Who we areWe’re a committed group within Hope Valley Climate Action focusing on improving energy efficiency and expanding green energy generation – two essential elements in the drive to achieve net-zero CO² emissions by 2050.
The tasks we’ve set ourselves
Heating buildings with fossil fuels (mostly natural gas) accounts for nearly 25% of the UK’s CO² emissions, most of which come from people’s homes! In addition, two thirds of the country’s ageing housing stock have an EPC rating of D or worse. One of our key aims, therefore, is to encourage more homeowners in the Hope Valley to insulate their houses in preparation for the switch to low carbon heating systems – a central goal of the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy.
Evidence suggests that would-be home improvers are confused by the mass of information currently available, distrustful of some of the advice from companies offering retrofitting services, and concerned about the costs involved, the problem of quality control and the likely upheaval caused by the improvement work. A second ongoing task of ours is, therefore, to offer reliable, experience-based guidance on retrofitting and to, hopefully, build up a local network of homeowners and installers who have carried out energy saving/generation measures and are willing to share their knowledge/offer their services.
Recent government modelling concludes wind and solar electricity generation might have to increase fourfold by 2050 in order to achieve net-zero by 2050 and although most generation will take place off-shore, it is likely that on-shore generation will also increase, especially as the public is increasingly supportive of it. The government has also indicated that it will consider additional funding for community energy projects such as the one planned by Hope Valley Renewables (see below). As a result of all these factors, we have, therefore, set ourselves the somewhat controversial task of investigating the feasibility and appetite for medium and large-scale renewables (e.g. solar panels on public buildings, large single wind turbines, static and floating solar farms) in the Hope Valley area. We are also exploring the possible benefits of community ownership of such installations.
As it’s clear much of the government funding for energy efficiency upgrading in domestic properties will be allocated to local authorities, we are working hard with other local climate-change organisations to persuade local councils, our local MPs, and the Peak Park to commit to setting up and funding long-term schemes for wide-scale retrofitting both in owned and rented properties.
What we've achieved so far
In June 2020 we responded to a call by the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee for evidence related to improving the energy efficiency of existing homes by listing a range of policy changes and incentives the government could initiate to accelerate the pace of retrofitting. An acknowledgement of our contribution + a copy of the EAC’s final report was received in March 2021: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5171/documents/52521/default/
Autumn 2020 the group designed and carried out a short energy survey which attracted 214 responses.
In February 2021 our Group Coordinator responded in writing to the Peak District National Park’s latest review of its planning policies on retrofitting and residential renewables.
On 18 June sustainable building adviser, Nick Parsons, spoke on ‘Principles and Practicalities of Insulating Homes in the Hope Valley’. The talk was very well received and engendered a lively and useful Q&A session afterwards.
On October 2 we organised our first Open Eco-homes Day with 7 homeowners willing to showcase the home improvements they had made. The response from the visitors was extremely positive prompting a decision to repeat the event next year.
7 December 2020: Double Speaker Evening with Steve Shaw from Power For People presenting the case for a Local Electricity Bill and Richard Noakes from Sustainable Hayfield talking about ‘The Role of The Community in the Electrification of the UK’
Energy group member and HVCA Trustee, Steve Platt, is currently coordinating a Hope Valley Renewables Feasibility Study (Project Leader Dr Dawn Ward) which is investigating the viability of and potential support for medium and large-scale renewables in the local area. The study will include demand estimates for renewable energy in the Valley by 2050, and will also publish the results of an extended energy survey open to all residents in the Valley. HVCA and the energy group have been fortunate to receive funding for the survey from Breedon Cement and the Peak Park along with the support of Hope Valley Renewables, a recently incorporated Community Interest Company based in Bradwell wishing to set up a community energy project in the Valley.
Our group Coordinator, Zee-Zee Heine, assisted by another member, Michael Corcoran, have already established close ties with other local climate action groups in the High Peak, Derbyshire Dales and Staffordshire Moorlands, and so as a result, they were able to arrange an initial joint meeting on 29th September to begin planning a coordinated campaign to persuade local councils and the Peak Park to introduce a properly funded widescale retrofit program.
Dates for a follow-up meeting are currently being discussed.
We’d love to hear from you….
- …if you have qualifications and/or experience in sustainable building or green energy generation and would like to offer your expertise to the group
- … if you have an interest in one or more of the energy issues we focus on
- … if you’d just like to come along to one of our events or meetings
Just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org