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Former BWCE Fund grant recipient Energy Efficient Widcombe have re-launched as Go Green Widcombe with big plans to combat the climate emergency. Tim Williamson and Steve Cross explain.

Widcombe ward lies across the river from the railway station in Bath. For the past decade, Energy Efficient Widcombe, part of Widcombe (Residents) Association, has focused upon carrying out thermal imaging surveys, mainly of residents’ homes but also of community and commercial buildings. We’ve also taught in local schools and arranged lectures.

Image provided by Widcombe Association

We are a small group of enthusiastic volunteers who initially had some training from Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) Sustainability Department. Initially we paid a coordinator to keep us organised and get jobs done. This required funding and we are grateful to BWCE for two very useful grants in this regard. A large chunk of the coordinator’s role was downloading the data from the old Thermal Imaging (TI) camera and writing the reports. More recently, we’ve bought a much smaller new camera with wi-fi connection and are now managing without a funded coordinator.

In March 2019, B&NES Council passed a Climate Emergency resolution, calling for significant acceleration in the pace of our carbon reduction activities. The penny was dropping. We all had to up our game. So Energy Efficient Widcombe refocussed its aims to address cutting the burning of fossil fuels and increasing renewable energy use and generation. As a result, we also changed our name to Go Green Widcombe!

In 2020, the pandemic limited our plans, so we’ve been updating our Go Green web pages on the Widcombe Association website. We’re currently working on four projects:

  1. Continuing to work with local residents borrowing the TI camera, but with all instructions and energy efficient measures online.
  2. Switching to green energy suppliers – the quickest, easiest way to stop burning fossil fuels. We found that so many people would like to switch but never get round to it. So we offer a simple pathway to do it.
  3. Installing Solar PV, a mission which has several options. These include suggesting to local residents to consider investing in BWCE. In addition, we are examining the bulk purchase of Solar PV panels for installation on local houses. Such projects have already been carried out in Chippenham and Frome.
  4. Suggesting people consider going for Green Homes Grant. This government scheme is assisting residents to improve their green footprint.

Although a small group of volunteers, Go Green Widcombe has an important role ahead. On our new website, we have a strapline:We are all depending on this giant leap – so apart from the need for national political advances, many of the changes will come down to small communities doing their thing locally.

If B&NES is to become carbon neutral by 2030, this means that issues like domestic heating systems, lighting and cooking need to be addressed within the next four years (*). How will that happen in Widcombe? That’s the challenge for us.

If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer, please email [email protected]

* Bath & North East Somerset Council Climate Emergency Study Discussion Pack September 2019, page 14.