Projects supporting South Cambridgeshire to become zero carbon awarded £120,959 by Council

Projects supporting South Cambridgeshire to become zero carbon awarded £120,959 by Council

News release: 20 January 2020

The 19 community projects that will receive £120,959 to help South Cambridgeshire become zero carbon were revealed today (Monday 20 January).

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s new Zero Carbon Communities grant was established in May 2019 to drive the Council’s ambition for the district to become net zero carbon before 2050. The fund will support local groups to undertake ambitious activities to reduce carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, and promote behaviour change towards low carbon lifestyles. Groups were invited to bid for £1,000 to £15,000.

Two applicants were awarded the full £15,000, with both focusing on raising awareness and educating people on the issues around carbon emissions:

  • Cambridge Carbon Footprint’s Net Zero Now project, which plans to equip local people to respond to the climate crisis. The team will run conferences and training sessions to build skills and knowledge, as well as developing an online hub of relevant local information and resources
  • Cambridge Sustainable Food, which will run a 12 month ‘Food Our Future’ campaign to raise awareness of the links between carbon emissions and meat and dairy consumption. The team will encourage people to take up practical solutions at 34 events, talks, stalls, workshops, food festivals and training sessions

Three further applicants received £10,000 or more, all for schemes to encourage cycling:

  • Teversham Parish Council, £14,477, to run a subsidised scheme with four electric bikes, four bike lockers and four cycle stands to encourage cycling to work at major employers in and close to Cambridge
  • Papworth Trust, £13,392. Pop up bike shops and safe cycling and repair workshops, using OWL Bikes to enable disabled adults to develop skills (customer service, IT and bike mechanics), meanwhile teaching local people how to repair bicycles
  • CycleStreets Ltd, £10,000, will combine existing ‘PlanIt’ and ‘Cyclescape’ applications to create a new StreetFocus site, which will enable communities to identify changes needed to improve cycling routes

A further five projects will also promote cycling, purchasing electric bikes, installing cycle racks and/or establishing bicycle repair cafés. These are Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership, £6,500; Cambridge Cohousing (a community established in Orchard Park to undertake environmental initiatives), £5,000; Great Abington Parish Council, £2,055; Waterbeach Cycling Campaign, £1,200; and Fen Ditton Parish Council, which will also install a drinking water fountain, £1,500.

Of the remaining nine successful applicants, four will run projects to plant trees or hedges (which will absorb carbon and increase biodiversity): Histon & Impington Trees Action Group, £6,500; Whittlesford Parish Council, £3,611; Cambourne Town Council (around the cricket pitch), £2,538; and Great Wilbraham Parish Council, £1,000.

Two projects will continue the theme of tackling food production, distribution and waste as contributors to carbon emissions: Orwell Benefice’s Living Food Bank, which will establish plots to grow vegetables and introduce opportunities for food production in people’s own homes £4,150; and Sustainable Cottenham’s Eco Eats campaign and festival £2,520.

Finally, Ickleton Village Hall committee will replace all the current lighting in the hall with low energy equivalents, £8,387; Melbourn Parish Council and Melbourn Village College will put in place the students’ idea to provide six water refill stations, £6,000; and Gamlingay Eco Community Group will offer plastic free alternatives via a monthly pop up shop, £2,129.

The successful applicants were revealed today when papers were published ahead of the Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee on 28 January, at which the decisions made by the Grants Advisory Committee will be announced.

Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, Cllr Pippa Heylings, said: “Our Committee pushed for this funding to be allocated to the Zero Carbon Community grant and it was fantastic to see the range of ideas that came forward from across the district. Local people know what works best in their villages. Providing per-project funding of up to £15,000, our hope was to raise the ambition across the district for meeting our zero carbon target together. Looking at the scale of the plans of the two successful applicants with the highest funding, Cambridge Carbon Footprint and Cambridge Sustainable Food, I am absolutely delighted to see that community groups are now going to have the chance to reach many more people and share innovative, practical and tasty ways for everyone to play their part in tackling the climate emergency that faces us all. We want to support our residents to be the change they want to see.”

Lead Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr John Williams, said: “Grant schemes are a really effective way of helping local groups to make a positive difference in their village, and the Zero Carbon Communities grant is a fantastic way to do this with a deliberate focus on climate change. The successful applicants have shown they have the capacity and resources to deliver these projects, that tie in so well with the Council’s commitment for the district to become net zero carbon before 2050. All of the project plans are excellent. From the bold and imaginative like the StreetFocus site, to the practical and hands-on schemes like tree planting and installing cycle racks. We’re really proud of this first year’s applicants and look forward to re-opening the grant to new applications in 2020/21.”

The Zero Carbon Community grant funding comes from business rates from renewable energy sites in South Cambridgeshire that are retained by the Council and earmarked for use in green initiatives.

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