"Towards a Zero Carbon Community"
Youlgrave - the Village and the Project
Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Youlgrave is a village of about 1,000 people located three miles from Bakewell, Derbyshire, in the middle of the Peak District National Park. It sits high above the River Bradford, close to its confluence with the Lathkill.
Sustainable Youlgrave is a grass roots, community initiative that began in 2006 when a group of local people got together to examine how the Youlgrave area could become more sustainable and reduce its carbon footprint. We cover the valley of the River Bradford, which includes not just Youlgrave but also the villages of Alport and Middleton-by-Youlgrave, as well as the rural parishes of Harthill and Gratton.
Youlgrave already enjoys a degree of independence and self-sufficiency, with its own private water company (one of the last in Britain) and the only Independent District Councillor in the Derbyshire Dales. With several shops, pubs, a school and garage, health centre and youth hostel, Youlgrave is a strong community - and we want to build on this and ensure that the people themselves are in control and are able to fashion a healthy and long-term future for the village.
We aim to reduce our community's impact on the environment both locally and globally through various strategies. We are encouraging energy conservation by first of all surveying every household in Youlgrave to gauge energy use, before moving on to measures to help people save energy and reduce consumption.We are also looking into the generation of renewable energy, and to that end two pre-feasibility studies (into wind power and anaerobic digestion) have just been completed for us by professional consultants. Finally, together with the Parish Plan committee, we are pursuing a number of related themes examining long-term community sustainability, such as promoting local shops and services, reviewing transport links and car usage, plus issues such as recycling and composting.
If our pre-feasibility studies into renewable energy generation prove positive, we envisage setting up a locally-controlled social enterprise company. Money raised through the sale of shares would be invested in the energy generation projects. A proportion of the profits would be used to fund local energy conservation and educational initiatives, helping those who can least afford to insulate their homes, encouraging community-wide recycling and so on.