More than 40% of the UK’s CO2 emissions result from the choices we make as individuals, we can take action on this global issue by reducing our own CO2 emissions.
Northumberland National Park Authority is ramping up its efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of our protected area, with a range of activities during Climate Week 2011.
The 405 square miles (10302 kilometres) of Northumberland National Park is an important carbon store for the country and contains around 40 megatonnes of carbon, mostly locked up in its peaty soils and forests – the equivalent of a year of emissions by 10 million average cars.
In addition Northumberland National Park is officially the most tranquil place in England and has four of the country’s cleanest rivers – so it’s worth looking after.
Tony Gates, Chief Executive of Northumberland National Park Authority said: “Ensuring that the National Park and its communities are equipped and in a good position for climate challenges is very high on the Authority’s agenda. Together with local communities and partners we have set ourselves an aim of ensuring a living working landscape in Northumberland for now and the future. Northumberland and all National Parks around the country are taking a lead in demonstrating how sustainable living and working is possible and can make a difference.”
Roof insulationAs part of a drive to lower the carbon footprint of the National Park as an area, the Authority has partnered Northumberland Warm Zone and the Energy Saving Trust to offer Park residents free cavity wall and loft insulation and will be promoting it through the duration of Climate Week.
The scheme aims to ensure that each of the 800 properties within the National Park has the minimum recommended level of loft insulation and is fully fitted with energy efficient light bulbs where practical. The offer will run until the end of 2012.
People who are interested should contact Robert Mayhew, Head of Programmes and Specialist Services on 01434 611539 or email@example.com.
Renewable Energy Community Awareness Programme
With assistance from The Energy Saving Trust, Northumberland Warm Zone, Northumberland County Council, the Green Energy Doctor and National Energy Action, Northumberland National Park Authority is providing independent advice for its residents on how to save energy, save money and become less dependent on fossil fuels for energy needs, as well as information on Government initiatives such as the ‘Feed in Tariff’ and ‘Renewable Heat Incentive’.
Most visitors to the National Park arrive by car and the charging posts will reassure electric cars users that rural areas can be accessed for leisure and business.
Tree Planting on Hadrian’s Wall at Thirlwall Castle, Tipalt Burn Woodland
Growing trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere and lock it in to the living wood, so planting new areas of woodland helps to offset whatever carbon is being used.
Recently, volunteers planted 500 trees at the National Park’s recreational site at Walltown on behalf of Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Limited. A further 300 trees have now been planted at Thirlwall near Greenhead to off-set the carbon used by the National Park Authority in 2010.
To date, over 100 hectares per year (the equivalent of 100 football pitches) of new native woodland has been planted in the National Park.
Heather moors and the Simonside Hills
Working with farmers and landowners from Hadrian’s Wall to the Cheviot Hills, work to re-wet and preserve the peat of Northumberland’s extensive border mires and blanket bog is underway, as well as reseeding great tracts of hill country with heather.
Business and community projects which find ways of reducing energy; reclaiming waste; re-using water; developing local products, providing local employment or living and working in a greener way which encourages wildlife, are often supported with grants.
Case histories of these projects can be found here.. A number of community initiatives looking at micro hydro generation using local rivers are currently being investigated.
Cheviot Futures is a co-operative initiative between the National Park, Tweed Forum, Environment Agency and Natural England, to help land managers adapt to the challenges of a changing climate.
Initially the project established a number of flood-debris prevention and livestock safety measures following severe floods in the Breamish Valley. The project will now focus on delivering practical land management projects and also uses the centres at Fenton and Ingram to explain to visitors the impact of climate change and how everyone can help to mitigate it.
The work of the project can now be supported directly through capital works funding for innovative solutions available through Cheviot Futures, in addition to funding from agri-environment or other sources.
The key difference between phase one and phase two, is that now Cheviot Futures is a truly cross-border project, with funding and support from Scottish partners, and money available for practical projects on both sides of the Border. More information at: www.cheviotfutures.co.uk
National Park bids to drive forward a low carbon rural economy
The National Park Authority committed in its Management Plan to making renewables the dominant source of energy for businesses and communities in the National Park using the area’s renewable natural resources. By working closely with regional businesses and communities the National Park aims to
- Harness the natural supply of fast flowing water from the hills to provide cheap and renewable energy for upland farms;
- Create renewable energy solutions with real and immediate social impacts using local wood to help heat and power the communities in fuel poverty in our Region’s deep rural areas;
- Produce real-on-the-ground training apprenticeships for people wishing to work in businesses which design, build and maintain renewable energy, and
- Inspire people to visit the Park using electric vehicles including eye-catching promotion of electric vehicles along Hadrian’s Wall;
- Be a role model and mentor to rural communities in the region.
The low carbon action plan will reinforce the Authority’s existing programmes to address the challenge of climate change, encourage sustainable tourism and traditional farming and contribute to delivery of the climate change strategy being led in North East England by Climate NE.
A three point plug for a low carbon future
There's no doubt in our minds that business as usual is not an option. There are challenges ahead and we must all play our part. But it's not all doom and gloom because there is lots of support and information available.
Here are some tips and useful links to help you work towards a safe, prosperous, low carbon future. Start by saving money (1), and practising good habits (2), after that it's time to look at new ways to create heat and power (3).
1. Save energy and reduce waste ACT on CO2
- Get an energy monitor for your home or business
- Insulate and switch off Warm Zones
- Do more things with one car journey or use public transport or a bike Why Cycle? Traveline Route Planner
- Buy local or grow your own
2. Re-use and recycle Resource Network North East
- Compost your food waste
- Buy second hand
- Recycle your cast offs
3. Create energy efficiently Energy Saving Trust