How you can help

In the face of a problem like global warming, we can feel powerless as individuals. We do not believe that anything we do can make an impact. If everyone changes one or two things about the way they live, it will make a huge and positive difference.

In 2005, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) estimated that:

  • 27% of the UK's CO2 emissions came from domestic sources.

This is energy we use to heat our homes, travel around and generally live our lives. It all contributes significantly to the UK's greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change.

Why not calculate your carbon footprint with the Carbon Footprint Calculator ? Find out what steps you can take to save yourself money and protect the environment. There are plenty of ideas in this section to get you started, so go on, give something a try!

Act together

  • Are you involved in running a group in your local community?
  • Are you interested in energy efficiency or renewable energy that could save your group money and help protect the environment?
  • Or are you thinking of starting a community group to install a renewable energy project?

If so, then this information is for you. It includes:

  • details of how community groups can get involved in energy efficiency;
  • and renewable energy projects and the assistance that is available.

The Council has launched our first energy and climate change strategy called PDFCalderdale's Energy Future [PDF 3423KB] . It contains actions towards reducing our districts energy demand, saving costs and protecting the environment. Community involvement is key to its success! We want to help your community deal with the challenges of delivering energy efficiency, or renewable projects.

To register you interest, or to let us know how you are getting on, email: .

Tips and hints for community groups

  • Address climate change issues - at your group meetings and events. For instance you could include a 'Tip of the Week / Month' in newsletters or on notice boards. Friends of the Earth can provide a email updates giving tips for greener living.
  • Share journeys. If your group sometimes travels to different venues, like for sports matches. See if you can arrange to meet up with others and share the journey, rather than driving alone.
  • Remind people to save energy. Free posters and stickers to remind people to save energy and reduce waste, are available from the The Carbon Trust . You could put posters up in your meeting space, or give out stickers at community events.
  • Hold an energy efficiency event - with speakers to spread the word in your community. Possible speakers could come from the Energy Saving Trust, Metro , or the Council's Housing Energy Action team.
  • Spread the word - promote your good news stories through the local newspapers?
  • Take advantage of free or discounted cavity wall and loft insulation. Find out if any of your group members are eligible, see: Bertie’s top 10 tips for a warmer, healthier home .

Case Study: Cragg Vale Carbon Neutral Group

A meeting of Cragg Vale carbon neutral group

The village of Cragg Vale has a Carbon Neutral Group. It is made up of residents who are concerned about climate change. They are keen to do something locally to address this global issue.

Their long-term aim is to make Cragg Vale carbon neutral. They hope to achieve this by helping individuals and community projects to reduce their emissions. Also, by developing renewable energy projects and 'carbon sinks', like new woodlands. The group have already drawn in a range of funding for local improvements.

For more about the work of the Cragg Vale Carbon Neutral Group, visit: Cragg Vale Carbon Neutral Group .

To register your community group with the Council, email: .

We are keen to find out how you are getting on and how you encourage your group to ‘be green'.

Useful links

Energy Saving Trust . For more about the Green Communities programme. The South and West Yorkshire office offers free talks and seminars on energy saving. You can also phone: 0800 512 012.

Friends of the Earth . This national environmental charity offers a free daily email service, with handy tips for saving energy at home and work.

The Carbon Trust . You can order free posters and stickers online to promote energy saving activities in your community.

Metro . The West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive provides information about buses and trains operating across the county.

Big Lottery Fund  . An initiative that gives grants to help improve the quality and use of local green spaces. For more details, phone: 0845 4102030.


Reduce, re-use, recycle

The United Kingdom produces 420 million tonnes of waste every year – enough to fill the Albert Hall in London every hour. Most of our household rubbish is disposed of in landfill sites but we are running out of space. As a consequence the cost of disposal is increasing rapidly, and this in turn affects householders through council tax rises.A Compost Bin

Here are some suggestions of things you can do to help:

Reduce waste

  • Use recycled paper for printing/copying and use both sides. Paper used on one side only can be used on the other side for messages, notes, lists, kids’ scribbles etc.
  • Send e-cards rather than paper cards at Christmas. There are plenty of websites around that provide lots of different designs.
  • Use a cloth hankie: it takes 6,000,000 trees to make one year's worth of tissues for the world.
  • Save the amount of paper consumed by unsolicited mailings. To remove your name from marketing companies' databases, contact the  Mailing Preference Service .
  • Refuse unnecessary packaging. For example, when you buy fruit and vegetables choose the loose ones instead of buying them pre-packed.
  • Look after your car’s tyres by maintaining the correct air pressure. This can almost double their lifespan.
  • Avoid using disposable items such as plastic cups and paper plates whenever possible. Keep a mug, bowl and cutlery at work instead.
  • Avoid using disposable nappies. A wide range of modern, easy-to-use reusable nappies is now readily available.
  • Drink tap or filtered water rather than bottled water, which generates a lot of waste plastic.

