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  • Climate Essentials Workshop review

    Workshop run by Change Agents UK on behalf of Derbyshire Dales Community Energy and Bakewell Climate Action

    Article by Dave Locke

    On the evening of Tuesday 4th June, we were given an educational talk and slide show by Alex Cockburn, a teacher and expert on the complex issues climate change is bringing. There were slides showing the injustice of climate change where the lowest emitters are suffering the most. He also introduced the Sustainable Development Goals as a way to end poverty and protect the planet. He then asked us: what can we do – as individuals and as a community? 

    Our various groups came up with the following:

    Food security

    Home-grown, seasonal food using gardens, allotments and possibly a small community field. This way produce could be shared, along with seeds and knowledge, as happens naturally on allotments.

    We already have a Farmacy Cooperative that works out of the agricultural business centre in Bakewell: they pack up to 500 organic food boxes every fortnight that are currently distributed throughout the Midlands and present a huge potential market for any new local growers. What an opportunity for food security, reduced carbon emissions and lower prices!

    Energy supply

    Reducing energy needs is an obvious priority, and ensuring that new houses are built to a high insulation standard with heat pumps and solar panels is a starting point. Many people in the meeting already have solar panels so understand the need to create more local energy. Derbyshire Dales Community Energy, working with the Big Solar Co-op, is already putting solar panels on many businesses in the area, but needs support to do more. Solar for Schools is working towards putting panels on Lady Manners school, but that is just one school. 

    There are opportunities to put small hydroelectric turbines at a number of sites on the Wye and Derwent, whilst of course considering the needs of local wildlife. Small windmills could also be used for community energy. Permission from the Peak District National Park Authority is a potential limiting factor, and is something that needs to be challenged. All of these are possible with enough people power and all would lead to better energy security and lower energy prices.

    Decarbonised transport

    Small electric buses might be possible. Timetables need to be coordinated with trains to make using public transport more useful. There should be more availability to take bikes on trains for our cycling visitors, and safer routes are needed for cyclists to take families on roads shared with motorists. For example, in France, on designated roads, motorists are made aware via speed limits and signs that cyclists share the space and act accordingly. There are also campaigns to reopen the railway, with a transfer of leisure cyclists on the Monsal trail to new active travel routes between our villages.


    We are all proud of our town and river and welcome visitors, but sometimes our bins overflow sending rubbish down the river. We also need our rivers monitored for sewage spills.


    Many of us have been affected by floods and storms. Some ways to help might be to restore flood plains and even reintroduce beavers upstream. We were helped by the Environment Agency by the supply of an underground pump and flood proof doors.

    Arts and events

    One person recalled a performance in Youlgreave which highlighted the importance of trees to people using the example of the people’s fight for the street trees of Sheffield. We also saw a pantomime about the Three Little Pigs, in which one pig wanted to build an eco-house but faced restrictions from a Planning Authority, played by the wolf! These are ways to get our messages out, through art, stories and poems. They can change culture. Perhaps we could have children’s drawings and poems displayed publicly in the town – after all, it is on their behalf that we are working.

    Next steps

    Attendees’ ideas will be pursued at further meetings – the next meeting will be held on Monday 8th July at the Wheatsheaf Pub in Bakewell. To find out more or join the group, please contact Dave on or Georgina at

  • Our first installation begins!

    We are so excited to announce that today, 10th June 2024, DDCE’s first community energy installation begins! The roof of the well-loved Twiggs Stores in Matlock will soon be home to an array of solar panels, which will generate clean electricity to power the store.

    Twiggs’ panels are due to generate approximately 50,000 kWh of electricity per year, which is the same as 18 average UK homes*.

    A huge thank you to:

    • Richard Tarbatt and the staff at Twiggs, for taking the leap into community energy with us
    • Big Solar Co-operative, for making this dream a reality by designing the installation, raising the funds and dealing with the details
    • the individuals in Derbyshire and beyond, who have invested in this scheme
    • Smart Homes Electrical, for carefully and expertly installing the panels
    • and of course, all the volunteers at Derbyshire Dales Community Energy, who have worked so hard over the past 3 years to bring this project to fruition.

    We’ll share our press release and a short video soon. We’ll also be hosting an event to celebrate Twiggs and community energy in Derbyshire – watch this space!

    We wish the team all the best for the installation and look forward to seeing the panels in action.

    *Reference: (accessed 10/06/2024)

  • Free Climate Essentials Workshop – Bakewell, 4th June