TRACC – A year on
Just over a year ago was not exactly a great time to launch a Residents’ action group to combat climate warming. Response to an article last March in the Parish Magazine to publicise and recruit members wasn’t exactly overwhelming. Understandably the immediate threat of something called Covid19 was a lot more frightening than the destruction of the planet. Apart from myself, only fellow Parish Councillor, Keith Wellsted became the founding members of the BT Action group. Further efforts and articles in the Parish Magazine during the lockdown months met with little success. Originally we had planned to hold village meetings to generate interest but as this was out of the question, it was decided that time would be better spent learning from the experience of established local climate action groups and finding out what support and funding are available from local authority and national initiatives.
Undoubtedly making contact with Bob Sherman at Harbury Energy Initiative (HEI) was to prove invaluable. Founded 2011, HEI leads the way when it comes to reducing emissions by generating renewable community energy from wind and solar sources. Bob has provided a range of useful contacts and ideas including a name for our group. He came up with TRACC (Tachbrook Residents’ Action on Climate Change). He also suggested that a way to engage residents was through their children. HEI organised the children at Harbury Primary School to carry out an energy efficiency survey on their homes. It’s a project TRACC are planning for BT.
However our first scheme, organised by our third member Kay Haycock was a competition supported by Head teacher Mrs. C Kilbey, Head Teacher at BT CE Primary School. Kay proposed a competition for the youngsters to think up a name and design a logo for a children’s version of TRACC. The winner was 8 year old Harriet Lankfer who produced a really scary picture and a superb name, “The Can Doers”.
TRACC’s knowledge bank has built up over the year. We are members of Low Carbon Warwickshire Network (LCWN) that provides news and webinar talks from local Climate Action Groups. LCWN advised on companies to provide information and cost for installing an Electric Vehicle charger at the proposed new car park on the Meadow. I have attended a number of talks including a very informative presentation on electric and hydrogen powered vehicles organised by Kenilworth Town Council’s Climate Emergency Working Group. I also took part in a webinar on the future of rural transport organised by The Rural Community Energy Fund. Plus useful information has come from Coventry’s Green New Deal Group.
TRACC has a had advice from Dave Barber, WDC Programme Director for Climate Chang and Alan Rhead, portfolio holder on environment and Neighbourhood. TRACC members were consulted for WDC’s People’s Inquiry on Climate Change by Emma Royston, a BT resident who had been tasked to find the level of interest and Climate Change initiatives in BT with a view to reviewing and supporting future activities. Emma is now a member of TRACC.
Zoom meetings are held regularly to plan projects and strategy. The latest developments include considering suitable community initiatives eligible for Green Shoots Funding through WCC. The latest projects comprise a Repair/Recycle hub based in the new storage shed near the allotments. Residents bring along all manner of things: electrical, mechanical, bicycles, toys, you name it, let the repair team get to work giving them a new lease of life and not add to landfill. Don’t chuck it, mend it is the theme. TRACC plans to sign up to the Repair Café Wales operating model as this has proved to be very successful and has been adopted by nearby Barford’s Bar Zero Repair Shop.
In addition TRACC is proposing a Carbon Capture Planting programme around the Parish. This will involve a detailed survey of the parish to identify suitable areas for planting (including permissions from land owners). Green Shoots funding is available to support cost of planting trees etc. Allied to this is a plan to plant green spaces with herbs and wild flowers. This is often called guerilla planting and it’s an ideal project for getting children involved in climate change action. Space permitting there maybe a communal garden or community orchard. Lastly, setting up a Communal Composting system is being planned to recycle food and garden waste.
It has been an extremely challenging year but, despite this, progress has been made in establishing a Group dedicated to doing its local best to reverse the effects of climate change. What’s more TRACC has just welcomed two new members, Kelly Box and Lisa Brealey. As Covid recedes from ruling our lives, TRACC will be more active, doing its bit to protect BT and the planet.
Get in touch, tell us your ideas and join TRACC to help BT combat Climate Change.