Town could be one of greenest in UK

The community of Ilkley needs to get together if answers are to be found in time to problems of climate change and dwindling natural resources, according to a group aiming to make the town one of the greenest in the country.

Residents concerned about the environment want to follow in the footsteps of towns such as Totnes in Devon, by combining the efforts of the wider population in a joint effort to make Ilkley more environmentally friendly and economically sustainable.

People in the inspirational Devon town have got together to reduce carbon emissions, work on local projects for cleaner and non oil-dependent energy.

They even trade in a local currency, Totnes Pounds, in a scheme to boost the local economy and make it more self-sustaining.

More towns are already taking the initiative in a scheme linked to the national Transition Network organisation.

Transition Ilkley is inviting other residents and organisations to get involved in making Ilkley an official Transition town.

While Governments and local authorities are making some changes to help the environment, and many consumers are increasingly making greener choices, campaigners fear this is not enough to make a real difference.

Members of Transition Ilkley believe the most effective way of bringing real progress in greener living is for entire communities to work together. They have already introduced their ideas to Ilkley Parish Council, and hope to win the support of Bradford Council.

Transition Ilkley member Michael Baldwin believes whole towns should take the initiative to combat climate change and manage energy needs before oil and gas prices rocket as natural resources are exhausted.

"Towns like ours need to be doing their bit." he said. "If we wait for governments we'll be too late, if we act as individuals it won't be enough. If we work as a community there might just be enough time."

Communities already working on the Transition initiative are keeping an eye on Peak Oil – the point at which the world extraction of natural petroleum oil reaches its peak and goings into terminal decline.

Transition Ilkley wants to engaging with as many local organisations as possible to set up projects.

Schemes set up in Totnes include a food group encouraging residents to grow their own food, and develop a relocalised food infrastructure with the help of businesses and farmers.

An energy group in Totnes is meanwhile encouraging residents to reduce the amount of energy they use, and begin developing renewable energy infrastructure. Neighbours there can sign up to become official energy-efficient Transition Together groups, making them eligible for subsidised solar power systems.

People so far getting involved in Transition Ilkley include members of churches, the University of the Third Age organisation and environmental groups.

Transition Ilkley will hold its next meeting in the Dales Room at Christchurch, The Grove, at 7.30pm on Wednesday, July 28.

For more information about the group telephone 01943 602414.


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