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Zero Carbon Communities Grant scheme: successful projects

Community groups across Uttlesford have been successful in applying for funding in the 2 rounds of our Zero Carbon Community Grant Scheme.

In the second round of the Zero Carbon Communities Grant scheme in 2024 we awarded funding to 15 new community projects. In 2023 we awarded funding to 11 community projects.

All the projects aim to:

  • reduce carbon emissions
  • enhance biodiversity, or
  • support community engagement in climate change

Successful projects: 2024

The projects that were awarded funding in 2024 are:

Saffron Walden Rugby Football Club

Saffron Walden Rugby Football Club have been awarded £28,155.46 as part of joint funding through the 2024 Zero Carbon Communities Grant & Rural England Prosperity Fund. This project involves the installation of a 24.65 kW solar array on the south facing roof of the clubhouse, saving an estimated 4,106 Kg of CO2 annually.

Little Canfield Village Hall

£16,500 from the 2024 Rural England Prosperity Fund has been awarded to Little Canfield Village Hall, for the installation of solar panels to reduce the buildings carbon footprint and export energy back to the National Grid.

Felsted Parish Council

Felsted Parish Council have secured a grant of £3,800 as part of the 2024 Zero Carbon Communities Grant, to create wildflower meadows and to install habitat boxes on three parish greens.  This follows on from grant funding obtained in our 2023 funding round, which was used to commission a biodiversity survey and will now allow for the recommended implementation in Bannister Green, Watch House Green and Willows Green.

Youngwilders CIC

Youngwilders CIC is a non-profit organisation focused on accelerating the nature recovery of the UK and involving young people in the movement. Having successfully secured a grant of £10,728 as part of the 2024 Zero Carbon Communities Grant, they will work in partnership with Uttlesford District Council's Principal Ecologist, to develop their project proposals to create a vibrant and varied woodland pasture ecosystem, with life supporting water presence on Land around Pounce Hall, Sewards End.

Newport Parish Council

As part of the CURAT organisation, The Newport River Group have been awarded £12,500 from the 2024 Zero Carbon Communities Grant to restore wetlands along the watercourse in Belmont Woods, Newport. The grant will be used to enable a feasibility plan, preliminary ecology appraisal, impact assessment and topographical assessment of the area.

Elsenham Parish Council

Elsenham Parish Council have been awarded £1,000 from the 2024 Zero Carbon Communities Grant Scheme to fund a rewilding project at De Mandeville Road, Elsenham. Working in partnership with Uttlesford District Councils Principal Ecologist, the team will establish the most effective way to provide and maintain a wildflower area, whilst attracting beneficial insects.

Saffron Hall Trust

Saffron Hall Trust have been awarded £20,000 from the 2024 Zero Carbon Communities Grant to replace their stage lighting and supporting infrastructure. LED lighting will be used, alongside an adaptive control system which will help to minimize energy consumption, lowering electricity usage and associated carbon emissions. The trust will also engage with the High School, visitors, and volunteers to offer education on climate change and sustainability in practice.

Thames 21

Thames21 have been awarded £20,000 from the 2024 Zero Carbon Communities Grant to cover organisational development of a farm cluster, allowing them to work positively with farmers within the district to address biodiversity and climate issues around the River Roding. This will involve hosting events and engagement to develop natural flood management interventions and improving water quality and biodiversity. The farm cluster will work in consultation with Uttlesford District Council's Principal Ecologist, as the project develops.

Saffron Walden Town Council

Saffron Walden Town Council have been awarded £16,700 from the 2024 Zero Carbon Communities Grant, for the installation of 16 solar panels at Golden Acre Community Centre to support the community in tackling the climate emergency agenda. A solar battery system will also be installed to allow energy to be stored whilst the building is not in use.

High Easter Village Hall

High Easter Village Hall have secured a grant of £15,000 from the 2024 Rural England Prosperity Fund for the installation of solar panels on the south facing roof of the village hall. A total of 42 430W panels will be used and by also changing their water heating system to electric, they will also benefit from savings on oil consumption by using the electricity generated. Any surplus electricity generated will be exported back to the National Grid.

Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council

Stansted Parish Council have successfully secured funding of £2,112 from the 2024 Zero Carbon Communities Grant to introduce pockets of wildflowers in the village, creating a biodiverse Stansted Mountfitchet. The wildflower project locations will be on land at the corner of Pennington Lane junction with Rainsford Road and the corner of Cambridge Road junction with High Lane. The project has the full support of Sustainable Stansted who will assist with site monitoring and as the project expands, residents, schools and volunteer groups will be invited to help keep the sites sustainable for years to come.

Stansted Tennis Club

Stansted Tennis Club have been awarded £17,760 from the 2024 Rural England Prosperity Fund to replace their metal halide floodlights with low energy LED lighting to reduce costs, energy usage and to improve their carbon footprint. The conversion will also help the club continue to provide low-cost recreation to both members and non-members alike through the savings. The 12 floodlights will reduce the current power requirement from 13.2kw to 6.36kw, with an estimated saving of 6840KWh and a CO2 saving of 4275Kg annually with 1000-hour usage for example.

Sustainable Stansted

Volunteer led; Sustainable Stansted have secured grant funding of £3,910 through the 2024 Zero Carbon Communities Grant to carry out two projects within the Parish. The first project will be to conduct a study of land within the Parish to identify areas of biodiversity, rare species and threatened or poor-quality habitat that needs protecting. The second project relates to assisting residents with tailored information needed to make their homes more energy efficient. With the purchase of thermal imaging cameras, residents will be able to borrow these to study the thermal efficiency/inefficiency of their homes and establish a basis for energy saving measures.

Hadstock Parish Council

Hadstock Parish Council have been awarded £9,590 from the 2024 Zero Carbon Communities Grant to start a village wide initiative to lower their carbon consumption and raise the biodiversity within the village and its immediate surroundings. A Steering Working Group has already been formed with representatives from key organisations within the village, with the intention of using tried and tested approaches, especially tailored to Hadstock. The funds granted will allow expert advice and the project hopes to create village wide engagement and involvement through investigation, education, and discussion in relation to transport, efficiency of buildings, solar power, heat pumps etc and looking at ways to improve the biodiversity within the area.

Widdington Village Hall

Widdington Village Hall have been awarded £7,910 from the 2024 Rural England Prosperity Fund to lower carbon emissions at their village hall. The funds will be used to install loft insulation, replace 9 windows with triple glazing, add draft excluders sewn by the Widdington Quilting Club and upgrade the current lighting to low energy bulbs within 10 lamp units in the main hall.


Successful projects: 2023

The projects that were awarded funding in 2023 are:

Wicken Bonhunt St Margaret's Church and Community Centre - solar panel installation

Wicken Bonhunt Parish Council have been awarded £15,000.00 as part of the 2023 Zero Carbon Communities Grant.

This project involves the installation of a ground mounted solar energy system consisting of 24 Trina Solar Panels and incorporating 6.0kWh battery storage at St Margaret's Church and Community centre.

Felsted Parish Council - biodiversity survey of grassed areas

Felsted Parish Council have been awarded £1,200.00 as part of the 2023 Zero Carbon Communities Grant for a Biodiversity Survey of Parish Council Grassed Areas.

This project will involve the assessment of grassed areas by Essex Wildlife Trust which will result in plan as to how best to manage the previously mown areas to increase biodiversity.

Birchanger Wood Trust - rewilding native pollinators with managed forest hives

Birchanger Wood Trust has been awarded £3,451.00 for a project to install bee swarm boxes in Birchanger Wood to provide a home for the native bee colonies that swarm. By establishing native wild bee colonies, they can support native bees develop resistant to existing and emerging pathogens that are posing a risk to the native bee population.

Birchanger Woods bee box

Find out more about the new bee boxes on the Birchanger Wood Trust website.

Stebbing Tennis Club - replacement of existing halogen court lighting for low energy LED light fittings

Stebbing Tennis Club has received £14,750.00 from the 2023 Zero Carbon Communities Grant. This project is to change the existing halogen tennis court floodlight to new low energy LED lighting units.

