Biodiversity, Community, Energy, Food, Transport, Waste
Sustainable Blewbury began as the Blewbury Village Society Environment Group (BVS-EG), established in 1993 to act as a forum for exchanging ideas, creating awareness and promoting action where needed on a wide range of topics related to the village and its environment. These include the village fabric, amenities such as footpaths and open spaces, springs, streams and the natural habitat, and local area issues likely to have an impact on Blewbury.
The Blewbury Energy Initiative was the first of a family of new village initiatives relating to sustainable living and coping with climate change. These initiatives are prompted by the realisation that we need to lower our dependency on fossil fuels and to explore ways in which we as a village can adapt to a lower-carbon standard of living, while maintaining a good quality of life.
In 2008, in order to better reflect our broader objectives and the emphasis on sustainability, the BVS-EG was renamed Sustainable Blewbury. In 2012 it was agreed to operate as an organisation independent of the Blewbury Village Society. We are affiliated to CAG (Community Action Groups) Oxfordshire, and join a growing wider regional and national movement of communities small and large striving for lower carbon standards of living.
Sustainable Blewbury is managed by a Core Group, and comprises five themes:
• Energy – to decrease use of fossil fuels and encourage renewables
• Travel and transport – to reduce dependence on cars and wasteful transport
• Food and farming – to promote local production and fair trade
• Natural environment and heritage – to promote protection of Blewbury’s special features and landscape
• Reduce, reuse and recycle – to reduce waste, increase reuse, and recycle as much as possible
Our current projects include:
• Thermal imaging of houses and advice on home energy conservation, solar panels and other renewable energy sources, etc.
• Energy-related website (www.blewbury.co.uk/energy) with a great deal of information and advice.
• Garden Market stall every Saturday morning (May to Oct.) selling surplus fruit, vegetables, plants, preserves, home-made bread, etc.
• Apple juicing every autumn, when villagers bring their surplus apples.
• Permaculture orchard garden with a variety of fruit trees underplanted with soft fruit, vegetables and herbs.
• Community orchard on part of the recreation field at the edge of the downs.
• Orchards and village trees survey. Orchard results published as a booklet.
• Downland Project to restore original chalk downland by tree and scrub management, planting of wildflowers, and a new Local Wildlife Site.
• Millbrook Project to monitor and if possible restore the biodiversity and ecology of the Millbrook, which rises from springs in the village.
• Hedge-laying on the recreation areas and elsewhere in the village.
• Village skills, to record special architectural details of buildings and village fabric and to identify skills that are in short supply for maintaining historic buildings.
Our projects and events are described in more detail on our website, and recent progress is also described on our Newsletter, which we publish 2-3 times per year and is downloadable from our website.