7 local parishes clubbed together to host a meeting at Upper Clatford Village Hall to explain the environmental challenges that face the country, and to explain what local people could do to help.
The event was chaired by Charles Crosthwaite-Eyre, whose idea it was and who contacted the parish councils to enlist their support. The parishes were Abbotts Ann, Broughton, Goodworth Clatford, Houghton & Bossington, Longstock, Wherwell, and Upper Clatford & Anna Valley
Sir George made some opening remarks at the beginning.
"I congratulate Charles and the Parish Councils for putting on this event, which is a good example of what pro-active parish councils can do.
If issues come out of the meeting where Government should take action, please let me know. Graham Stallard is here, who will take up the cause if matters arise for Test Valley Borough Council; and Mike Woodhall is here representing Hampshire County Council."
"We face two crises today. First, there is now a growing awareness of the great danger of unmanaged climate change. High-carbon growth - business as usual - will by mid-century have taken greenhouse gas concentrations to a point where a major climate disaster is very likely. We risk a transformation of the planet so radical that it would involve huge population movements and widespread conflict. To manage the climate, we must cut world emissions by at least 50% by 2050, as recognised by the G8 earlier this year. Given that rich countries' emissions are far above the world average, their cuts should be at least 80%. Now is the time to lay the foundations for a world of low-carbon growth.
Second, Britain is heading into recession. We do not know how long it will last, but it is unlikely to be short. The relevant policies are being considered to avoid plunging the UK further into crisis and to construct a more robust financial system. But increased government spending should be focused not just on boosting short-term demand. We need to promote growth that can be sustained.
On Monday, a programme might be put together which both boosts demand in the short term and prepares for efficient, strong and sustainable growth in the medium term, with low-carbon infrastructure and investments that will not only be profitable, with the right policies, but also allow for a safer, cleaner and quieter economy and society."
After Sir George, Peter Durant spoke about the price and availability of oil, and outlined strategies to reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
Rebecca Winward, from theSouthampton Energy Advisory Centre, spoke on the subject "What you can do – energy efficiency options". She outlined the cost and payback period for a number of energy saving initiatives, and explained that Government help was available and to whom.
Terena Plowright from the Sustainability Centre then explained what other communities were doing, and thenJan Hudson from Scottish and Southern answered the question "How do you pay for it? And where can you get help?"
Then, the meeting was opened for discussion and attendees could talk informally to the exhibitors.
After the meeting, a feed back form was circulated to see a) whether parishioners thought this was a help and b) would they like to see this as an agenda issue for parish councils, and c) whether there was a group within the area, interested in looking into what possibilities there are for community action around energy saving or renewables.
These showed that 86% of all participants said they found the meeting very useful and 97% said that the meeting would result in them doing something to save energy.
48% said lighting would be their focus and 32% insulation. On the renewables front, 30% indicated solar was their focus area and 21% Ground Source heating. Respondents were asked what other sustainability issues they were prompted to act on – and 50% will focus on water and rainwater management.
All respondents were also asked whether they would like parish councils to follow this meeting up with additional areas of focus – and 80% of participants indicated they wanted further meetings.
Target areas were recycling and waste (35%) and water and transport (20%)
35% of all participants confirmed that they want to get involved in follow up events and actions
"This was a very worthwhile initiative, and I am sure there will be some follow-up action."