Rickling Green Ponds - pond clearance

Quendon and Rickling Parish Council have been awarded £5,425.00 from the 2023 Zero Carbon Communities Grant.

This project will involve clearance work on two Rickling Green ponds; one on the village green and one in Brick Kiln Lane, hoping to increase biodiversity and habitat quality.

Littlebury Energy Project phase 2 - Saffron Walden Community energy


Saffron Walden Community energy have been awarded £34,000.00 towards the next phase of the Littlebury Energy Project decarbonisation plan.

The project will aim to create concrete plans for decarbonisation and start to implement these plans. There are 2 main areas:

  • domestic energy savings and retrofit measures in the move to low carbon heating
  • community scale renewable energy generation to help power Littlebury's homes

Littlebury Community Energy project

Reaching net zero carbon emissions will require a huge change in the way that our energy is produced and distributed, including much more localised energy generation, and far greater focus on energy efficiency. It is not just large organisations who can make a difference here. Community energy draws on local skills and people power to create community-based solutions to the climate crisis.

Over the past 2 years Essex County Council (ECC) and Community Energy South have mentored Saffron Walden Community Energy, a local non-profit organisation, to kick start a CommuniPower project in Littlebury village.

Littlebury Parish Council had expressed interest in developing a Community Energy Plan to investigate how a village could transition from mainly oil based heating. CommuniPower aims to find the optimal solution to switch to low-carbon power and heating. The project will help the community to take real ownership of their energy, develop greater resilience and provide the model for other rural communities to become sustainable in a way that is achievable and affordable for all.

The problem

  • Lots of listed and historic buildings which present retrofit challenges
  • The age of buildings means most have very poor EPC ratings and bad energy efficiency
  • Over 80% homes use off-grid oil
  • Most houses lack proper insulation or effective heating methods
  • Upgrades need to be done sensitively, as cheaply as possible, and to retain the historic charm of most buildings
  • Only 6 out of the 70 households have some form of renewable technology; 2 with air source heat pumps while 4 have solar panels (PV)

Phase 1

In phase 1 of the project the village has produced an initial Community Energy Plan (PDF) [4MB] to prepare them for CommuniPower.

The next steps for the Littlebury Energy Project include individual zero carbon initiatives and projects for some groups of properties including:

  • thermal imaging of homes to ascertain where heat is being lost
  • retrofit measures: such as solar PV and Air-Source Heat Pump
  • listed home restoration
  • community wide initiatives
  • regular village energy information events
  • starting a bulk-buying club for solar PV etc.
  • providing support for residents applying for grants
  • joining the CommuniHeat programme (In- depth analysis of homes within the village)
  • establishing a local listed building renovation group to gain collective expertise and share knowledge
  • exploring the potential for Heat networks (or district heating) supply heat for hot water and space heating to multiple homes from a central source via underground pipes, usually through a heat exchanger connected to a domestic radiator circuit

The village is also working with partners to seek industry funding to become a leading pilot for CommuniHeat, developing and implementing a detailed energy transition plan for the whole community, and one that could be replicated for other villages in the district.

Case study; solar PV installed in Littlebury

An example of a 3.6kWp solar photovoltaic (PV) system installed on a south­ east facing roof.

We had PV panels fitted in 2018 by Solarbarn, a local company. A very good, well planned installation. We use quite a lot of electricity, and the panels have supplied about half our annual consumption each year.It's a SE facing roof,max 3.6KW output array. The output is high enough to, for example, cook breakfast, then power the washing machine plus background usage, fridge etc., for about 7 months of the year.

Financially, maximising self consumption makes most sense, so we have a Solar iBoost device that diverts surplus output to the immersion heater before anything is exported to the grid. In practice it means almost all our (usually five people) domestic hot water is heated by PV for much of the year.

The headline production/consumption figures, averages for three full years:

Total production: 4.0MWh

Self consumption: 3.1MWh

Exported: 0.9MWH

Percentage exported: 22%

Explore more energy saving advice on the Saffron Walden Community Energy website.

