Malhamdale Green Communities Project
In 2010 Malhamdale was accepted into the Yorkshire Dales Green Communities Programme and a project team was setup, Kirkby Malham School will take a lead role in this project and Nick Bradley will be the School's Green Governor, other members of the group include Sandy Tod, John Varney, Adrian Pickles, Chris Wildman, Wendy Carr, Vicki & Mike Spence, Gary McHale, Chris & Mary Cribb. Further details about the project can be found on the Green Communities page here
Malhamdale Renewable Energy Group - aims of the group
The aims of the group are to reduce Malhamdale's reliance on fossil fuels and to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by the Dale's homes and businesses by:
carrying out a survey of energy usage and potential energy resources
promoting energy conservation in homes and businesses
investigating alternative renewable energy resources in the dale
working with the Local Planning Authority to provide a strategy to implement energy conservation and renewable energy measures
investigate the scope for community energy projects
Malhamdale has a high proportion of older properties, many of which, because they are listed, are not amenable to alterations to bring them up to today's high standards of thermal insulation. This, combined with the constraints of introducing micro-generating projects such as domestic wind turbines or solar panels into a protected landscape, means that adapting individual residences to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is a serious challenge. For many in the Dale it will simply not be practicable to achieve the low level of carbon emissions that are inevitably going to be required in the not-too-distant future. In these cases community projects, such as district heating schemes or community investment in small scale renewable energy projects are an alternative.
Energy Survey of Malhamdale
In October 2006 we were awarded a grant by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund, which is managed by the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust to carry out an Energy Survey of Malhamdale with the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) of Machynlleth, North Wales. The aim, to establish the “carbon footprint” of the dale and to investigate the best means of reducing energy consumption of our homes and businesses by conservation and making the most efficient use of local renewable energy resources to generate heat and power. The Dale being within the Yorkshire Dales National Park is a protected landscape and due consideration has to be taken of planning constraints imposed by the Local Planning Authority.
The survey involved sending out 300 questionnaires, one for every home in the dale. Results from 100 completed questionnaires returned were analysed by CAT to assess the suitability of wind power, solar, hydro and biomass systems for the different areas of Malhamdale. The study also looked at energy efficiency and methods to reduce fuel consumption and bills.
The study found that Malhamdale homes and business incur annual costs of £630 per person and produce emissions of 12.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide, a total of 8,000 tonnes for the dale as a whole. The survey also provides information on energy awareness, fuel consumption and interest in renewable energy technologies. According to Sandy Tod, the Group’s leader, this level of emissions, which does not take into account vehicle emissions, is considerably in excess of the average for Yorkshire and the Humber.
A report has been produced which details recommended methods to improve efficiency including draught proofing, additional insulation and greater awareness of electricity usage. Solar panels to heat hot water are most likely to reduce energy bills in the short term while changing from fossil fuels to wood (biomass) is the best option for greater reductions in carbon emissions. As the Dale has relatively few trees, areas for planting are to be sought, both for environmental reasons and to provide wood fuel for the future. Community heating schemes are to be investigated. The report gives guidance as to where small scale individual wind and hydro projects to generate electricity close to demand might be sited, however the importance is recognised of minimising the visual impacts these measures will have on the Dale’s landscape and built environment.
Following a meeting at Malham to review the report’s findings and recommendations Moya Turrell, Sustainable Development Officer said “This report, when completed, will provide an invaluable reference to residents planning to implement energy efficiency measures in their homes and businesses, including many examples of existing renewable energy projects in protected landscapes. It also provides a strategy for reducing the carbon footprint of the dale”.
The Malhamdale Energy Report report is now completed and can be downloaded by clicking here.
Implementation of the Energy Strategy
Implementation of the strategy will involve home and business Energy Audits which can be carried out by members of the Renewable Energy Action Group. We will recommend energy conservation measures such as better insulation, low energy light bulbs, double glazing, etc and any other areas where you might be able to reduce your consumption of fossil fuels and electricity, such as switching off appliances rather than leaving them on standby. The survey will also identify potential sources of renewable energy such as solar, wind, biomass (wood), hydro, etc. If you would like to register your interest in having an energy audit of your property please contact Sandy Tod by email or phone 01729 830690
If you do wish to install an individual wind turbine, small scale hydro plant, solar panel or even a ground source heat pump planning consent will be required. The conservation of the special qualities of the National Park are paramount in considering any planning application and having implemented the measures recommended by an audit of your home or business, as well as the effectiveness of the proposed project in terms of saving greenhouse gas emissions will carry weight when your application is considered by the Local Planning Authority.
If you are interested and want to get involved with the Renewable energy Group please contact the Group Coordinator: Sandy Tod Tel. 830690
History of the Malhamdale Renewable Energy Action Group
The Renewable Energy Group was formed to share information and experience of renewable energy technologies, to keep abreast of developments and to look into possible community projects in the dale.
