Welsh Green Valleys solutions head for Copenhagen

Based in the picturesque Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, The Green Valleys community project and Talybont on Usk Energy have been chosen to be featured in the TV series ‘Road to Copenhagen’, which is part of the United Nation’s Seal the Deal Campaign. In the lead up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on the 7th of December, the series was broadcast across Europe and Asia during the months of September, October and November on the CNBC network. The series will also be showcased during the summit itself as part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stand.

Filmed by Back2back productions in the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park, the short film follows the community energy initiatives for two Big Green Challenge* entrants – ‘The Green Valleys’ in Wales and ‘Global Generation’ in Kings Cross, London – focusing on their practical solutions that are setting the UK towards a green energy revolution.

The Green Valleys has spent the last year working on community based energy initiatives that are dramatically altering the way Wales uses and generates energy.  With 11 micro hydro generators already installed across the National Park and a further 50 viable systems already identified; irrigation systems for allotments; energy audits and thermal imaging on homes; woodland management for the production of local wood fuel and low carbon transport initiatives – it suddenly becomes apparent why this tiny part of Wales is creating big green waves on the world climate change stage.    And if all this isn’t enough The Green Valleys is also waiting to hear if they’ve won a share in £1 million pound from NESTA’s Big Green Challenge competition which is due to be announced in January 2010.

Wales’ first community hydro turbine in Talybont on Usk owned and operated by Talybont on Usk Energy is also featured in the film and has been greatly supportive of The Green Valleys community project.  Mike Bugler, Chairman of Talybont on Usk Energy said:  “We look forward to hearing if The Green Valleys has been successful in the Big Green Challenge competition and we were delighted to have worked with them on this short film.  We have been happy to share our experiences with the Green Valleys Dyffryn Crawnon hydro project which I understand could be a stepping stone for them to become Wales’ first carbon negative community.  We are constantly looking at new ways to reduce our carbon footprint and only this week, we have placed an order for an electric car which will be owned and used by our local community and its visitors.”

Chris Blake, Director of the Green Valleys said: “To have our community based energy initiatives showcased at the Climate Change summit in Copenhagen is a huge accolade for the Green Valleys and all the communities who’ve been dedicated to finding solutions to mitigate climate change.  The hard work that’s gone into seeing good ideas turned into tangible developments producing fantastic energy solutions is nothing short of inspiring – which is why we have so many communities across the National Park involved with the Green Valleys.  To have the rest of the world now watching our progress is humbling but it clearly demonstrates how local initiatives are relevant to people all over the world.”


Photographs:  Copyright of The Green Valleys and Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority
Hydro power in action – Grenville Ham, Community Development Officer for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority demonstrating the principles of hydro energy to local community children.
Talybont on Usk Energy Hydro Turbine – Local community children watching the hydro turbine in action.

Notes to Editors
1. *The Green Valleys community project in the Bannau Brycheiniog aims to reduce carbon emissions through a number of initiatives and is hot in the running for the £1 million pound winning prize which is due to be announced in January 2010. Set up by community volunteers, the Green Valleys beat off stiff competition from 350 entrants to become Wales’ ONLY finalist in NESTA’s Big Green Challenge climate change competition – submitting grand plans to combat rising fuel costs and tackle climate change in the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.  Just some of their plans include restoring a network of micro hydro schemes in the Bannau Brycheiniog streams and rivers, assisting local people reduce their fuel bills through community-led energy saving initiatives and to develop large scale peat bog restoration work.  To find out more about The Green Valleys please visit www.thegreenvalleys.org

2. Llangattock Green Valleys (one of the smaller communities involved with The Green Valleys) has already won the Welsh final of the British Gas Green Streets programme.  Subject to final survey and contract, Llangattock Green Valleys will be one of 14 projects from across the UK who will all receive a share of the £2 million funding pot.  Llangattock community had met all the campaign’s goals for making energy efficiency savings across the community, generating renewable energy and engaging the local residents and surrounding community.

3. Talybont on Usk Energy is community owned company and was initially formed to install hydro-electric generating equipment and use the proceeds to invest in further sustainable projects and education in their community. Talybont on Usk Energy is dedicated to promoting the generation and use of sustainable energy, renewable energy and energy efficiency in the heart of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park and beyond.  To find out more about what Talybont on Usk Energy is doing or how you can join in their activities please visit www.talybontenergy.co.uk

4. Back2back Productions, who are based in Brighton, is an independent production company creating challenging and thought-provoking television programmes. For further information please visit www.back2back.tv