A small village just outside Stafford is pointing the way to low-carbon living across Stafford Borough. That is the aim of the award-winning Derrington Way Ahead project, which was launched in spring of 2009, and has since come to the forefront of efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of Stafford Borough. The initiative was spearheaded by the Borough Council's Climate Change and Sustainable Development team, but centres on the involvement of the local community, with input from specialist agencies including Beat the Cold and Sustainability Matters.
Visitors flocked to Derrington's first Local Food Festival in September 2009
Enthusiastic support of Derrington villagers has enabled the staging of various events dealing with sustainability, including a Launch event in May and a Local Food Festival in September. Other highlights have been a series of films about climate change, shown in the Village Hall, and a talk by Richard Davies of Marches Energy Agency. In just a few months, over 15% of households have had energy surveys performed by Beat the Cold, with each receiving an energy performance report detailing recommendations for cutting energy consumption and reducing the household's carbon footprint.
There is a 10-fold difference in carbon footprints between the smallest and largest, according to Jules Hill of Beat the Cold. She has calculated the average to be 14.65 tonnes per year, using the on-line assessment at www.carbonfootprint.com.
In November, Derrington Way Ahead beat hundreds of other applicants to gain national recognition and a prestigious Green Apple award, at a ceremony held at the House of Commons. Representatives of Stafford Borough Council and Derrington village received a Bronze Apple from actress Alexandra Bastedo.
Karen Davies, Norman Jones, Sue Challinor and Rosemary Lofty receive the Green Apple award for Derrington Way Ahead from Alexandra Bastedo (centre) at the House of Commons
The project rounded the year off by taking part in the BBC Breathing Places Tree O'Clock event, helping members of the local Cooper Perry Primary School in Seighford to plant 15 fruit trees in the school ground. Another 40 apple trees were adopted by villagers in Derrington to plant in their own gardens. It is hoped that tasty home-grown apples will be harvested in years to come - showing how food can be grown locally.