The first meeting was held on 26th Jan 2004 with the support of Yorkshire Renewable Energy Network (YREN) when 9 people turned up. A project to demonstrate technical and financial viability of a range of Renewable Energy technologies within National Park planning guidelines, and apply for funding as a community group was proposed however more support was needed. During the summer of 2004 a portfolio of potential small scale renewable energy projects was compiled and technical and economic viability investigated with help from suppliers and installers of wind turbines, solar panels, small scale hydro plants and ground source heat pumps.
By August 2004, 15 technically viable projects on 10 properties had been identified and priced; 4 solar thermal, 4 small scale domestic wind turbines, 4 heat pumps, 1 micro-hydro and 2 solar PV. By extrapolating pricing on these projects to potentially 30 households (10% of the total) who were interested in installing at least one renewable energy project yielded a potential capital expenditure of over £500,000. It is obvious that to optimize this investment and to avoid a mass of unsightly and inefficient solar panels and wind turbines a strategy for the dale needs to be developed. Three solar and 2 wind turbine projects were visited by 2 representatives from the planning department of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The outcome of this was that due to potential visual intrusion only 2 of the solar panels were likely to gain planning consent.
Renewable Energy Group Meeting - Monday, 22nd November 2004, Beck Hall, Malham
The meeting on 22nd November was arranged to try and clarify the Park’s criteria for granting planning consent to small scale renewable projects. The meeting was attended by a representative from Yorkshire Renewable Energy Network and two Yorkshire Dales National Park officers who confirmed the YDNPA’s policy is to support appropriate small-scale renewable energy schemes. The YDNPA does not permit large-scale renewable energy developments such as wind farms. “Small scale” is defined as being any domestic or community power schemes with perhaps, any surplus being sold to a local distributor.
Planning decisions are based on whether the scheme will cause lasting damage or erode the special qualities of an area. Solar panels are more likely to be successful on new buildings than on old buildings. They should not be sited on a prominent roof or be visible in an important vista or visible from a popular right of way. They will not be permitted on listed buildings. The potential impact of many solar panels will be taken into account. Suitable sites include roof valleys or sloping roofs hidden from public view or on relatively modern buildings such as farm buildings.
Small scale wind turbines need to be carefully sited and possibly coloured to minimize visual impact, for example sited against a backdrop of trees. They should not be sited in open landscapes but should be associated with a group of buildings such as a farmstead so that their purpose is obvious. They should not be placed close to listed buildings. “Planning gain” will be an important factor, i.e. the elimination or avoidance of transmission lines.
Renewable Energy Group Meeting - Monday, 21st February 2005, Beck Hall, Malham
Following on from November's meeting which discussed mainly planning issues the next meeting of the Group on Monday 21st February looked into savings that can be made by relatively inexpensive and unobtrusive measures such as improving loft insulation, low energy light bulbs, more efficient boilers, etc.
Free Low Energy Bulbs contributed by Powergen have been distributed to many households in Malhamdale. Some are remaining – claim yours now!
Since the drafting and acceptance of The Malhamdale Plan the Renewable Energy Action Group has been formed. The group’s aim is to develop an energy strategy for the Dale to optimise exploitation of renewable resources while respecting the integrity of the landscape and environment.
This will entail the following actions:
Carry out an audit by questionnaire of current use of the main fuels - electricity, oil gas, coal, wood, etc. to determine current level of greenhouse gas emissions.
Carry out an audit of attitudes of residents and visitors to determine perception of what is and is not acceptable, visually and environmentally
Carry out an audit of renewable energy resources in the Dale
Determine and study YDNPA, CDC and NYCC policies on energy conservation
Draw up a draft Energy plan for the Dale, in consultation with community groups, Parish Council/Meetings, YDNPA, etc.
Publish Draft and make presentation at an open meeting
Investigate funding for community projects
Item 1 took the form of a questionnaire which was included in the May 2006 Parish News. Unfortunately response to this has been very poor, only 6 questionnaires having been received up to the current update.
Four of us attended a 3 day course in September 2006 organised by the National Trust to train people how to carry out energy audits of homes and small businesses, particularly aimed at the Trusts farms in Malhamdale and Wharfedale. The four members of our group will initially be required to carry out audits on the National Trust’s farms, but then will be available to use their newly acquired skills to carry out audits of selected homes and businesses in Malhamdale.
This energy audit will be entirely free of charge and will include recommendations on how you can save energy by simple low cost actions, such as turning off lights when not in use, not leaving appliances on standby, installing more insulation, etc. If you would like us to carry out an audit of your property please contact Sandy Tod by email or phone 01729 830690
Results from this audit will feed into an Energy Survey of the Dale being carried out by Malhamdale Initiative with CAT (Centre for Alternative Technology) who are based at Machynlleth in North Wales. This survey has been made possible by funding from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s Sustainable Development Fund.
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