made by an award winning artist/supporter to review our graphics. A meeting has been arranged.

2. Constitution

The constitution has changed little since the beginning. Derbyshire Dales Council for Voluntary Services, working with the chair, has suggested some changes, mainly as additional policies. DDCVS strongly recommends that SY adopts the suggestions made, so as to strengthen bids for support, especially funding. In the absence of the author, the matter was deferred.

3. Committee and officers

The committee has remained stable. There has been very little attendance by Middleton reps. The chair has stated his reasons for retiring as chair and will not continue in that role beyond the next AGM. The AGM re-elected the officers and welcomed 3 new cttee members with warm thanks to those standing down. If SY splits in two, a charity chair and a business leader would be needed asap.


4. Activists and others

The committee, as is commonplace, divides loosely into active members and those who contribute less often but are vital to make suggestions, monitor activity and vote. The case for more members to have defined roles should be examined.


5. Bank balances and funding

The bank balances stand at a healthy £10K with c. £5K committed to the Anaerobic Digestion project. A paper on longer term income was adopted. A practice of charging for time, according to ability to pay, was adopted. New major funding was and is sought on an opportunistic basis. The statement of accounts was approved at the AGM.


6. e.members

There were 91 members (31 associate members, 60 full members). Approx 140 get emailed newsletters.


7. Card members

There were 31 card members who paid a small sum as a demonstration of support.


8. Community work

A statement on outreach and communication was adopted during the year. Outreach stands at about 15% of the catchment area and about 20 external bodies. Advice is that outreach is adequate. There is however a ‘wall of indifference’ * out there. A survey by Sheffield University students is planned for July (see below) and following a debate, a sub committee was formed to examine the issues.

*Marches Energy Agency analysis


1. COGEN = community owned green energy company

SY proposed from the beginning to set up a social enterprise body known as a Community Owned Green Energy Company (COGEN) by East Midlands Development Agency (emda). A COGEN might fund a charity with a percentage of its profits. Energy4All (E4All) prepared an advice note on two types of social enterprise company or co-op that was adopted in principle. The AD study will recommend a way forward for AD. There is a case for a COGEN that could invest in AD, wind and solar – see below. E4All has a bid in to emda to expand the funding for c.6 COGENS. If global fund agreed, any individual community such as SY would be able to bid to the global fund.

2. Policy

Local PDNPA policies continue to encourage only ‘small’ renewable energy installations.

‘Small’ installations will not replace the carbon footprint of our community or of the main businesses in the valley. We will continue to lobby for the approval of ‘appropriate’ installations.

3. University of Sheffield (UoS)

SY has reached an agreement with UoS in which we provide its postgraduate programme with research projects for Masters students. The students present SY with field work. Subjects currently in hand are hydro (now completed), woodfuel, a small waste battery collection scheme for recycling and a major opinion poll in our community to be launched in July.

4. Local economic and social issues

SY works with Youlgrave’s Village Plan team on all 6 of its main objectives. SY has offered support for low energy housing at The Croft and on Conksbury Lane. SY has an agreed protocol to work with Youlgrave School. A book of the children’s poems and pictures on Climate Change will be published soon.

5. Anaerobic Digestion (AD)

The AD study, our highest priority, is making progress, with over 45 interviews of farmers and others completed; potential opportunities for some AD plants provisionally identified and a second successful farmers’ meeting. A co digester (CAD) and a few farm digesters look to be potentially viable, and perhaps a small shed digester, but they are all subject to competition for off-farm feedstock and some to planning. The programme has been delayed by an unfavourable review by PDNPA. Decision to go forward to Stage 3 is agreed. We should have a commercial report and a generic report by September.


6. Water

Haddon’s 35kW turbine at Alport Mill is now running. Friends of the Peaks’ wider study should be published by end June. Brian Mallalieu’s assessment (together with the UoS Student’s more detailed feasibility study) is that there are up to 3 more viable sites (especially Raper Lodge) on the Lathkill and Daykin rivers. These will be supported or promoted by SY if Haddon agrees.


7. Wind

The pre-feasibility study found significant potential for medium and small turbines. National polls suggest clear majority support for the capture of wind energy. SY has adopted the slogans ‘farm wind, not wind farms’ and that they are ‘objects of grace and desire’. A 20kW turbine private turbine has been approved by PDNPA in the valley on that basis. Unwillingness of PDNPA to approve and support medium-sized machines has prevented any further progress, as well as a lack of financial & staffing resources to pursue applications with little chance of planning approval. Whilst the proposed FITs (qv) should encourage SY and others to renew efforts to make maximum use of this technology possibly by SY’s Cogen, the current major obstacle remains PDNPA size limitations to small-scale development.

8. Woodfuel

Brian, with PDNPA and Forestry Commission assistance, has continued to progress with a pre-feasibility woodfuel study for Sustainable Woodland Management; log, chip and pellet supplies; and the potential for small boiler heating schemes. Domestic stoves and back boilers are encouraged locally by SY, a few already being installed or planned. Some local businesses already make an income from woodfuel. The study should be followed by a full feasibility study and implemented if viable, possibly by SY’s Cogen.

9. Solar

SY arranged an evening presentation by Ecoskies on solar panels (heat and electric). Solar panels mainly no longer need planning permits. The capital cost of panels, as predicted, has fallen by 30% already. EcoSkies have published the table of proposed Feed in Tariffs (FITs) for renewable energy. The highest figure is for building-integrated PV at up to 50p per unit. This could lead to companies renting roofs to install panels. Andrew Hubble is part of a consultancy into heat pumps, ground and air. Several are already installed in our valley. The time could soon be right to make a major investment into panels and pumps, possibly by SY’s Cogen, provided the new tariff is confirmed.

10. Energy saving

Earlier investment by Dales Housing; a preliminary household survey by SY; earlier practice by Powergen elsewhere, the invention of Thermafleece; the availability of a 100% green tariff from Good Energy - together provided incentives for a concerted and integrated approach to energy saving. The UoS research students’ community opinion poll for SY to further assess local interest in implementing more domestic energy efficiency and recycling, as well as their views on CC and renewable energy development, is planned for July.


11. Food miles and self sufficiency

SY has interviewed shop keepers and allotment holders. We will support any reasonable measures needed to sustain at least 2 food shops and a PO. We will continue to encourage the creation of new allotments and the recovery of ground given earlier for allotment use but appropriated by the CoE Diocese for rental income as ‘set aside’ A campaign to raise awareness and to keep bees is to be launched later this year.

12. Transport

Various proposals to reduce traffic miles and vehicle CO2 are in hand, including an addition to SY’s website to facilitate car-sharing.


All material is copyright of Sustainable Youlgrave, 2007 onwards

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