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Autumn 2010



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Barrow Voice is published by Barrow upon Soar Community Association. Opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the editorial committee or the Community Association.

Barrow Community Association is a registered Charity No: 505692.

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13th October 2010

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13th October 2010
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Barrow Going Green?

On Wednesday 29th September, Barrow Parish Council is inviting anyone who is interested in Green Issues to come along to a meeting in the PC Office on High Street to promote Green projects in Barrow.

Personally, I am a passionate Greenie and I've been doing a bit of sleuthing to see what other people in Barrow are feeling and doing about Green issues. I was going to stand outside Somerfield and stop passers by but then I remembered how much I hate other people doing that to me. So I've been a bit more discreet. Perhaps you didn't realise!

Over a year ago, Charnwood BC involved Barrow in a pilot on ways to improve recycling and reduce what is put out for landfill. They chose Barrow for the Switch pilot because there had been a very positive interest shown by our residents. The outcome, many months later was a dramatic increase in the use of recycling boxes and bags, a reduction of landfill waste (black wheelie bins), a big take-up of brown wheelie bins for council composting and a lot of people starting to do their own composting with wormeries, cones and the like.

Also over the past 18 months, the demand for allotments has soared. More and more people want to grow their own although, sadly, the supply of land for allotments is not meeting demand. The Parish Council is pressing for more land to be made available.

I have spoken to several Barrow families who have decided to shop in the village rather than in Tesco or where ever, and to buy little and often to save wasting unwanted food. One lady waxed lyrical about the money she was saving, partly because she was buying less, partly because she had started to cycle to the shops. I'm hoping she'll turn up at the meeting on the 29th and enthuse others.

We are starting to see solar panels sprout on Barrow roofs. At the moment, the most common is the solar water heater: it's plumbed into your central heating and supplies hot water to the taps. Even on cloudy days in winter it can warm up the water enough to give you a decent shower or a sink wash. One Barrow family has had a panel for four years and they are able to turn off the central heating from March to October and still have hot water in the taps (but not the radiators, of course).

I have just installed the other kind of panel: the photo-voltaic panels which generate electricity. I have enough southfacing roof to put up 16 panels which can generate nearly 4kW when it is clear bright sun at midday. I benefit from the new 'feed in tariff ' whereby my electricity provider pays me 41p for every kW hour I generate regardless of how much I use. On top of that, I get a lower electricity bill because I generate some of what I use and I also get 3p per kWh for half of what I generate because it is deemed to feed into the electricity network (ie I don't use it). I am expecting to have covered the cost of the panels within the next 10 years. If anyone wants to know more about my experience with photo-voltaic panels, I would be more than happy to natter.

However, perhaps the most impressive example of green behaviour of all sorts must be found at Humphrey Perkins. The school has teamed up with Manor Farm in Long Whatton to supply their organic meat and home-baked bread for the school restaurant and to run educational trips for pupils to help them understand where our food comes from. They will find out about green farming methods, responsible farming and a lot more. Then there's the new school vegetable garden; it's a sight to behold and is already supplying the restaurant with fresh salad and herbs. Read Dominic Boston's account of how it came to be created following this article.

So people in Barrow are taking the lead in trying to live environmentally responsible lives. What we need now is more people doing more of these things. So do please come along to the meeting on September 29th. Details can be found on the Barrow Focus page. As a community, we could be helping promote green awareness and in the future, who knows, we could be generating community hydroelectric power by harnessing the River Soar in Barrow. And building a community wind turbine or setting up a community composting scheme. The possibilities are tremendously exciting but they need committed people to drive the ideas forward.

Judith Rodgers (0771 815 3117)