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                    to take enterprising action
against climate change

LLANGATTOCK GREEN VALLEYS NEWSLETTER

Issue 56 - January 2015


ENERGY GENERATION PROJECTS:
Construction is progressing well on Cwm Gu, our first micro-hydro scheme, just outside Crickhowell. The turbine house base has been constructed and the penstock pipe for the lower half of the scheme has been joined together, dragged into position and trenched. We can’t start work on the upper part until next month, due to a shoot in that area. We are still looking for a replacement for Llwmws, our other MH-1 scheme, and would be interested to hear from any landowners who think they might have a viable micro hydro scheme on their land (Email hydro@llangattockgreenvalleys.org).
There has also been significant progress with our MH-2 schemes, as we now have full planning permission and licensing for Nant y Hafod, Gargwy Fach and Nant y Gadair - thanks to our partners TGV Hydro for their efforts on this front. Computers were glowing over the festive break as New Year’s Eve signalled an important FITs registration deadline, and we managed to secure our FIT tariff rates for these three MH-2 schemes with a day to spare. The only setback was Blaen Dyar, which was refused planning permission, and we are looking into redesigning this scheme and expect to resubmit a planning application early in 2015.
We are now also exploring a number of big PV roof mounted schemes with the potential of another co-op being launched. We hope to include local schools and agricultural barns in the scheme, as well as large commercial buildings, village halls, chapels and churches. Anybody with a building with a large roof who would like to explore either doing it at the same time for themselves (and so reducing their costs through the benefits of bulk buying) or leasing the roof to the co-operative (with a deal on cheap electricity) please get in contact with me: andrew@wernwatkin.fsnet.co.uk. Many thanks, Andrew.

THE STATE OF THE GRID:
We have had a recent discussion with Western Power and the Welsh Government on the state of the Electricity grid in Mid Wales and its capacity to connect any more renewables. Demand in Mid Wales is down by 20% (good result from all those energy saving schemes) and renewable generation is up (equally good news) and as a result the main power network is near /at capacity, including a significant amount of speculative take up in grid capacity, which is not actually being used. In some areas Western Power is refusing to even countenance any more renewables over the minimum sized domestic solar scheme because the connection charges are disproportionately high down at the community-energy-scheme-end. This is obviously a big issue for greening the whole of Wales and may well affect our future plans. Currently virtually all our schemes are booked with Western Power and thus not affected. Quite why the Grid has not reacted to the expected changes in advance is a subject of some lively political debate. One community Hydro scheme in South Wales of 18KW was sent a quote for £5.7 Million to connect to the grid! Chris Blake of TGV Hydro and Michael Butterfield (and ex director of LGV) have been involved in these discussions and are meeting WG Officials, Assembly politicians, OGFEM and Western Power Distribution to address these issues. Watch this space for news. Watch this space for news. 

PLEASE ASK US!
If anybody would like to look at our finances or discuss our schemes, please contact us and we will be very happy to help. We are proud to be operating a transparent and successful Community Interest Company.

LLANGATTOCK COMMUNITY WOODLANDS (LCW):
LCW have recently been awarded funding to purchase a petrol driven portable winch.  The new winch is now in full swing with team 1 pulling up a dumpy bag full of logs to be split by team 2, shown here on 16 December 2014.

We are very grateful to Powys Environmental Partnership and Monmouthshire Building Society Acorn Award.  The logs would not have made it up the steep incline to be split without a winch as are they are large rounds, too large for our volunteers to lift and move safely.  The winch means we can process more wood for selling as fire wood to help financially sustain the group and support volunteers with refreshments, safety equipment and training.  The winch is small but powerful.  Being petrol driven means it is very portable and can be used in all our woodlands.  We manage 5 woodlands with volunteers support around Llangattock.  This is Jarrett’s Wood, a privately owned woodland of around 10 acres. 
LCW has been a charity for a full year now and our Trustees are justly proud of the commitment and enthusiasm of all our volunteers.  We will give you plenty of notice of our first AGM as a Charity very soon.  If you are interested in environmental management, green wood crafts or bee keeping then please do get in touch.  Contact Huw Lloyd on his mobile 07773 791207, visit our website lcwg.btck.co.uk or email eric.gower@gmail.com for a membership form.
'A Date for Your Diary' - Litter Pick - Jarrett's Wood, Sunday 25 January 10:00 till 1:00 with BBQ.  Please email jackiecharlton@msn.com if you would like to come along and help.  This is historic fly tipping.  Our winch will be in full swing pulling out old tyres, pushchairs and lots of other rubbish. 

TY’R ASH MEADOW:
We are hoping to get the planning application submitted in time for consideration at the next National Park Authority Planning Committee in March.  It will be good to get this moving now and the next stage is to find funding support to buy the bridge which will cost around £3,000 to build and set in place.  There will be a call out for volunteers hopefully either late spring or early summer to help build the bridge.  Glanusk Estate has been very supportive and Llangattock Green Valleys will be looking to encourage a new group to take over the future running of Ty'r Ash Meadow with Crickhowell High School once the bridge is in place.  This will improve access into Ty'r Ash Meadow for young families with pushchairs and wheelchair users as well as provide the outdoor classroom space for the High School.

