Cumbria Crack

Carbon reduction projects receive cash boosts from SLDC fund

Exciting and innovative carbon reduction projects have been given cash boosts by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).

Grants totalling nearly £20,000 to 10 organisations have been approved from SLDC’s Climate Change Community Fund, which was launched at the same time as the authority’s Climate Change Action Plan earlier this year.

Applications were invited from charities, community interest companies, parish councils, voluntary groups and other not-for-profit organisations in South Lakeland looking at carbon reduction, enhanced biodiversity that supports carbon offsetting activities, address community action projects that encourage reducing consumption or promotes community/domestic energy efficiency.

Potential applicants were told that the funding must be spent to benefit the local community and that fund would support up to a maximum of 50 per cent of total costs (more than 50 per cent for groups with an exceptional case).

Councillor Dyan Jones, SLDC’s Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Localism, said: “Responding to climate change and enhancing biodiversity is one of SLDC’s four key priorities and I am delighted with the number and quality of the applications we received. The first fund of this nature from SLDC, the Climate Change Community Fund has a finite amount of money and it was a pleasure to receive such an interesting, diverse and worthwhile range of applications and then to be able to offer support to so many.

“This fund was aimed at supporting local action in our communities and the successful projects, while diverse in nature, all support SLDC’s carbon neutral targets in sustainable ways. Thinking globally and acting locally is key to everything we want to achieve through our Climate Change Action Plan and I can’t wait to see the great things these groups are going to do with these grants.”

The successful applicants were:

  • Cumbria Wildlife Trust – £4,000. Helping to keep peatland at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve – a habitat that locks away 5,392 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year – in good health
  • The Friends of Noble’s Rest – £1,500. Next phase of Town View Fields: Natural Flood Management Project to improve watercourse and biodiversity
  • Kendal Town Council – £2,000. To support Kendal’s Climate Change Citizens Jury promote their recommendations.
  • Gill Banks Action Group –  £940. Rewilding Gill Bank in 2021.
  • Burneside Community Energy – £1,800. Connecting carbon in Burneside.
  • Ambleside Action for a Future – £1,507. Warmer Homes for Ambleside. Partial funding for an infrared camera to enable AAFAF to provide a free survey of heat loss to local householders
  • South Cumbria Rivers Trust – £4,000.  Cool Rivers. Producing up-to-date maps of tree cover, as well as species and approximate age/maturity of cover to formulate action plans for tree planting and riparian fencing works in the future.
  • Kendal Cycle Club – £1,750. Adult Cycle Training for 60 adults to Bikeability Level 3.
  • GCAN – £1,500. Grange Climate Action Now (Light Up Lives CIC). Seedlings project nurturing a peninsula of home grown food through a website and Facebook page.
  • Coniston Parish Council – £816. Replacement LED streetlights.

Unsuccessful applicants have been given advice about possible alternative sources of funding they could investigate.

The fund was approved at the same time as SLDC’s Climate Change Action Plan to support the council’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. SLDC also supports a county-wide carbon neutral target of 2037.

In March last year, the council, along with all other Cumbrian authorities and the National Parks, adopted the Cumbria Public Health Strategy. The strategy includes a key aim of becoming a “carbon neutral” county and mitigating the likely impact of existing climate change.


Rewilding Gill Banks in 2021

Members of the Gill Banks Action Group in Ulverston

The Gill Banks Action Group is working to improve a neglected and poorly maintained area of woodland along a stream on the outskirts of Ulverston, a very popular walk for the local community and the start of the Cumbria Way. A 10-year woodland management plan for the area includes removing large numbers of cherry laurels, rewilding areas with native planting and develop a wildflower meadow – an ambitious plan which is making significant improvements to the biodiversity, habitat development and numbers of pollinators in an area between the town and farm land.

Chairman Peter Lowe said: “The award of a grant from SLDC is great news for the Gill Banks Action Group and its aims of re-wilding the very popular but neglected Gill Banks area. The removal of damaging laurel and replacement with native trees and wild flowers has been hugely supported by locals and visitors alike. The work the group has already undertaken has greatly increased the levels of insects and birds seen in the re-wilded areas but there is still much to be done.

“We have an active group of volunteers who enjoy the social and physical side of the project but are always ready to welcome new members. We have erected a notice board at the start of Gill Banks to keep everyone up to date with the project and planned works. This grant means we can carry on with our plans to further plant areas we have cleared with wild flowers and look to the next areas that can be re-wilded and so support a much wider number of  animals, birds and insects.”

Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve

Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve Credit: Cumbria Wildlife Trust

Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s grant will go towards its work at Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve – a habitat that locks away carbon and South Lakeland’s best weapon against climate change. The grant will help to maintain the health of this habitat and to keep it in a healthy condition in order to keep the carbon locked away.

Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve locks away 5,392 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year that would otherwise leak back into our atmosphere.

Paul Waterhouse, Nature Reserve Officer who looks after Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve, said: “It’s great news that we have this grant towards improving Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve. Peatlands and bogs are the best weapon we have against climate change and locking away carbon – carbon that needs to be kept stored away for the health of our planet.”

Peatlands are Cumbria’s most important carbon store – storing five times as much carbon as all of Cumbria’s trees put together. The habitat found at Foulshaw Moss is one of Western Europe’s rarest and most threatened. Around 94 per cent of this unique habitat has been destroyed or damaged in the UK, so these remaining areas are incredibly important. Healthy peatlands and bogs are vibrant and biodiverse habitats – and hugely important in the battle against our climate emergency.

Kendal Cycle Club

Kendal Cycle Club’s grant will use their grant to provide cycle training for adults Credit: Bikeability Trust

Kendal Cycle Club will use their grant to provide adult cycle training up to Bikeability Level 3 to develop riders’ skills and confidence so they can ride in diverse road environments, including complex, often busy roads and junctions. Bikeability is government-recognised, practical and professional training which is provided by Cyclewise, a Cumbria-based Bikeability training provider. Following on from the training, Kendal Cycle Club will provide support for people who wish to do more cycling or explore different aspects of cycling.

Cycling provided highly efficient transport before carbon-intensive travel became widespread, and it is part of the solution for a low-carbon future. It is one of the simplest lifestyle choices that individuals can make to reduce their carbon footprint. It also has huge benefits for their health, their finances and their neighbourhoods.

Iain Childs, Coach at Kendal Cycle Club, said: “Across the UK more and more people are cycling. One of the biggest barriers for people to ride their bikes is confidence on the road. Providing people with the knowledge and skills will reduce this barrier to cycling and make them feel more comfortable riding in and around Kendal. As a community club, we see the mental and physical benefits of riding a bike and want to support others to be able to cycle for commuting, leisure and sport.”

Isobel Stoddart, communications director at the Bikeability Trust and Kendal Cycle Club member, said: “The Bikeability Trust is delighted that Kendal Cycle Club has teamed up with the Bikeability provider, Cyclewise to provide adult cycle training. We know that training can make a significant contribution to getting more people cycling, more often and more safely. There are so many reasons to want to use a cycle to make a journey – to get to the shops, take your family on a leisure ride or commute to work. Kendal Cycle Club’s enterprising project will enable participants to enjoy cycling with skill and confidence.”