This year we have funded 14 projects with a total of over £80,000. We have supported a wide range of renewable energy schemes, biodiversity projects, community schemes and training this year. Projects are detailed below:
Sustainable Projects Map 2006/07
Projects supported in 2006/07:
This project was planned for 2005/06 but due to bad weather was delayed until 25 April 2006. Claren offer advice to community groups on renewable energy, and this event was held to inform groups from within the AONB about the variety of projects and technologies being used in the area. 75 delegates attended the event held at Barley Village Hall (which has its own photovoltaic cells, funded by SDF last year), along with 13 companies who came to exhibit their renewable technologies. Many groups were inspired by the information and have gone back to their own communities to develop new projects. Grant total £1,509.
This project was already at the planning stage when the Claren event was held, and in fact they did a presentation on their plans for the conference. Since then the project has taken place on the ground, with a new woodchip boiler and underfloor heating system being installed early in 2007. The boiler will be fuelled by locally sourced wood, so reducing the need for transport and fossil fuels. The hall plans to open for business at the end of May 2007. The grant was for £15,000.
The neighbouring villages of Slaidburn and Newton in Bowland have joined forces to employ a parish lengthsman. Our funding has kickstarted this project, with the hope that it will become self supporting in the future. The two parish councils are very pleased with the post and have seen a marked improvement in the upkeep and appearance of the villages and footpaths in the area. Grant total £2,940.
This scheme was run by Lune Habitat Group to improve the biodiversity, and fishing interest of a stretch of the River Wenning between Bentham and Clapham station, by fencing a buffer zone along the river banks. Last year we deferred their SDF application and carried out site surveys into the landscape and ecology of the area, in order to ensure the proposed fencing did not detract from the area’s ‘natural beauty’.
Accordingly, plans were re-drawn and a new application made to SDF this year to only fence selected portions of the river corridor: a grant of Â£15,545 in total.
The Wader Project was awarded a grant of £10,000 to support their work in the AONB. This funding has enabled the project to secure a further 2 years funds from RSPB, and to continue the excellent work they have been involved with in monitoring wading birds and encouraging farmers to improve land for wading birds. During the 2006 breeding season 250 pairs of lapwing were found and monitored across 52 selected sites, and 9 farm projects have been advised on Entry and Higher Level Stewardship schemes.
Lancashire Wildlife Trust were been awarded an SDF grant of £4,823 to support the employment of a graduate trainee, working at Aughton Woods nature reserve in the Lune Valley for one day a week. This provided valuable employment experience and on the job training for a committed conservationist, and also enabled this relatively quiet reserve to be developed as more of a community resource with its own volunteer force. Practical work, including sycamore and larch removal has improved the conservation value of the woods, and an event is planned at the site for the forthcoming Bowland Festival.
This small project just outside the village of Wray, has created a new community orchard for residents and visitors to enjoy. Fruit trees are being planted in the Spring and Autumn of 2007 with grant support of £1088 from SDF.
This is a new venture which has set up a native tree nursery for Bowland. We gave the project a grant of £3566 to support set up costs - buying a polytunnel, pots and compost - and to help develop the project. Seeds will be collected locally every year, and the resulting trees will be available to landowners and farmers as well as to community schemes within the AONB.
Growing with Grace is a well established organic market gardening co-operative, based near Clapham in the Craven part of the AONB. They approached SDF with the idea of producing their own bio diesel, from used chip fat, to power a new delivery van. This new van will enable the business to develop a new organic box scheme in the Lancaster and Blackburn areas. SDF offered them a grant of £7,960 to purchase the van and set up the bio diesel workshop.
Lower Gill Farm is a small holiday complex near Tosside consisting of farm houses, holiday cottages and an indoor swimming pool. The owners were keen to replace their expensive gas heating with a more sustainable woodchip boiler. After seeing a similar system in action at Capernwray Hall, they developed a heating system using one boiler to power all the buildings. Once match funds were secured our grant of £12,000 enabled the laying of heat distribution pipes in the Spring of 2007.
Last year SDF part funded insulation works and the installation of a wood pellet boiler at the parish hall in Bleasdale. This year the committee extended their commitment to renewable energy by planning to install a wind turbine to generate electricity for the hall. After lengthy negotiations with the community and the planning authority, the project still had a funding gap of £2682. SDF was able to cover this with a small grant and the project is due to go live in Spring 2007.
As part of our support for renewable energy in the AONB we have been keen to encourage businesses and communities to convert to wood fuel heating systems. One barrier to this has been the lack of local experts in this technology, and the fragility of the supply chain. Working with Lancashire County Council’s Woodland Project, and with a small grant of £2091, Rural Development Initiatives agreed to set up and run an accredited training course in Bowland in January 2007. This was attended by 12 delegates, most of them from within the AONB. Course modules included handling, storing and delivering wood fuel, processing wood fuel, and wood fuel consumers. We are hopeful that in the future we will be able to support a co-operative of wood fuel suppliers in the area, and be able to meet the demand for wood fuel heating in the AONB.
Looking Well in Bowland is an arts initiative, run as a pilot scheme by Pioneer Projects of Bentham, which has explored the viability of developing arts activity holidays in the area. Our funds (£5,500) have matched a grant from Yorkshire Arts Council and have enabled a project manager to be employed to organise arts activities, using Bowland as a theme and inspiration. Their first project was to support and record the annual Bentham bonfire, and they are now heavily involved in the Bowland Festival.
Lancaster University is located on the fringes of Bowland, and is an ideal start point for cycling into the fells. This project, run by the Travel Plan team, provided bike workshops, training events, and information on where to cycle safely into Bowland. A small grant of £3,200 supported this work.