Free Funding For Broken Gas Boiler Replacements 

Residents on limited incomes could benefit from new funding to replace broken gas boilers this winter.  Herefordshire Council are one of only a handful of Councils nationally who are able to access the Emergency Central Heating Offer (ECHO) – delivered via the council’s energy advice service Keep Herefordshire Warm.  

A broken boiler during the winter months can be a worrying and stressful experience. For those in poor health, old age and with limited cash, the prospect of cold related ill health is very real – and many worry of ending up in hospital.  With widespread reports of pressures on the NHS in the winter months due to cold conditions, Herefordshire Council are keen to do all they can to help householders stay warm and safe in their homes. 

Robert, from Hereford, contacted Keep Herefordshire Warm after his old gas boiler broke down, leaving him and his wife without heating and hot water. Robert cares for his wife, relying on pensions and with little spare cash, they faced the prospect of entering the colder months without effective heating. He had been unable to access funding earlier in the year. 

Robert was referred for emergency support. Less than two weeks after contact was made a new boiler and radiators were installed throughout the home.   

The Keep Herefordshire Warm scheme provides free and impartial energy advice to local residents through an advice line, home visits and community events. Residents are supported to access grants to repair and replace heating and improve insulation. 

Many people are unaware of the risks that living in a cold home present to their health.  The risk of a stroke or heart attack rises, and other conditions such as colds and flu can become more likely. Just putting on another jumper or relying on one heater isn’t enough for many people. 

Keep Herefordshire Warm Project manager Oliver Rothwell said; 

“We often take calls from people concerned about neighbours or friends who are struggling – either with a crisis like a broken boiler, or often because they are facing daily decisions about whether to heat or eat. Many people struggle on with broken or intermittent systems, unaware that they could be eligible for help.  With the new Emergency Central Heating Offer and home visit support available, we hope to be in a position to help”. 

As well as funding for energy efficiency measures, the service can offer advice on energy tariffs and discounts, suppliers, and how to better use energy at home.  

The Keep Herefordshire Warm team can be contacted on Freephone 0800 677 1432 or through email at khw@mea.org.uk.  Advice is free and impartial to all residents, and covers a wide range of energy topics.  Funding is subject to eligibility criteria, and residents hoping to access funding will need to provide personal information such as their household income or the benefits they receive as part of an assessment. 

New bond offer with Wind Co-op

Some of you will already be aware of Sharenergy, a Shropshire based co-operative which helps to grow the community energy sector in the UK. They are currently supporting some new bond offers in case you are looking for alternative ways to invest your money:

  • The Small Wind Co-op is raising £450,000 in bonds to purchase an operational turbine in County Durham, bringing their total turbines to four – two in Scotland, one in Wales and one in England. 50 free bonds will go to the first 100 applicants to buy 1000 bonds or more. As Sharenergy supporters if you’d like to register for bonds ahead of the launch you can do so here – it’s non-binding but SWC will hold your place in the queue until 15 November.
  • The Ynni Teg offer has reached £500,000 and is only open for one more week.  This is a newly installed turbine in Wales that is so far performing very well.  The community fund from this project will go to Community Energy Wales, hopefully leading to the development of much more community energy in time.
  • Grannell Community Energy’s offer is open until 14 December and they really deserve your support – if they can’t raise the funds required then they won’t be able to build their turbine. Both projects are offering shares with returns averaging 5% annually.
  • Oldham Community Power are offering shares in community solar on schools and community buildings and are offering a 4% return on investment, with their offer closing on 6th November.

Sharenergy have also been working hard on a range of other projects, which they’ll send us details of when they are nearer fruition but highlights looking forward include:

  • A proposal for low-carbon rural heat networks working with both social landlords and private housing
  • An ambitious new project to set up regional solar co-ops which will be able to deliver zero-subsidy rooftop solar on a large scale.
  • A wide range of work with existing societies aimed at making them run more smoothly and with less onerous work for the volunteers who keep them going

Do you have an electric vehicle – bike or car?

Transition Leominster are planning to showcase electric vehicles in Corn Square, Leominster during h.Energy weekend on 13th October.  This will be on the same day as Leominster’s local food market (10am-1pm) so there should be a lively buzz of people present.

If anyone has an electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid or an electric bicycle please go along to show it off! Email: transitionleominster@gmail.com or speak to Transition Leominster to let them know if you would like to take part and book a place.

Consultation on Electric Charging Points in Herefordshire

Public consultation on developing a strategy to deliver an electric vehicle charging network across Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Telford & Wrekin is now underway.

Green Shropshire Xchange is hosting this public consultation to seek wider consideration of the draft strategy and action plan.  You are invited to access the various documents and comment accordingly to suggest changes to the text, share your own ideas, offer help or even possibly to host a new charging point.  The closing date for responses is 5.00pm, Monday 17 September 2018 to enable as many individuals, organisations, businesses, town and parish councils to respond.

This initiative arose from a realisation that the existing ‘network’ of electric vehicle charging points in the Marches area is both low in number and limited in its geographical coverage with no-one having any strategy nor funding to develop a strategic network.