Re-use old stuff

  • Reuse plastic carrier bags and remember to take them when you go shopping. You can try reusable cloth bags instead.
  • Reuse envelopes by crossing out the old address.
  • Do you have things you no longer want, but which are still useable, like children's toys or clothes? Try to find someone else who needs them, or take them to a charity shop.
  • Save the front half of old greeting cards to reuse as postcards or gift tags.
  • Instead of always buying new, repair items that are worn or slightly damaged where possible.

Recycle the rest

  • The Household waste collection service was introduced in April 2009. It is specifically for the collection of glass, paper, cans, textiles, food waste and plastic bottles from domestic households. For other materials, or if you do not have a doorstep collection, use a Council recycling site. For sites in Calderdale, please see: Household Waste Recycling Centres .
  • Although your food waste can be collected as part of the recycling service, you might prefer to keep it! If you have a garden, why not buy a compost bin and put your kitchen scraps in it. This will make lovely, fertile soil conditioner to feed your plants. Calderdale Council, in partnership with Blackwalls / Straight, offers discounted compost bins to all Calderdale residents, see: Garden waste and composting .

Do not pollute!

  • Do not pour chemicals or paint down the drain. They will end up in the river damaging fish and wildlife! See below for information on safe disposal sites.

Useful links

For more on reusable nappies, contact the CHANGE project by phone: 01422 847080.

Mailing Preference Service

MPS, DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London. W1W 8SS. or phone: 020 7291 3310.

Freecycle . The Freecycle network is an international movement that aims to keep perfectly useable goods from going to landfill. The idea is simple and membership is free. If you have something you no longer want, you post a message on your local Freecycle group.


Save water

Fast flowing river

The recent years of wet weather suggests that we should have no shortage of water. Water we use at home has been through a complex and energy-intensive purification process before it gets to your taps. So, wasting it has serious environmental consequences

Now that more and more houses have metered water supplies, you might also be pouring your money down the drain! Here are a few things you can do to reduce your water use:

  • Check for drips: a dripping tap can waste up to 13 litres a day. Simply fit a new washer to solve the problem in most cases.
  • Do not leave the tap running when you clean your teeth.
  • Instead of filling the kettle to the top, only boil the amount of water that you need each time. This also saves energy with every cup of tea!
  • Showers tend to use less water than baths, saving up to 50 litres every time. However, some ‘power showers’ can actually use more water because of the flow rate. You can solve this by attaching a low-flow showerhead, which won’t affect the performance of the shower.
  • Try to water the garden early in the morning or at dusk. This will reduce water loss by evaporation in the hotter part of the day. Buy a water butt for the garden to collect rain water that you can then use to water your plants.
  • Choose drought-resistant plants that don't need so much watering, such as lavender, tulips, sunflowers or buddleia.
  • Use a nappy washing service. They use 32% less energy and 41% less water than home washing.
  • When cleaning your car, use buckets of water instead of the hose pipe.
  • Flushing the toilet uses between six and nine litres of drinking-quality water every time. To reduce this, put a cistern displacement device in the toilet tank. These are available free of charge in many places. Also, you can simply fill a two-litre plastic bottle with water and put that in the cistern.

Useful links

Cistern displacement devices: available free from Yorkshire Water .

Water leaks: report it to Yorkshire Water by email: , or call 0800 573553.

Nappy washing: CHANGE Reusable Nappy Laundering Service, tel: 01422847080.

Environment Agency . The agency publishes comprehensive advice on water-saving measures in the home, including low-use and flow-reducing appliances.

Centre for Alternative Technology . For advice on saving water in the garden, including drought-resistant planting.


Sustainable food

Godfrey Road allotments

Buying food that has been produced locally means it will have travelled less distance, creating less pollution. Buying your food from local greengrocers, markets and independent shops helps local businesses stay alive. It keeps money circulating in the local economy, maintains the character of our towns and protects jobs for local people. You will also tend to travel less to do your shopping, which keeps your carbon emissions down as well.

