Communities across Norfolk are being asked by offshore wind farm developer Vattenfall: “Tell us today how you’d like to shape a cleaner future?"
Villages, families, organisations, individuals, businesses, groups and societies are invited to join its work to set up a multi-million-pound community fund which could start to benefit Norfolk communities hosting its Norfolk Vanguard and Boreas wind farms as early as 2023.
The funds would be in place for the 25-30-year lifetime of the wind farm projects and designed to help communities make the changes needed to live “climate smart".
Vattenfall has started a six-week online survey to start the conversation. Feedback will be used to set priorities for how people want to see the funds flow.
Ideas could focus on:
- Low carbon travel and transport
- Education projects and improving life chances
- Community group activity to live better land tackle climate change
- Wildlife projects
Dr Catrin Ellis Jones, the Norfolk projects’ stakeholder and communications manager, said other Vattenfall projects had run similar successful funds.
“We look forward to working in Norfolk for the next three decades and, over that time, want to play our part in supporting communities to transition to low carbon living," she said. “We’re launching an open conversation today with a few simple but important questions – tell us what’s important to you and your community to thrive in a climate smarter world. What positive difference can you make in your community, supported by funding from our wind farms?"
Ambassadors from across Norfolk are lending their voice to the launch of the conversation, with young people calling on people of all ages to take part in the survey “to make our future better".
Nineteen-year-old Michael Denby, studying engineering at University Technical College Norfolk, with dreams to work as a wind turbine technician, said: “This is the most important time for people to seize the opportunity to have their say about the way they are living and the standards of climate-smart living, allowing their community to have a better tomorrow.
“A small change is still a change. To quote Sir David Attenborough: Stop waste of any kind. Stop wasting power, stop wasting food, stop wasting plastic. Don’t waste. This is a precious world. Celebrate and cherish."
Konstantinos Chalvatzis, Professor in sustainable energy business at the University of East Anglia, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for all of us in the Norfolk community to say what we love about living here and start thinking about the energy and climate future we want for our region."
Norfolk businesses working on Vattenfall’s projects will be spreading the message to get involved. Andy Bodycombe, who is working to make his Norwich-based business HexCam as sustainable as possible, said: “By using local supply chain companies like us, Vattenfall has already invested in the local economy. We've been able to accelerate our plans to make HexCam a more sustainable business and are really excited to see funds now being made available to help local communities and organisations realise their own ambitions to develop sustainable projects.
"Inviting involvement at the earliest possible stage is so important to give people a real sense of ownership of their ideas. I'd personally love to see more community-owned renewable energy projects as well as fully funded and well-delivered environmental education in our schools.
"Giving young people support, encouragement and skills and empowering them to 'rise up' and make a positive difference is essential and I look forward to seeing the ideas that are able to flourish thanks to this fund."
The results will be published later this summer.
People can get involved by visiting https://www.givemyview.com/norfolkzone or contacting 0800 019 3517 for a Freepost version.
To view films of projects helped by a similar fund for Vattenfall’s Aberdeen Offshore Wind Farm, Unlock Our Future, visit: https://www.youtube.com/user/FoundationScotland