The Henley Town Council Climate Emergency Working Group have agreed that rather than setting up their own community energy society they will link with Reading Community Energy Society (RCES) and will form a Henley based Chiltern Hills Community Energy Group which will draw on the use of the Reading Society’s administration and financial management support.
Being attached to RCES would allow the progression of larger, share funded schemes such as solar panels on large community and commercial buildings within our area. The Chiltern Hills Community Energy Group will be formed as a Community Action Group. This will enable them to recruit more members and possibly to enable it to apply for grant funding for projects through bodies such as the Rural Community Energy Fund. This is in line with Henley Town’s Council’s Repair Cafe which is hoped to be started in the near future at the Over 60s Club which will also be a Community Action Group.
At the Henley Town Council Planning Committee meeting last week Councillors recommended that the Climate Emergency Working Group to purchase a £1 Class B share in the Low Carbon Hub Community Interest Company which will give benefits of being able to apply each year for a small grant of £500 (at any time) or a large grant of up to £5,000 via an application in the Autumn each year. In addition the CE Working Group can nominate a community building for a free energy audit worth £630.
The Planning Committee is also recommended that there a new tree, hedging, biodiversity and protection of habitat (and preservation) strategy should be developed. Discussions have taken place with the Parks and Estate Managers regarding land ownership and potential locations for tree planting. The Working Group will also work with the Neighbourhood Plan Committees.