The town of Bideford in northern Devon has a high rate of fuel poverty and may other indicators of deprivation. Torridge Carbon Neutral was set up as a community benefit society to explore opportunities for community energy schemes and for funding of projects that would reduce the town's carbon footprint and address social and economic challenges. Councillors from Bideford Town Council attended a 'Transition to a Low Carbon Future' workshop run by 361 Energy and Torridge District Council which featured a presentation on community energy and good practice in Devon and the South West. This presentation led to a lively discussion on the barriers to developing community energy schemes in the district, and sharing of good practice.
The insights gained during the workshop helped Cllr James Craigie, Secretary to the Board of Torridge Carbon Neutral, to add to an existing funding bid to develop a renewable energy project for the town.
Similarly, identifying common barriers for Towns and Parishes led 361 Energy to seek funding to create a map of potential renewable heat sources across northern Devon. Once the heat sources have been identified they will work with local parish councils and community groups to help develop more renewable heat projects in the area, particularly focusing on those communities who are off the gas grid.
Image: Unsplash stock image, Ray Harrington
The involvement of the community has been really valuable. Insights gained from the workshop have helped to shape understanding and identify common barriers to overcome.