There is a little piecemeal activity but no coherent approach nor co-ordination so the challenge is to develop such a strategy and action plan.

The aspiration is to work towards both widening and deepening the existing ‘network’ which is increasingly important in light of the government’s announcement last year of an end to the sale of all new conventional petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2040.

Full details of the consultation and how to respond are found here.

Responses can also be made directly to roberttc.saunders@talktalk.net or telephone 01952 253705 /  07976 697931.

 

 

Climate Choking Plans

Drax power station near Selby in Yorkshire has applied to the Planning Inspectorate for permission to replace its two remaining coal-fired units with much larger ones burning fossil (natural) gas.
 
Drax is already the biggest biomass burning plant in the world and the largest single emitter of COin the U.K
 
Drax claims that this is part of their “strategy to play a vital role in changing the way energy is generated as the UK moves to a low carbon future.” 
 
The reality is that Drax made a net loss last year and switching to burning gas would allow the power station to keep operating once the government’s pledge to phase out ‘unabated coal’ by 2025 comes into force. 
 
If this gas development goes ahead, it will tie the U.K. into the long-term burning of more fossil fuels at a time when we need to drastically reduce our carbon emissions to prevent catastrophic climate change. 
 
It will also enable Drax to continue burning millions of tonnes of wood pellets every year, many of which come from the clear felling of biodiverse forests in the U.S. 
 
If you agree that we should not allow Drax to increase our carbon emissions by burning gas and wood biomass, please help us to stop Drax’s proposed gas development by sending an objection to the Planning Inspectorate. 
 
The deadline for responses is Wednesday the 29th of August at 11.59pm
 
For more information about the environmental and climate impact of Drax’s gas plans, please see the Biofuelwatch briefing here. and follow links to make an objection.
Thanks to Cathy Monkey for sharing this news. Reducing CO2 emissions is core to all of the work of Herefordshire Green Network, particularly in our own lives here in Herefordshire – but of course we’re not an island, and strategies like this give us reason to act global ….

h.Energy 2018: Let’s Do This!

h.Energy is an event in Herefordshire that has been running since 2010.

Would you like to be involved this year? Please tell us how!

Crowdfunder link is also live – please support us here!

This year the event will take place over the weekend of October 13/14, have two main hubs (Hereford and Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum) and other pop-ups around the county according to interest.

Its aim: Promoting sustainable lifestyles, encouraging action to reduce carbon and providing practical support for carbon reduction initiatives.

Your interest and enthusiasm at this stage is what will shape the event – this year once again we currently have very little secured budget to spend on this event, so we are looking to partner with as many of you in our great network as possible.

Previously we have seen films, fun runs, workshops and puppetry all in the name of sustainable energy for life – what will you make happen this year?!

Please let us know how you could be involved in this form by FRIDAY 29th June 2018.

If you have an idea, but you’re not sure if you have the resources – come to our funding workshop with Herefordshire Community Trust on 2nd July. We’ll have a bid written in a morning – promise! 🙂

 

 

Fossil Free Herefordshire

Thank you Gareth and Patrick. A full house and a full workshop last night on how we can get pension funds to stop investing in fossil fuels.

They were talking about the UK parliament pension fund – but so many of the ideas could be used for other lobbying, working with councillors and much more.

Some tough questions, ranging from “if they don’t invest, surely someone else will…” to how to change the mind of someone that’s completely immovable! All questions answered and a load of positive actions in amongst the reality.

Here is a summary – if you’d like to do more please get in touch with Rebecca events@hgnetwork.org. We’ll have an interactive poll on this topic at River Carnival (need some pollsters) and there was real interest in working with sympathetic councillors on this issue. Get in touch!

  • Make contact with your MP – simple tool on the Divest Parliament website
  • Plenty of advice from other network members with experience of visiting our MPs if you’d like to arrange a visit (email if you’d like to be connected)
  • We can create our own pledge to ask councillors to sign – this will build support towards a campaign with MPs
  • Good advice from Councillor Jenny Bartlett – every public council meeting has space for questions, we can ask “How much of the Herefordshire pension fund is invested in fossil fuels?” and bring the issue higher up the agenda
  • Herefordshire shares its pension fund with Worcestershire, so using the links we have within this network would be a great start
  • A poll at River Carnival – “Do you know that your MP’s pension is linked to fossil fuels? Do you want that to stop?”
  • More ideas and resources at the Fossil Free website and email divestparliament@gmail.com to be put in touch with Gareth or Patrick – they are keen to offer support!
  • Share this post on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and let’s get more people talking about ditching fossil fuel investments.

Ecological Footprinting – the definitive list

After some problems with formatting on our last message, here is the way it should have looked .. which is altogether much easier to work with!

