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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 14:05 GMT
Village aims to be carbon neutral
Hugo Deymen
Hugo Deymen said he hoped to recoup the extra building costs
A village in Cheshire is aiming to become the first small community in England to go carbon neutral.

People in Ashton Hayes, near Chester, have been attempting to offset their carbon emissions since launching the project in January 2006.

At the last calculation, the village's 1,000 residents and 300 homes produced 4765.76 tonnes of CO2 per year.

On Thursday, the government announced plans for a set of standards to give more clarity to offsetting schemes.

The BBC's Nick Ravenscroft said residents in Ashton Hayes had been attempting to offset emissions by reducing the amount of energy they consume and by experimenting with renewable energy.

Reclaimed bricks

The village parish council started the project in January 2006 out of a desire to let future generations know residents had tried to "do their bit" to stem global warming.

Hugo Deymen, parish council chairman, is currently overseeing an extension to a house in the village.

He said rubble from a partial demolition had been recycled, crushed on site and put back into the project, as well as reclaimed bricks.

"Those reclaimed bricks have been laid onto lime mortar. That lime mortar uses less carbon as it's produced and it actually reabsorbs the carbon as it sets," said Mr Deymen.

He said they were also using lambswool to insulate the roof of the house rather than traditional fibreglass-based materials.

"They are slightly more expensive - not a great deal more - but they are just as good as the traditional ones," he said.

Mr Deymen said he was expecting the project to cost about 15% more than a traditional extension.

"We hope to recoup that over 15 years. Most of that will be used up by the installation of a solar panel and, possibly, a small wind turbine," he added.

'Greater clarity'

Carbon-neutral homes are defined as those which produce as much energy, by using solar panels or wind turbines, as they consume.

But carbon-offsetting schemes have been attacked by some environmental groups for a lack of transparency and inconsistent prices.

In response the government outlined a set of standards on Thursday, for carbon offsetting schemes to bring "greater clarity" to the industry.

There are a number of ways that consumers can offset their carbon emissions, including paying for trees to be planted and buying energy efficient light bulbs for use in developing nations.

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