Go green-fingered

Try growing some of your own food:

  • in your garden;
  • on an allotment rented from the Council;
  • as part of a community growing initiative;
  • or even on your windowsill.

You do not always need a lot of space to grow food. Many vegetables and herbs can grow very well in tubs or planters.

There are several options available:


The Council have several allotments available. These can be rented to individuals to produce vegetables and fruit crops for use by themselves or their family.

For more details, see: Allotments or email: .


Is there Council-owned land next your property? If you want to rent it to create or extend a garden area, we can help. Please email: or phone: 01422 392129.

Community Growing

We are keen to build on the success of Incredible Edible Todmorden . We encourage local people to get involved in growing their own food and have advice on how to get started. We can also make available any suitable Council land for you to use.

It is for groups of people who want to work together to create edible growing spaces for community use. You can join these groups or you can set up a new organisation. For more details, please read: PDFGrowing on Council Land [PDF 223KB] .

For more on this topic, please read: PDFCommunity Growing Guidance [PDF 249KB] . This includes a plain English licence and useful contacts.

Help finding land

Is there Council land you want to use? Do you need help to find available land in Todmorden? Our Mapping Guide will help. For more on these topics, please contact Kirsten Fussing by email: or mobile: 01706 548133.


Why would land be unavailable for community growing?

As part of this pilot, a number of checks have already been carried out on the Council-owned land in Todmorden. Some pieces of land are unsuitable or unavailable for food growing for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Environmental concerns. Soil may be unsuitable for food growing, or there may be conservation rights associated with that piece of land.
  • Health and safety concerns. Grass verges near highways or access requirements.
  • Planning concerns. Land identified in the Unitary Development Plan for specific use.
  • Service concerns. Currently in use by a Council service, or an issue has been identified that could affect the service.
  • Legal issues. Covenants, title of the land, lease arrangements, grazing rights etc.


How do I obtain a licence?

When applying for a licence to use Council land for community growing, we will need the following:

  • information on the consultation carried out with local people, both those interested in taking part and those who are not;
  • a plan of what you want to do. This can be a hand-drawn plan that shows:
    • what you would like to grow where, on the site;
    • where your paths might be, (if applicable);
    • and any other changes you might wish to make to the site;
  • third party liability insurance. Through the period of the agreement, the licence holder(s) will maintain third party liability insurance. This must have:
    • a minimum limit of indemnity of £5,000,000, for any one incident;
    • and no limit on the number of claims in any one year.

Options for insurance:

  • if you are part of a constituted community group you may already have the relevant third party liability Insurance cover;
  • if you currently have a home contents insurance policy, you may be covered through the Personal Legal Liability insurance section. This can be enough to cover your actions as an individual;
  • if you are a social housing tenant, your landlord may offer a Tenants Home Contents Scheme. This can give Personal Legal Liability insurance that meets the insurance requirements of this scheme.

Those that take part in the scheme are responsible for making sure they meet the insurance requirements of the licence. We recommend you contact your insurance provider and tell them of your project. This should make sure that you are covered by your current policy.

For more on community growing activities in Todmorden, email: or phone: 01706 548133.

Useful links

To find out where your nearest local market is, see: Markets .

Calder Valley Organic Gardeners . They aim to educate members and the public in all aspects of organic and natural gardening, both ornamental and productive.

Garden Organic - the new name for the Henry Doubleday Research Association. A registered charity and Europe’s largest organic membership organisation. It is dedicated to researching and promoting organic gardening, farming and food.

Fairtrade Foundation . For more on Fairtrade products

Love Food Hate Waste . This is the ‘Waste Not, Want Not’ of the modern day. It gives handy tips, advice and recipes for leftovers to help everyone waste less food.


Travel Smarter

A yellow school bus

Overall air quality in the UK has been improving for the last 50 years, but pollution from traffic is increasing. Every year the short-term effects of air pollution (much from vehicle exhausts), leads to premature deaths for almost 24,000 people. There has also been an increase in respiratory diseases, like asthma.

