Herefordshire Council remains in Conservative control, but the elections of 5th May 2011 have brought in a lot of new blood. ‘It’s Our County’ is an unusual political party in that it has no national affiliations, but it managed to win nine council seats and early signs are that they, along with newly elected Felicity Norman of the Green party, are having a positive influence.
Here’s my personal Wish List for Herefordshire Council:
Energy: The Council should sign-up with a 100% renewables company for all its energy needs. It should also work with all local communities to help facilitate community owned renewables projects, ideally for the combined production of electricity, heat and transport fuels, as for example the town of Gussing in Austria has done via its wood chip gasification process. Community owned Anaerobic Digestion, wind farms, solar pv, projects should be supported. Funds raised though the generation of renewable electricity could be used to set-up a fund to renovate existing buildings, as at Fintry in Scotland.
New Housing: If we are to build thousands of new houses this is an opportunity to build cutting-edge, passive house, One Planet Living style developments. We should consider building district heating systems, in part utilizing solar thermal with interseasonal heat storage, and incorporating a wide range of renewable energy sources, as is increasingly common practice in Denmark.
Existing Buildings: The Council could invite the Association of Environmentally Conscious Builders AECB and others to see if a County wide eco-renovation scheme is possible, and attempt to source funding for this, and possibly like Fintry use renewable electricity sales as a means to do this.
Farming: The council should work with existing local organic farmers to see if it were possible to achieve the kind of good food revolution that Will Allen and the Growing Power team have achieved in Milwaukee. To this end land close to the City of Hereford and the Market Towns should be set aside for Community Supported Agriculture projects. This could be tied to research into soil carbon sequestration.