Pembrokeshire South East Energy Group were delighted to welcome Peter Willis of the Welsh Government's Pathfinder Programme to their recent meeting.
Peter explained that the aim of the programme was to record, support and learn about community based action on climate change. The project is not about telling people what to do but to find out what is already being achieved. The data obtained will be recorded on a nationwide database which will be used to help guide other similar groups and help determine future Welsh Government policy.
Already 700 projects have been identified across Wales with over 100 in the Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire area. They are all inspiring community based actions. Best practice is identified and though no financial assistance is available there are existing 'pots' that the Programme can signpost groups to.
Three learning communities have been chosen to become case studies. These are not traditional green groups and the work is still at a early stage. Climate change and carbon reduction are the criteria and this breaks down into four main areas – transport, energy, food and water.
The three case studies include Pembroke 21C – the most established group – which is setting up a food project called 'Make a Difference'. The second is a sheltered housing scheme in Pembroke where there is great concern over rising fuel and water costs. The third scheme is in Llanelli where the main thrust is to address fuel poverty.
Many community groups currently work on energy projects, such as neighbourhood energy challenges, energy audits, carbon foot-printing and setting reduction challenges. Appointing Energy Champions in schools, where pupils help their school to save energy and bring down costs, is particularly commendable. Retrofitting energy saving measures, often sponsored by the Welsh Government, are also highlighted. Recipients must also be advised that the aim is not to allow them to open windows whilst the heating is on or to wear shorts and tee-shirts in December but to reduce their energy consumption and bills!
Food is a wide ranging issue. Community growing space, allotments, home growing, garden share, veg box schemes, farmers markets, encouraging local outlets to use local produce are all encouraged. Narberth Transition are planting fruit and nut trees around the town and they may be harvested by the general public. Campaigns aimed at reducing consumption of meat and dairy products, reducing use of air freighted fruit and vegetables and not wasting food will be added to the database. It has been shown that if people buy locally only what they need there is very little waste.
Innovative transport schemes have been noted, such as the Carmarthenshire 'book-a-bus' scheme which takes people from where they live to a trunk road to access a bus. Car sharing and car pooling, walking rather than using the car for short journeys, the 'walking bus' for school pupils are other such schemes.
Peter stressed that there were many inspirational and innovative groups that were already involved, either directly or indirectly, with reducing carbon emissions.
The Chair thank Peter for a fascinating and thought provoking account of the Pathfinder Programme.
|4th November 2011||The DeltaStream project: A talk by Chris Williams, Development Director of Tidal Energy Ltd.|
|30th September 2011||How Green is my Valley?: A talk by Grenville Ham, Manager of The Green Valleys Project|
|23rd September 2011||PSEEG's visit to Carew Mill with Marten Lewis of the Darwin Centre|
|5th August 2011||The Manner of the Message: A talk by Neil Sefton on communication skills|
|24th June 2011||The Work of the Darwin Centre: A talk by Marten Lewis, manager of the Darwin Centre|
|27th May 2011||Electric Cars – The Road Ahead?: The talk by John Lilly of Dragon Electric Vehicles|
|13th May 2011||Are electric cars the way forward?: A talk by John Lilly of Dragon Electric Vehicles|
|22nd April 2011||Sustainability in Action: A visit to the Science & Technology Park (Technium) in Pembroke Dock|
|1st April 2011||A Revolution in Wind Energy?: A talk by Vaughan Griffiths from Quietrevolution, Pembroke Dock|
|25th February 2011||Preparing for Floods: A talk by Richard Wickes of the Environment Agency|
|14th January 2011||The Way Forward for Wind?: A talk by Steve Hack of Seren Energy|
|12th November 2010||How Green is your Castle?: The National Trust & Global Warming|
|15th October 2010||Challenge of the Rising Sea: The effects on the Pembrokeshire coastline|
|10th August 2010||The beautiful Welsh coastline: Response to possible rising sea levels|
|18th June 2010||Visit to Costain at Canaston Bridge: Not Costing the Earth|
|16th April 2010||Feed in Tariffs: Power to the People|
|12th March 2010||Heat Pumps & Photo Voltaic Panels: Prepare for the Goodlife|
|12th February 2010||Parliamentary Candiates at Green Question Time in Saundersfoot|
|15th January 2010||Weather & Climate: A Question of Energy|
|4th December 2009||Sustainable Community Ventures: Regeneration in Pembrokeshire|
|13th November 2009||Community Initiatives: Sustainable Wales leads by example|
|16th October 2009||Climate Change Challenge for Candidates & Micro-generation with wind turbines|
|2nd October 2009||A Visit to Castle Pill Wind Farm: Quiet blows the wind|
|11th September 2009||Renewable Sustainable Energy: An Energy Survey for South East Pembrokeshire|
|10th July 2009||A talk by Lorraine Dallmeier of Infinergy: Wind Power - Pembrokeshire's Potential|
|12th June 2009||St. Oswald's, Jeffreyston - Pembrokeshire's Beacon of Sustainability|
|24th April 2009||Solar Panels: Three Cheers for Sunny Pembrokeshire|
|13th March 2009||Ashton Hayes Community Energy Reduction & Hot Water From the Sun|
|13th February 2009||Could Pembrokeshire go carbon neutral?|
|14th November 2008||Environment Wales to provide 'Start-Up' Funding for PSEEG|
|17th October 2008||PSEEG to become a Registered Charity|