 

During Wednesday evening’s session we will be working through a couple of practicals; one very basic online example which almost everyone will be able to do without additional data, the other a much more detailed example using a spreadsheet. Not everyone will have time (or inclination) to collect all the data required for the latter, but the more people that do the better opportunity we will have to examine differences between peoples lifestyle impacts, and uncover any inbuilt flaws in the methodology. I especially invite anyone that believes they currently live a low impact or globally equitable lifestyle to have a go at the detail ! Information needed for detailed example. The calculator uses spending as a metric for ecological loads, so apart from the obvious (use of power and fuel) most of the data needed is asked for in annual spend. The tool distinguishes between new and subsequent user purchases. In addition it excludes spending or uses on business activity- it is ONLY about domestic consumption, so be ready to consider what proportion of your vehicle use for example is domestic and how much business. For the purpose of demonstrating the tool and its application ball park figures are acceptable, if you are able to give a considered estimate for each item that will suffice (ie you are not asked to produce every receipt- we are not HMRC!)

Unless stated otherwise all data are annual amounts.

Household income (all members)

Grid Energy use in kWh (from bills) separated by type.
Off grid electricity in kWh Solar PV or wind.
Bottle gas ( 1kg LPG= 12.77kWh)
Biomass- logs. 1 tonne = 3850 kWh
Coal (includes coal based fuels) 1kg = 8.05 kWh
Oil 1 litre = 10kWh
We can share the arithmatic on the night if you’d rather- just bring your quantities as you have them

Rent/ mortgage
Capital cost of RE and water plant (over 15 years)
If self built- cost of home construction (over 15 years)
Maintennace of dwelling
Goods and services for home maintenance
Water supply and other services.

Travel by amounts spent
Purchase of vehicles
O&M of vehicles (service, parts, tyres etc.)
Rail tickets
Public road travel by bus or taxi
Flights
Journeys on water

Travel by distance
Private use, petrol
Private use diesel
Private use 100% biodiesel

Food bought in
Meat and derivatives (exc. poultry)
Poultry and derivatives
Fish and fish products
Fruit and veg
All oils and fats
Dairy products
Grains, starches and starch products
Bread and other bakery products
Cocoa, chocolate and suger confectionry
Other food products (inc. sugar)
Soft drinks
Alcoholic drinks
Eating out and takeaway meals.

Food grown by you
Compost bought in
Non organic fertilisers bought in
Garden equipemnt purchased
Seeds
Animal feed (only count that proportion used to produce food you eat)
Size of plot- include domestic buildings but not land used for business; in square meters.

Consumer goods
Tobacco (inc. vaping products)
Clothing
Second hand clothes
Footwear
Second hand footwaer.
Furniture, soft furnishings, carpets.
Second hand furnishings
Household textiles
White goods, appliances
Kithchen and table ware
Second hand kithchen and table wares.
Tools and domestic equipment
Second hand tools etc.
Medical products, appliances and equipment
Telephony hardware
PC, audio, TV etc.
Any other durable recreation and cultural goods
Other recreational equipment
Print media, books, stationry
Personal care
Any personal effects not already listed

Services

Post
Phone
Education
Accommodation services
Insurance
Financial services not already included
Other services not included
UK residents spend abroad (holidaymakers)

Savings during year

All fuel spend in year, vehicles and home

These last two are to be used to check sum the totals for error.

 

 

Looking forward to seeing you all on Wednesday – and I reckon we might have to have a prize for anyone who comes along with all of this information ready at hand 🙂

Join us at 7.30pm in the Garden Room, Left Bank Village, Bridge Street, Hereford. 

Personal, Planetary, Political

On Wednesday March 21st Herefordshire Green Network are handing our monthly Gathering over to Pete Linnell who will run a session on ecological foot printing.

“Whoever you vote for, whatever creed you live by, what really matters is the consequences of the choices you make,” commented Pete. The evening’s event will outline a broad range of sustainability goals and critique a selection of indicator tools intended to test for achieving them. Pete’s examination of these tools will help us understand what effect our daily lifestyle choices are having here and now.

“This will be a practical session on ecological foot printing,” said Pete, “This is big picture stuff – and not just about carbon!”

Pete will also share some thoughts about existing policies in Wales and potential for adopting them in England.

 

Put the date in your diaries: Wednesday 21st March, 7.30pm. Join us in the Garden Room at Left Bank Village, Hereford, HR4 9DG for this free informative workshop.

And if you plan to come along please keep an eye on the HGN website in the days before hand.. Pete may well ask us to bring along some ideas to feed into the session!

Keep Herefordshire Warm

Through Keep Herefordshire Warm, Marches Energy Agency currently have access to a pilot project offering emergency grant funding to residents with broken gas heating systems (or those with intermittent faults). To be eligible, residents must be homeowners. Replacements are 100% fully funded and are working on a turnaround of 7 days.

In order to qualify, householders are required to be in receipt of a means tested benefit or have a household income of £21,000 or less (after rent or mortgage deduction), limited savings (<£8,000 for a single person or £12,000 for multiple person household) and have a vulnerability (aged 60 or over, children under 5 or health conditions / disability). KHW advisors can run through this criteria with residents in more detail.

 

This funding is only available until 31st March – so please circulate as appropriate.

For more information or to refer, please contact Keep Herefordshire Warm on 0800 677 1785 or email khw@mea.org.uk

 

1 2 3 7