ENERGY AUDIT 2015:
If you live in Llangattock and haven’t filled in a questionnaire please spare a few minutes to complete the online survey at Llangattock Energy. This will help us develop a clear picture of energy use in our village and the more who respond the more holistic and useful our survey will be. Many thanks to all those who have completed the survey so far.
Help please! If you are already involved in the energy audit, please can you spare a few minutes to send us your views on how this is/has been beneficial to you?
Things to think about: Have you reduced your fuel usage as a result of being involved? What steps have you taken to do this? Have you made any home improvements to reduce your energy bills? Have you changed your fuel supply or incorporated a new, more sustainable or locally sourced energy supply? Has being involved in the energy audit changed your behaviour towards energy consumption in other aspects of your life?
If there is any anecdotal evidence you can share with us about your experiences of being involved, that supports the reduction of your own/the community’s carbon footprint, please let us know. We are hoping that this information can be used as supporting evidence for our bid to be recognised as a carbon negative community towards the end of 2015. Please send your contributions to Simon Walter: admin@llangattockgreenvalleys.org

COMMUNITY ENHANCEMENT - LLANGATTOCK LITTER PICKERS:
LLP are holding its AGM at The Rectory on January 29th at 7.30pm – everyone is invited to come along and see our results and future plans for 2015 and see ways in which you too can help enhance our community.

We have been successful in securing £499 funding from Keep Wales Tidy through its Small Grants programme which will be put towards the installation of another 14 flower troughs (including the additional ones in Clos Cilau/Plas Derwen) in addition to the 9 that are already in the community. You will have noticed that verges are being cut, edged and maintained on Beaufort Road from the junction at the Vine Tree right up to Beechwood House (just before Horseshoe Inn).  Weeding is also taking place on pavements against walls. 

The group is looking for volunteers in Clos Ciliau and Plas Derwen but also generally in the community to both water and deadhead plants in the flower troughs and to mow grass on verges where flower troughs are situated.
LLPs have put in a grant application for £500 for the costs of wildflower seeds for sowing on the three grass verges on the right hand side of Beaufort Road from the cemetery entrance to the corner at the side of The Plas. These areas are being prepared in readiness for the seeds to be sown in spring.     
We seek more volunteers both in terms of litter picking and maintenance of flower troughs/wild flower verges/mowing grass. We know time is precious but if you have any to spare we would greatly appreciate some if it!
The December community litter pick yielded 2.5 bags of rubbish and January's community litter pick saw 5 volunteers and a beautiful canine hearing-dog friend called Lucy collect 7.5 bags of rubbish along with 2 tyres. Thanks to all who turned out on both of these days, the latter was not a particularly nice morning, but Llangattock Litter Pickers are made of stern stuff, however!
The Llangattock Litter Pickers Annual Report for 2014 is now available and makes impressive reading. Please follow this link to view.

The next Community Litter Pick will be: Saturday 7th February 2015.
We are also delighted and proud to inform you that Llangattock Litter Pickers has been shortlisted under the Cleaner Communities Award at the annual Keep Wales Tidy "Tidy Wales Awards". We will know if we have been successful on the 26th February 2015.

FREE ENERGY SURVEY FOR SME’s:
British Gas are offering FREE Energy Survey for SME's as well as fully funded energy saving installations for eligible businesses.

The British Gas Energy Efficiency Fund is designed to help micro-businesses manage their energy costs in the long-term, by providing free expert advice and energy efficiency measures.

The fund has been created by British Gas as part of the settlement of an investigation by Ofgem, concluded in April 2014, into British Gas’ breaches of its Standard Licence Conditions 14 (1), 14(3) and 7A. More information about the investigation and breaches can be found on the Ofgem website.

Eligible businesses will receive a free on-site energy survey, as well as fully-funded installations of energy saving measures valued up to £6,000 per business, helping you save money on your energy bill. 

Site surveys will be carried out by trained professionals and will identify the right range of measures that can be delivered at your site – this could include new LED lighting, a boiler replacement, new insulation or other methods to control your energy use.

Eligibility: You will be a micro business if you meet any one of the following conditions:
- Use less than 100,000 kWh of electricity a year
- Use less than 293,000 kWh of gas a year
- Have fewer than 10 employees (or their full-time equivalent) and your yearly turnover, or yearly balance sheet, is not more than 2 million Euros. 

The consumption threshold applies to the fuel being supplied.

Register your interest here: https://www.britishgas.co.uk/business/energyefficiencyfund

LGV VOLUNTEERS NEEDED PLEASE! CAN YOU HELP?
We are looking for a number of people who would like to get involved at Director and non-Director level. Please get in touch with Andrew Fryer if you would like to explore the ways in which you can help: andrew@wernwatkin.fsnet.co.uk

MEMBERSHIP:
To find out more about joining please visit Llangattock Green Valleys.

 





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