A Greener Byfield – promoting sustainability in a village community

A Greener Byfield – promoting sustainability in a village community

India Palmer

On Saturday 14th January Byfield village held its first sustainability event in the village hall. The event came about through eco-enthusiasts India Palmer, who lives in Byfield, and Helen Buttrick, working with the village Parish Council. The Parish Council were extremely supportive of promoting sustainability in the community. The first step was to complete a survey of residents which was promoted through the parish magazine and local Facebook page. The survey asked questions about activities villagers are already doing to be sustainable, what they would like to know more about and some of the barriers they found to being greener. 88% of respondents felt that Byfield should be more sustainable and highlighted specific interest in promoting nature/wildlife, solar panels and heat pumps.  Holding people back from doing more was primarily the expense, with 84% of respondents drawing attention to this as an issue.

The event was directly linked to the survey and designed to support the community and interested individuals in building a greener future.  After consultation with the parish council an event of two hours was planned and featured talks on rewilding by Dr Helen Buttrick, solar panels by Mike Johnson, heat pumps from Richard Corbett and the local pocket park by Chris Butlin. In addition to the talks, time was allowed for attendees to view stalls from a range of local sustainability groups:
  Woodford Community Larder
  Byfield Good Neighbours
  M&S Renewables – solar panels
  Helia Net Zero – sustainability consultants
  Eco4All – sustainability coach
  Byfield Green Group
  Climate Action West Northants

The event was well attended and very positive feedback was received. Several attendees had tried rewilding without much success so appreciated additional advice on how to progress. There was much interest in solar panels and particularly the integration of batteries. There was also interest from individuals in receiving specific sustainability advice for their personal circumstances.

Byfield is a community in West Northants, located about 12 miles south west of Daventry. It is home to approximately 1400 people in 500 houses. Existing sustainability initiatives in the village include heat pump heating at the village hall, rainwater saving and recycling in the cricket pavilion and several local solar projects. Overall, there appears to be an appetite to become more sustainable and we hope to run a future event aimed at families to try and spread the word!

If you would like to find out more or want help running a similar event in your area, please feel free to contact india@cantab.net or 07919 656477.