In this week’s We’re Backing Stroud we look at what makes the district one of the green capitals of the world.
STROUD is well known for success with recycling, green technology and sustainability.
Ecotricity, based in the town, has become one of the country’s leading providers of green energy and Stroud District Council (SDC) has continued to implement fresh recycling schemes to reduce waste sent to landfill.
Half the amount of rubbish is now sent to the landfill from the 52,000 homes in Stroud district due to the latest recycling scheme, which began in October, and includes food waste.
SDC’s initial target was a reduction to 228kg per person by 2020 but this has been slashed to 114kg per person per year already, collecting over 500 tonnes of food waste each month.
Cllr Simon Pickering, chairman of SDC’s environment committee, said: “We always knew that the district’s residents were keen on recycling and reducing waste and even though we expected the figures to improve significantly, we never imagined that they would be this good, this soon.
“These figures are a tremendously pleasant surprise and a great endorsement of everyone’s commitment to recycling.”
The food waste is sent to an anaerobic digester, run by Andigestion in Bishop’s Cleeve, where it is recycled into gas and fertiliser.
Due to the amount collected from Stroud district, this can generate enough heat for 200 homes and provide 450 tonnes of fertiliser for farming.
On top of this, the amount of waste going to landfill each month has fallen from 2,153 tonnes to 1,074.
SDC also implements green energy techniques through the council houses it builds.
Many of these contain Air Source Heat Pumps, Solar PV and low energy light bulbs to further reduce emissions and use energy efficiently.
Meanwhile, a sub-company of Ecotricity, Britwind, which manufactures wind turbines, seeks to achieve sustainability throughout the district.
This can be seen in their super car Nemesis powered by green electricity produced by windmills, and even in their plans for housing submitted for Forest Green Rovers’ current home, The New Lawn in Nailsworth.
These plans feature designs to maximise heat retention and ensure drainage is redirected properly to natural water sources using Rural Sustainable Drainage project (RSuDs) techniques.
RSuDs have achieved national acclaim for their work in the district.
Its emphasis is to redirect water by using natural drainage techniques which include placing trees across rivers up-stream from areas which flood regularly.
Rural SuDs’ goal is to: “Create a river catchment where water management is fully integrated into land management practices.
“Where public bodies, private companies and local communities work together to manage water within the landscape, creating valuable habitat for wildlife and people, and limiting flood risk downstream.”
In January, SDC organised the Natural Flood Management conference to help showcase this work and to advise other organisations on how to implement flood control.
Some of the Cotswolds most energy-efficient properties opened their doors to the public earlier this year for Eco Open Homes weekend.
These open days ended a week-long Stroud Valleys Showcase to celebrate the district’s green and eco achievements.
Owners of some of the most sustainably-built homes welcomed in complete strangers.
Event organiser Helen Royall said: “It’s great to know people in Stroud have such an interest in sustainable living.
“We really do lead the way in so many sustainable and eco projects and organisations.”
Houses throughout the district took part, from Stroud and Whiteshill to Stonehouse and King’s Stanley.
The Green Shop in Bisley showed off its innovative solar and biomass heating, green roofs and rainwater harvesting.
Next week we look at Stroud’s geographic position, in reach of Bristol and on the edge of the Cotswolds.