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Ashton Hayes, Going Carbon Neutral

Ashton Hayes is a village in Cheshire with approximately 1,000 residents in 650 houses. It is aiming to become England's first carbon neutral village. Around 400 people attended the launch in January 2006.

All homes were surveyed by students, and the calculation was made that the total output of the village was 4,775 tonnes of CO2 per year. In the first few months of the project some residents had already made changes - for example installing loft insulation, using the tumble drier less, and more energy saving light bulbs. These changes amounted to a total saving of 39 tonnes of CO2 per year, or almost 1% saving within the first months of the campaign.

The scheme is being supported and sponsored by a wide range of businesses in support of their corporate social responsibilities. Project co-ordinator Garry Charnock points out that "Eliminating our carbon footprint will take time but we will help everyone who is willing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions through simple and sometimes cost saving measures."

The Going Carbon Neutral project includes advice to each household on cutting their emissions, installing solar panels on the village hall and other community buildings, and establishing a 'carbon sink' tree planting scheme - 16 trees absorb sufficient CO2 to make an average person carbon neutral. The tress will be coppiced to provide wood for woodburning stoves.

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