Similarly, greenhouse gas emissions from transport are on the rise in the UK. It is the only sector of the economy not to shown a reduction in CO2 emissions over the past decade. Here are just a few ways in which you can reduce the impact of your travel on the environment:

  • Try a different way of getting around for two days a week, use public transport, walk or cycle. If you have to use the car, try car sharing with someone else, see: Car sharing scheme . Residents in Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge can take advantage of the Hour Car car club ,. This reduces the need to own a private car.
  • If it is possible, walk your children to school. Instead of driving them take the opportunity to get some exercise before you set off for work. Childhood obesity is on the rise and it is recommended that children become more physically active. Walking to school will help maintain your child's health and give them a great start to the day.
  • Drive smart. Accelerate gradually, obey speed limits, keep your car well tuned, replace its air filter regularly and keep tyres properly inflated. All these things will ensure that your vehicle runs at its optimum efficiency, saving you money as well as carbon. A bit of forward planning enables you to combine several errands in one trip.
  • Limit the amount of time your car engine is running (idling) when you are not driving. If you are stationary for more than a minute, turn off the engine.
  • If your car is more than five years old, limit warm-up idling on cold days to thirty seconds or less. The best way to warm up your vehicle is to drive it.
  • The next time you replace your car, think about buying a low-emissions car (dual fuel or hybrid).
  • Only use your car for longer journeys. Car engines create the most pollution while the engine is heating up. Lots of short journeys can cause more pollution than one long one. Walking one mile or cycling four miles takes about twenty minutes and will help to keep you fit and healthy.
  • Fly less. Take a holiday in the UK or use the ferry or the Channel Tunnel to get to the continent. Air travel produces three times more carbon dioxide per passenger than rail.

For more on how you can reduce the impact of travel at your workplace, see: Sustainable development .

Useful links

LiftShare Share your journey and share the cost. Information about car sharing in Calderdale and throughout West Yorkshire.

Hour Car More about Hour Car car club in Hebden Bridge.

Environmental Transport Association  (ETA) The association is the world's only carbon neutral motoring organisation. Their website contains lots of information about greener driving, and how to be a responsible car user.


What you can do to save energy

Most of the UK’s electricity is produced by burning fossil fuels. This process releases greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide. Scientists have shown that these gases are contributing to significant warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, which leads to climate change. For the UK, it is likely to mean massive increases in winter flooding, summer drought and severe storms. The prognosis for the world as a whole is even more serious.

But, we could save enough energy to shut down one whole power station! If, everyone in the country turned off their TVs at the wall overnight, instead of leaving them on standby,

Here are some more suggestions for easy ways to save energy at home:

No cost (just your heart and mind)Double electrical socket and plug

  • Turn down your central heating by 1°C.

    This can save up to 10% of your heating fuel, and consequently take 10% off your bill!
  • Don't leave TVs or other electrical devices on standby.

    Turn them off at the wall (leaving them on standby still uses up to 50% of the electricity they use when they're on).
  • Switch off the lights when you leave a room.
  • Hang laundry on a clothes line to dry.

    Tumble driers use huge amounts of energy
  • Only use your washing machine or dishwasher when you have a full load.

    ‘Half load’ settings typically use as much as 80% of the power of a full cycle.
  • Wash your clothes at 30°C.

    This alone can save £11 a year.
  • Choose a green electricity tariff and get your electricity from renewable sources.

    Due to the rising costs of fossil fuels, this is no longer necessarily the expensive option it used to be
  • Don't fill the kettle with more water than you need.
  • Try an Energy Saving Monitor.

    These devices will help you to understand how much energy the appliances in your home are using, so that you can switch off and save up to 15% of your energy bill. They're available to borrow free from all Calderdale Libraries.
  • Two houses demonstrating percentage heat loss with and without insulation

Typical heat loss rates from a typical domestic house are 33% through external walls, 26% through the roof, 18% through windows, 12% from ventilation and draughts, 8% through the floors and 3% through external doors.

If you’re willing to spend a little more on saving energy, you might also like to think about these measures:

Low costAn energy saving light bulb

  • Replace your light bulbs with energy-efficient ones. Fitting just one bulb can save £3 a year and they are now very cheap to buy from local supermarkets, DIY stores and electrical retailers.
  • Draught proof your home. Draught proofing around doors and windows can save around £20 a year from your heating bill.
  • Fit an insulating jacket on your hot water tank and insulating your hot water pipes. These measures can save you up to £45 a year.
  • Insulate floors by filling gaps in the floor boards and skirting boards. This can save around £20 a year.

Higher cost

To find out about saving energy for your home, see: Energy efficiency .

To find out about saving energy for your business, see: Energy saving tips for businesses .

Useful links

For more about appliance energy ratings, visit: Energy Saving Trust .


Always open first panel: 


See also