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Planning for the planet

With all the hoo-ha about the Station Works proposals and deliberations concerning the old sports centre development, a spotlight has been shone on local planning. Key among the many aspects to consider is place ‘design.’ Unpacking this catch-all is rather daunting, but a crucial element is energy efficiency/sustainability. How can local planners get it right – for people and planet?

Fortunately, guidance is on the way, hopefully in time to inform the next iteration of the Tisbury Neighbourhood Plan. Wiltshire Council are preparing a Design Guide based on national guidelines. Among the national recommendations are some encouraging pointers. For example, they say that well-designed places and buildings should reduce the need for energy through ‘passive’ measures including ‘form, orientation and fabric’. In other words, they should be energy efficient in their structure and siting. They should also use energy efficient systems including heat pumps, heat recovery and LED lights. And they should maximise renewable energy through ‘decentralised sources’ including on-site generation (such as rooftop solar panels) and community-led initiatives (such as solar farms).

All well and good, but these things need to be tailored to each new development – specific, detailed and agreed between planners and developers. Costs need to be fairly apportioned using appropriate levies and grants. We should certainly ensure they are applied to the seven affordable homes brokered by the Community Land Trust on the old sports centre site. But the principles should also be incorporated into the revised Neighbourhood Plan and imposed on any other new local developments. Parish councils in particular need to be on the ball and Nadder Community Energy stands ready to assist.

Coming soon – Green Energy for Schools – our latest share offer

Details are being finalised for our forthcoming share offer. We have selected six schools just over the border in Dorset who are keen to participate in our next tranche of solar installations. They all have roof spaces sufficiently well positioned and large enough to accommodate a cost-efficient array of solar panels. We will be supplying and maintaining these free of charge to the schools in return for an undertaking by them to purchase as much of the generated electricity as they can use, at a much cheaper price than their regular supplier. Any unused electricity will be sold to the grid.

To do all this we will be raising the necessary capital through an offer of shares in the scheme, with a highly attractive rate of interest. This will be our third share offer, following two very successful previous schemes, and will bring our total solar portfolio, including farms and commercial buildings as well as schools, up to around 750kW.

It’s a great initiative for all concerned. The schools will save money, allowing them to spend more on education and facilities. Our investors will get a good return on their investment. And not-for-profit Nadder Community Energy will have more money to spend on projects to benefit local communities.

Oh, and it’ll be good for the planet too. Watch out for further announcements.

Great Big Green Week (10th –18th June) – Tisbury Eco Energy Trail

To help give GBGW a flying start, Nadder Community Energy will be staging an Eco Energy Trail with 18 eco/energy sites for people to visit on the afternoon of Saturday 10th June, starting at 1pm. Most are homes where the owners have installed such eco-friendly adaptations as solar panels, heat pumps, electric car chargers, domestic batteries, heat recovery units and various other green gizmos.

Most of the hosts will be onsite to talk about their experiences – the cons as well as the pros – and full details will be downloadable from the NCE website ( Also look out for our colourful trail map flyer in Tisbury’s shops and other distribution points.

The afternoon will end with tea and eco-mingling at the New Victoria Hall from 4 – 5pm. All welcome – site hosts, trail participants and anyone who happens to be passing. No green credentials required!

Alan Maryon-Davis

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