Sustainable Stansted - engaging the community in climate change and biodiversity loss

Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council have been awarded £2,000.00 from the 2023 Zero Carbon Communities Grant for their Sustainable Stansted - Engaging the community in climate change & biodiversity loss in the area project.

The project is a community-led project aimed at engaging the Community and trying to understand the concerns that local people have about climate change and to work in and with the community to coordinate learning and action on climate change.

Household Energy Saving Group

The Household Energy Saving Group  will be focusing their activities on providing information to householders from the autumn., This will include:

  • frequent Facebook and website postings on energy saving measures
  • the design, printing and distribution of a leaflet outlining tips for householders to save energy, money and the planet - 3,000 copies will be delivered by members of the group to households in Stansted in October and a further 2,000 copies will be dropped into to local shops, pubs and other places visited by the public
  • energy saving "clinics" to provide information to interested residents, and to seek proactively opportunities to
  • attending meetings of various, local groups such as WIs, Touchpoint and schools

Community outreach

The Sustainable Stansted team have set up an online and hard copy survey to obtain residents' views.

Take part in the Sustainable Stansted climate change survey.

They have also been attending events in the community such as:

  • Coronation Fete in Stansted in May
  • Music in the Park event in July

And they have been writing articles for The Link and The Stansted Flyer as well as regularly adding to their Facebook and website pages.

Find more information and updates on the Sustainable Stansted website.

Mill Lane Playing Field Stebbing - nature and biodiversity project


Stebbing Parish Council have been awarded £2,200.00 from the 2023 Zero Carbon Communities Grant. This is for a nature and Biodiversity Project at Mill Lane Playing Field, Stebbing.

This project aims to create a community nature area to:

  • make a significant improvement in biodiversity
  • make a positive impact on climate change through professional woodland management
  • encourage community engagement through design involvement and planting schemes
  • have an educational benefit through habitat/tree signage and local school activities
  • provide use of recycled wood from felling for use as pathways

Progress update

Phase 1

Work commenced on this project on 5 July 2023 and was expected to take one week to complete. The main works were completed in this period, however the bark infill for the path was not available until the following week and the works were finally completed on the 21st July. An additional gate with rabbit proofing was also installed from the cricket pitch to the woodland walk in the same period.

The contractor, Falcon Tree Specialists, have enhanced the woodland walk by creating small ponds with a dam to capture the natural springs that appear in the area along with a wetland walkway for visitors to walk over the overspill from the ponds. They have also created natural habitats along the route using rotten branches and surplus soils. In the lower area a circular path has been created with log seating should anyone wish to rest and enjoy the surroundings.

The project team have created a video of the new woodland walk.

The woodland walk has been named by the parish council as "The Kingdom Woodland Walk" after Michael Kingdom who was instrumental in its concept. Signs will be erected identifying this walk specifically, however they will take a little longer to procure and install.

Keep up to date with progress on the Kingdom Woodland Walk on the Stebbing Parish Council website.

Phase 2

With Phase 1 of the project completed the next action is to find volunteers and create a plan for its flora & fauna and wildlife development.

The grant received from UDC has inspired the Stebbing project team to change what was a derelict woodland into a vibrant benefit for their community.

Wimbish Parish Council - rewilding sites

Wimbish Parish Council have been awarded £5,000.00 from the 2023 Zero Carbon Communities Grant scheme.

This project is for several different sites. Lucy May Field: Wildflower meadow and Village Allotments. Ellis Common: Wildflower meadow. Maypole Corner Common: wildflower meadow and pond restoration and a recreation Ground Wildlife Belt.

Radwinter Community Pavilion - solar panels

Radwinter Recreation Ground Charity have been awarded £7,500.00 from the 2023 Zero Carbon Communities Grant.

This project is to install solar panels onto the roof of the community pavilion and install a battery inside.

Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council - LED street lighting

Stansted Mountfitchet Parish Council have been awarded £34,900.00 from the 2023 Zero Carbon Communities Grant.

This project will involve the conversion of 100 Sodium powered Streetlights to LED energy efficient ones.


In total, £125,000 in grants were allocated in year 1 of the grants scheme. The list of successful projects was approved by the Cabinet meeting on 16 March following an evaluation and selection process.


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