- Create a Plan
Neighbourhood plans enable local town and parish councils to set parameters for new development in their areas, within the context of the borough-wide Adopted Local Plan.
Within neighbourhood plans there is an opportunity to set out policies that can aid a reduction in emissions from homes and transport and, in particular, engage the local community on the development of renewable energy locally. It is possible to designate sites in the neighbourhood plan for renewables or nature restoration.
The process does take time and commitment but the council has a great track record of supporting neighbourhood plans in the borough. If you’d like to find out more then get in touch on email@example.com
- Improve insulation
If you own any buildings, for example a village hall or church then improving insulation is vital place to start. This reduces energy demand so reduces energy bills as well as carbon emissions. It can also bring health and other benefits through warmer buildings.
Simple insulation measures include draft-proofing, loft insulation, pipe and tank insulation and cavity wall insulation. Replacing windows and doors are more costly and involved projects. At the most complex scale is insulation for solid walls (can be internal or external) or floor insulation.
Although some measures can be expensive, support may be available, for example, through the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme. Given improvements can save money, costs-effective loans can also be used to pay for measures.
If you have an old or complex building then make sure you seek specialist guidance. Historic England provides technical guidance for energy efficiency in historic homes.
Thermal imaging can be a quick way to identify where heat is leaking from buildings. We have thermal imaging cameras available to use by town/parish councils and community groups so get in touch with the Climate Change team. You could also offer to undertake this service for residents.
If the building is in a conservation area or Area of Outstanding National Beauty you may need to check what work is permitted without planning permission, check the planning portal and if you’re in a historic or listed building contact Historic England.
Ensuring adequate ventilation alongside insulation is vital.
- Heating - replace (inefficient) fossil fuel systems
If you own and operate any buildings as a group then once you’ve improved insulation the next step is to tackle the heating.
Burning fossil fuel for heating is inherently high in carbon. Replacing an old boiler/heating system with something more efficient will help, however, ultimately you’ll need to replace the system with a heat pump, or other future low carbon heat source, as electricity is becoming ‘greener’. These act like a fridge working in reverse, using electricity to upgrade low incoming heat.
They come in two main varieties:
- Air-source heat pump (ASHP) – where the heat source is the external air
- Ground-source heat pump (GSHP) – where heat is extracted from the ground using a horizontal array of pipes, or vertical boreholes
Depending on your setting/location then other sources could also be used, such as water.
Heat pumps work differently to traditional boilers so do require a slight change in how you heat buildings. This is particularly important if you have multiple users of buildings who will be operating the heating. Clear instructions are vital! They also work best operating at a lower temperature so it is important buildings are well insulated first, and you may need to upgrade/enlarge your radiators. They also work well with underfloor heating.
Heat pumps use electricity, but generate more units of heat than units of electricity they consume – this is called the coefficient of performance (CoP). This means running costs can vary. At the moment they can be broadly similar to gas boilers, but cheaper to run than other fuels such as oil or direct electric heating.
The DRHI is due to be replaced in April 2022 with the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (formerly referred to as the Clean Heat Grant), which will provide a grant to cover the upfront cost of a heat pump for systems up to a certain size, which should be sufficient for most small or medium sized community facilities. Further detail on administration and process of the scheme is expected in advance of the scheme launch.
Although not usually required you may need planning permission for a heat pump, particularly an air source heat pump that has an external unit.
- Generate renewable energy
There is a growing movement to support and facilitate ‘Community Energy’. This usually involves community ownership of a renewable energy asset, such as solar panels, wind turbine or hydropower. As well as generating local, clean energy, the aim is that there is community benefit, such as reduced energy bills on a community asset and financial return for participants, which can then be reinvested (e.g. to alleviate fuel poverty or fund additional community energy installations). Community Energy South, a local support group and can provide guidance on community energy.
- Battery storage
Community-scale batteries, like renewable energy, can provide a community benefit and return on investment, potentially at a more cost-effective scale than individual properties, although this is more complex.
- Go electric
Conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, such as cars, vans and lorries, emit carbon dioxide, among other pollutants while running. Electric vehicles (EVs) have zero tailpipe emissions and so significantly reduce carbon emissions.
You could look to provide EV charging at community facilities on your land. If you’re interested in finding out more send a message to the Climate Change Team.
You could arrange demos or seminars on the benefits of switching to electric vehicles. Perhaps invite group members or local residents who have made the switch to share their experiences.
Lifestyle, consumption and waste
- Behavioural change
If you’re looking to encourage a wider group or community, such as local neighbourhood, to take personal action to change behaviour then you could consider signing up to the Greening Campaign. Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council can link you up with organisers and may be able to provide small-scale financial support to help you get started.
The natural environment
- Green roofs
Could you consider a green roof or wall in buildings you own or occupy? They can be a good way to absorb carbon and improve biodiversity.
We'd love to hear from you
Do you have any other ideas that are currently missing from our toolkits? Or do you have any suggestions on how to make our toolkits easier to use? Perhaps you have some ideas on tackling climate change?
If so, get in touch, send a message to the Climate Change Team