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A new project , Insulating Eden, is underway that aims to benefit and inform residents, and businesses, in the Upper Eden area about property insulation measures along with the development of a community energy generation scheme. This is following a successful application by the Upper Eden Community Interest Company, formally the Upper Eden Community Plan to the Local Energy Assessment Fund from the Department for Energy and Climate Change.
A deeply rural area, Upper Eden is heavily dependent on farming and tourism to support the local economy, in these industries it is often that the home is also the place of work. With the rising cost of fuel, low wages and higher travelling distances, all contributing to a high level of ‘fuel poverty’ in the area, this project seeks to address ways in which the community can tackle energy consumption and thermal efficiency through practical and achievable methods. The ward of Warcop is the 2nd worst in Cumbria in terms of fuel poverty with Brough coming close behind at 4th worst.
The project involves external surveys of properties across the Upper Eden parishes to be carried out by Gilmore & Stone Associates. Residents will be made aware of the surveys by posters and letters to their homes. The surveyors will carry a letter from Appleby based Crimson Chameleon Ltd who have been contracted to manage the co-ordination, marketing and local engagement with residents. The local police will be notified when surveys will be taking place.
Once the surveys have been completed a targeted range of properties, especially those of a more traditional construction and recognised as hard to heat, will be offered in depth surveys. These surveys will use infra-red technology to show heat loss and areas of ingress on the properties. Findings of which will be presented at local road show information sessions to be held in 5 venues across the area, between 10th March and 24th March. These road shows will present the survey results, highlight ways in which property owners can improve their household insulation and introduce the governments ‘Green Deal’, anticipated to launch in the autumn. Cumbria Action for Sustainability have been engaged to provide expert support at these events. Local businesses, that can add practical experience or supply services in energy efficiency measures, will be invited to the road shows so that residents will have plenty of opportunity to find out what they can do to help reduce their energy bills.
The second element of the Insulating Eden project is that of the further development of the Wharton Wind energy project. This project is already underway, gathering data for a possible wind energy project in the parish. Insulating Eden will support the furtherance of this venture through the production of a business plan, along with the environmental impact assessments, habitat surveys etc.
A website, www.insulatingeden.org.uk, has been created to share the findings gathered from the surveys and be a source of information regarding improving thermal efficiencies of properties in Upper Eden.