Reepham Low Carbon Community Challenge

About Reepham Low Carbon Communities Challenge


The Market Town of Reepham, in Norfolk, East of England has a population of approximately 2,600 living in 1,200 homes.

The town is expanding - 40 homes have been built in the last year, 40 further homes are due for construction, and the District Council has recently completed a consultation process which could see a further 200 homes built in Reepham.

The town has the full range of educational provision - Primary School, High School, and recently completed (Sept. 2009) 6th Form College. The Reepham High School catchment area covers 350 square kilometres of Norfolk and includes eight feeder Primary Schools.

Reepham is on the National Cycle Route (Marriotts Way links Reepham with the city of Norwich).

The town relies on domestic heating oil for heating, has a relatively old housing stock and poor public transport provision. These are the three main reasons why Reepham's carbon audit showed that the town's carbon emissions per capita were 48% above the national average. As part of Reepham's Low Carbon journey, projects have been developed and delivered to address these issues.

Reepham Green Team

In 2004 we established the Reepham Green Team - a network of individuals and community groups focussed on developing projects to reduce our carbon footprint.

One of the Green Team's first actions was to undertake a comprehensive community carbon audit. Reepham was one of the first towns in the UK to carry out a comprehensive community carbon audit. The 7 page survey was completed by nearly a quarter of all households in a single day.

The audit was analysed by CRed at the University of East Anglia (a world leader in climate change research and carbon management). The results showed that Reepham's carbon emissions per capita were 48% above the national average.

The carbon audit showed that the three main reasons why Reepham's carbon emissions were so high was because:

a) Only 8% of homes were properly insulated (relatively old housing stock)

b) Reliance on domestic heating oil (no mains gas)

c) Reliance on personal cars for transport (poor public transport provision)

As part of the carbon audit, members of the Reepham community made CRed carbon reduction pledges amounting to 127 tons CO2 per year.

Reepham's Replicable Projects

Following the carbon audit in 2004 the Reepham Green Team helped develop and deliver an action plan of over forty projects

Three of these projects dealt with the three main reasons why our carbon emissions were so high - lack of insulation, use of domestic heating oil, and reliance on personal transport...

a) Reepham Insulation Project (R.I.P. CO2) - we developed a community engagement model which has led to the number of homes in the town being properly insulated increasing by over 100%.   The community engagement model developed for the RIP CO2 project has the potential to be used for other carbon reduction activities and also to be franchised to other communities across the UK

b) Biofuel trials - Reepham is acting as the "test-bed" community for the UK's first trials of biofuel in domestic boilers - a £200,000 Carbon Connections funded project. The biofuel trials also cover Reepham Primary School and Reepham High School. These trials involve the use of waste vegetable oil and have not only received national media coverage, but also international coverage.  The biofuel trials are a partnership between Carbon Connections, part of the Low Carbon Innovation Centre, OFTEC, Norfolk County Council, Riello and other industry partners.   The success of these trials has recently led to changes in Government regulations regarding the use of biofuel in heating.

c) Reepham Car Club - Launch of a community car club using low emission vehicles in the town, as the first part of establishing the Norfolk Car Club, which aims to be the first county-wide car club in the UK. . Project funded by Norfolk County Council and delivered by not-for-profit Community Interest Company.

We have therefore already developed a number of projects which are eminently replicable, including:

  • "Green Team" concept for community engagement and action (replicable to all communities, irrespective of size)
  • R.I.P. CO2 project - community engagement model to deliver improved thermal performance of buildings (replicable to all communities, irrespective of size)
  • Biofuel Trials - UK's first trials of biofuel in domestic boilers (replicable to two million homes who currently rely on domestic heating oil)
  • Reepham Car Club - which we are planning to replicate to become the first county-wide car club in the UK

Reepham's LCCC Projects

These projects have fostered community leadership which has resulted in the development of the Reepham LCCC projects - the next stage in our journey to become a low carbon community.

Reepham LCCC projects involve a wide range of community groups (primary school, high school, sixth form college, town council, housing association, nursery school, sports groups, faith groups, community interest companies, allotment association, local charities, chamber of commerce, etc.).

The Reepham LCCC projects have been developed and delivered by grassroots community groups representing substantially all of the community as part of an integrated carbon management plan.

One of the key messages/learning points from the Reepham Green Team's activities over the last five years and from the Reepham LCCC projects is how local community groups (such as Rotary, Schools, Church, Chamber of Commerce etc.) can help develop and deliver national projects at a local level.

Reepham LEAF projects

In January 2012 Reepham won £110,000 LEAF (Local Energy Assessment Fund) funding to deliver five projects:

1. Reepham Town Hall - internal refurbishment to include internal solid wall insulation

2. Reepham Primary School - refurbishment of Primary School canteen block to include external solid wall insulation and installation of a ventilation and heat recovery system

3. Wood Fuel Club / Norfolk Wood Warm CIC - establish a wood fuel club and not-for-profit enterprise (Norfolk Wood Warm CIC) to process and supply wood logs and wood chip of a known moisture content to local residents on a not-for-profit basis.

4. Reepham Liquid Biofuel Heating Feasibility Study

5. Reepham Community Renewable Technology Feasibility Study

All Reepham LEAF projects were delivered by April 2012 and further details are available on their respective web pages or web sites.