By Lea Pachta

Community projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions and developing clean, local energy sources are set to receive up to £20,000 funding under a new partnership between the Department of Energy and Climate Change and NESTA.

Community projects aimed at reducing carbon emissions and developing clean, local energy sources are set to receive up to £20,000 funding under a new partnership between the Department of Energy and Climate Change and NESTA.

The collaboration between DECC and NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) will see direct funding and support packages, worth a total of £600,000, provided by DECC to 17 grassroots projects across England. NESTA will administer the scheme.

A low carbon co-operative in Manchester, a project to deliver local hydro power from water mills near Bath, and a plan to install renewable energy technologies on local farms around Winchester, are among the projects to receive funding under the ‘Big Green Challenge Plus’ partnership.

The new money is in addition to funding already allocated by NESTA to 10 Big Green Challenge finalists, announced in October. The winners of the original Challenge will be revealed later this year, sharing in prize money of £1 million. Because of the calibre of the applicants, DECC has agreed to provide funding for a further 17 projects.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said:

“Local solutions to the global problem of climate change are vital if we are to make the shift to a low-carbon future. Yesterday we set out how the Government will achieve this in our UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, but we also need the support of householders and communities across the nation. The winners of Big Green Challenge Plus provide an example of the grassroots action we need to encourage in order to meet our goals.

“I was impressed by the quality of the shortlisted projects — and heartened to see so many people and groups across the country showing real initiative and ingenuity in their approaches.

“We want to support people in their efforts so they can reap the benefits of cleaner energy, a better quality of life, and stronger, cohesive communities.”

NESTA chief executive Jonathan Kestenbaum, said:

“We think that the Big Green Challenge Plus is an inspiring project and that’s been reflected in the high-standard of innovative ideas that have been submitted.

“Community involvement is a vital element in tackling climate change but it’s one piece of the jigsaw that is often ignored by policy makers. So it’s great news that this kind of approach is being recognised by Government.

“We know there is no ‘miracle cure’ to the environmental challenges that we face but giving people the opportunity to get actively involved has to play its part.”

The projects to receive funding are:
1. Rebuilding Communities, London: A pilot project in Croydon will work to reduce emissions from the building industry.

2. Climate Friendly Food, St Helens: will develop a carbon accreditation scheme for local primary food producers.

3. South Manchester Carbon Co-Operative: helping local households buy carbon reduction measures such as insulation.

4. Transition Together, Totnes: Expansion of the successful scheme to promote low-carbon lifestyles within local communities.

5. Community Renewable Energy, Newcastle-upon-Tyne: promoting community-owned renewable energy projects.

6. Islington Carbon Reduction Club, London: will roll out a Carbon Club programme, with participants agreeing to an annual carbon allowance.

7. Sidmouth Carbon Challenge: a project based at the local school, with students acting as low-carbon leaders in the community.

8. Farm Energy Project, Winchester: helping local farmers install renewable energy technologies on-farm.

9. Oxfordshire Eco-Renovation, Oxford: project which aims to make eco-renovations accessible to householders.

10. Redcliffe Carbon Challenge, Bristol: a local school will become a low-carbon community hub.

11. Marlborough Climate Pledge: Local householders join together and pledge to take action on climate change.

12. Do the Green Thing, London: On-line social networking project aimed at encouraging up to one million people to make the shift to low-carbon living.

13. River Power Millers, Mendip: installs micro-hydroelectric turbines in disused water mills, providing clean, local energy.

14. Get on the Greenside, London: training ‘Green Champions’ in inner-city housing estates.

15. The CLEAR Centre, Hamstreet, Kent: funding will establish a community resource centre at the local school.

16. Julie’s Bicycle, London: working with a group of 10 local musicians and DJs to reduce carbon emissions, covering touring, merchandise and other areas.

17. Face your Elephant, London: Woodcraft Folk members will receive training to conduct energy audits across the organisation’s centres and the wider community.

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