Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Exmoor micro-generation symposium leads the way on energy from local sources

NEARLY 200 people from all over Exmoor attended the E4Exmoor event held last Friday at the Ralegh’s Cross Inn and organised by the Exmoor Trust.
Both morning and afternoon sessions were packed with people from a wide variety of backgrounds - including householders, communities, businesses, and councils - to receive the best possible advice on the importance of local contributions of micro-generated energy.
Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, former director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, at Kew, spoke with deep insights of the importance of protecting the ecology and bio-diversity of Exmoor.
His attendance as a scientist of international standing demonstrated the importance of the Exmoor area, its habitat, ecology, and diversity.
Mukti Mitchell, a nationally-known expert on low carbon lifestyles, spoke about practical ways of reducing people’s carbon footprints.
Ben Eardley, from Renewable Energy for Devon (RE4D), was a mine of information about cost-effective ways to obtain sources of renewable energy.
Ian Bright, from Somerset County Council, described the authority’s approach to reducing low carbon emissions to meet targets and also covered the remaining technologies.
There were opportunities to raise questions on planning, funding, and all the technologies during a panel discussion and also with suppliers of equipment who displayed all types of energy generation, both of electricity and heat.
Because Exmoor has ample supplies of water, wood, and wind, there was considerable support for improving investment in water and wood.
The conference was an appropriate reminder of the significance of the need for local action to help preserve Exmoor’s unique environment.
Mr Mitchell believed it was the first such comprehensive symposium in the country and felt it should act as a template for a national run-out of such events.
Exmoor Trust chairman Edwin Beckett said that the rocketing price of fossil fuels would mean many people on Exmoor were likely struggle to avoid ‘energy poverty’.
He hoped the trust would continue to help advise on funding and drew attention to the easy reference aide memoire which was now available on www.exmoortrust.org.uk.
Because of the depth of feeling and enthusiasm in both sessions, it was considered important for an action programme to be followed through.
Therefore, a group met immediately to determine how best to carry forward the issues arising from the event.
Archie McIntyre, the business trustee who organised the event, said the success of the symposium was a great credit to the support from his fellow trustees and also to Edwin Beckett, their retiring chairman.

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