With the completion of the Horizon 2020 funded ISABEL project, here is a chance to recap and reflect on the status of the most promising UK communities. Whilst some communities are slow in developing there is a lot of optimism that the legacy of ISABEL will continue even after its completion within some of the UK communities, as the catalytic effect of ISABEL still continues to make an impact in the regions where it has been operating.
Some of the promising communities and their activities have been summarised below:
The Grimsby Community led by Positive Activities continues to be interested in exploring better waste management and energy generation in their eco-projects. It is an active community with a strong interest in setting up a community biogas initiative in the region. Since a memorandum of understanding was signed activity has substantially increased and has involved ISABEL UK staff in accompanied visits with Positive Activities to similar developments in York, and to the York sites developers in Leeds as well as to see Positive Activities 15-acre Grimsby site now called the Eco Conservation Centre.
Through various ISABEL activities including the international workshop at Grimsby, a lot of knowledge was exchanged between invited community and other relevant stakeholders. For instance, Micro H2AD, an engineering company that makes micro ADs liaised with Positive Activities founder Mark Fenty and as a result of his interest, Micro H2AD donated an a £100K+ AD unit to Positive Activities in order to help them set up a community AD in the region. The H2AD unit apart from providing power to the Eco Conservation Centre site will also power an aquaponics unit which in turn will be used to demonstrate to other interested parties the value of Community based AD. Further support has continued by the ISABEL UK team in relation to various requirements for establishing the biogas unit linked to technical and community engagement.
Although not as active as the Grimsby community, the Hockerton region led by Simon Tilley continues to identify and engage with new stakeholders in the region. They have been promoting sustainable housing and community energy projects in the region and have interest in better waste management in the community. Various networking and communication activity with Lindhurst Engineering’s MicroH2AD since early 2018 continues to fuel the interest in raising awareness within the community regarding the importance of generating energy from waste. Collaboration between Sustainable Hockerton and ISABEL UK team has continued beyond the end of the funding period for this project linked to newly identify potential stakeholders at the local hospital found by the local champion during 2018. ISABEL’s Surrey team & Sustainable Hockerton’s community motivator continues to communicate and arranged a new meeting in January 2019. The UK team will continue to discuss the possibility of setting up a biogas unit within the premises of the hospital. Some of the other local groups and technical providers we have successfully engaged with and supported will also take part in the meeting.
The third prospective and promising community is the Todmorden one which is supported by a diverse range of stakeholders from the region including Ben Campbell from the University of Durham. ISABEL UK team’s GBTF colleagues continues to liaise with him and Suma Wholefoods into setting up a community digester at a site somewhere around the region. Though not a very active community, there is a strong possibility that Suma Food will continue to liaise and collaborate with the ISABEL UK team in the near future in order to establish a community AD to enable the recycling of food waste linked to their canteen and any waste arising from their supply chain. Interest remains in combining networks in Todmorden who are keen to see progress to identify an appropriate location for a biogas plant in the valley with integrated growing activities for feedstock and a meeting is taking place in January 2019 to discuss the next steps.