Communities Try out Responses to Climate Change; COUNTRY & FARMING Environment Matters
Byline: JANE DAVIDSON
CLIMATE change is one of the greatest challenges we face today. I'm sure you are aware of the steps we can all take as individuals to play our part in reducing our carbon footprint, such as using energy more efficiently and by recycling and composting household waste.
But have you thought how much more we could achieve by working together in our communities?
This is an area where rural groups and organisations can help to make a real difference to their carbon footprint and potentially reap economic and social benefits.
I have met a number of community and voluntary groups from across Wales recently who have been keen to share their exciting ideas on working together to develop renewable energy, recycling and other projects to reduce their communities' carbon footprint.
Many of these groups are from rural areas, where communities have been making the most of natural resources to provide energy for their villages.
As well as benefiting the environment these projects can also contribute towards creating a sustainable future for their communities, and help boost the local economy.
During a visit to Bancyfelin village hall I saw how they had installed solar panels to provide hot water. They are one of 30 halls from across Carmarthenshire to benefit from the Carmarthenshire Energy Agency's Community Solar Project.
And recently I saw how residents of Talybont on Usk in Powys had developed a water turbine to produce electricity which is sold to a public electricity supplier through the National Grid.
The turbine uses an existing dam, which was originally built in the 1930s to provide water for Newport. The Talybont Project was funded by pounds 90,000 in grants and is expected to bring in pounds 17,000 a year which will be spent on more energy projects in the village.
As well as helping to tackle climate change, renewable energy generation can also lead to wider community benefits and investment, and improve the lives of residents.
Energy production is just one way rural communities can play their part and there are a host of other more simple and innovative ways that everyone can contribute.
So together with Cynnal Cymru we have produced a DVD to show the variety of ways people have been getting together to pool their experience, expertise and enthusiasm to help make a difference and enhance the places they live in. …