CEF grant for family attraction in Cheshire  

Blakemere Village near Northwich received £50,000 from local authority’s Climate Emergency Fund to support green upgrade including installation of 113 solar panels. 

‘Shop, stay, eat, play,’ is the offer from Blakemere Village, a family attraction in the heart of the Cheshire countryside, with activities including Segway trips through the forest, hands-on birds-of-prey encounters, craft workshops and a play barn. There are also shops, places to eat and a holiday park. Now, these attractions will be much greener. 

Staff and tenants with the solar PV systems installed at Blakemere Village, Cheshire

Photo courtesy of Cheshire West and Chester Council

The family business has invested £165,000 in energy-saving measures across the Blakemere Village site. Cheshire West and Chester Council has supported this effort with a grant of £50,000 from the CEF – a fund set up to back low carbon projects and help the council meet its target of becoming entirely carbon neutral by 2045. 

To start with, local charity Groundwork Cheshire – which works to assist local businesses that want to be more sustainable – conducted a green audit of the business. From this, a plan was developed to install the 113 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels across three buildings on the site. This PV system is expected to save the business the equivalent of some 19 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year as well as reducing energy costs for the business as a whole. 

Cheshire West and Chester Council has so far supported 44 projects through the CEF, helping businesses in the region to lower energy costs, improve energy efficiency and make progress towards net zero. Interested businesses can apply to the council through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. 

Cllr Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, says: ‘It’s great to see local businesses reviewing their operations to find ways that they can reduce their carbon emissions as well as their running costs. The funding provided through the Climate Emergency Fund has helped many community groups and organisations across the borough over the last few years, from tree planting projects to introducing energy saving measures. Every one of these projects is playing its part to help the borough to meet its target of being carbon neutral by 2045.’ 

Ginny White, Partner at Blakemere Village, adds: ‘We were delighted to work with Cheshire West and Chester Council on this project. Their assistance and the support they provided was invaluable and allowed us to choose the right system for our business with confidence. The green audit has ensured we have planned well into the future to keep our energy costs down as well as improving our energy efficiency. We aim to continue to make progress within our business to achieve the carbon neutral deadlines set for 2045.’ 

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Barnsley completes £4m energy upgrade


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