Headlines: July 20th, 2009

Seventeen community projects across England are to be the first to benefit from a new partnership between the Department of Energy and Climate Change and NESTA, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. The schemes are designed to cut carbon emissions and to develop local clean energy sources.

The partnership will see a total of 600,000 pounds of Government funding going directly to grassroots projects with NESTA administering the programme. The latest allocation is in addition to the money given last October to the ten finalists in the Big Green Challenge. The winners of the Challenge will not be named until later this year but because of the calibre of the applicants, the DECC has agreed to support the additional schemes.

NESTA’s Chief Executive, Jonathan Kestenbaum, said the Challenge had been an inspiring project and this had been reflected in the innovative ideas local groups had submitted. “Community involvement is a vital element in tackling climate change but it’s one piece of the jigsaw that is often ignored by policy makers,” he said and added: “We know there is no ‘miracle cure’ to the environmental challenges that we face but giving people the opportunity to get actively involved has to play its part.”

The latest successful projects include a low carbon co-operative in Manchester, a scheme to generate power from water mills near Bath, installing renewable energy technology on farms around Winchester and the promotion of community-owned renewable energy projects in Newcastle.