Two Selby villages are on the cusp of becoming carbon neutral.
Monk Fryston and Hillam now expected to reach the benchmark next year, following a joint initiative which has seen the community centre, primary school, church, football and cricket clubs as well as residents themselves working together to combat climate change.
The remarkable achievement puts the community years ahead of the targets set by many public bodies and demonstrates what can be achieved by those determined to make a difference.
Major changes have included the installation of solar panels to provide carbon neutral power, complete with battery storage to allow electricity to be used for lighting.
But the whole community has been offered the opportunity to contribute with thermal imaging camera surveys allowing them to map the points where heat is lost from their homes and where drafts cause buildings to use more power than necessary to maintain heat.
Monk Fryston and Hillam Community Association came up with idea of the sustainability project and found they had almost total support from villagers.
Project manager Ray Newton said: “Right at the start we asked residents for their views on the project with over 96 per cent either strongly supporting or supporting the project. It was really important to get that community support at the very start of this journey.
“The project has received funding from a variety of sources, beginning with the Rural Communities Energy Fund.”
Pupils at Monk Fryston Church of England Primary School have recently celebrated the Gold Eco Schools Green Flag Award in recognition for their hard work in environmental education.
Monk Fryston United Football Club has raised funds to buy a battery powered LED floodlight system to allow teams to train at their Stocking Lane pitch during the dark nights, rather than travelling out of the village to train.
The next step is to install solar panels to charge the batteries.
St Wilfrid’s Church is focusing on the Church Hall which is in need of major restoration including installing an air source heat pump to replace an old gas boiler.
Mr Newton said: “Recently the school has received a government grant to replace its ageing gas boilers with ground source heat pumps and its fluorescent lights with LED ones; and the community centre has a grant from The Community Lottery Fund to replace its gas heating with an air source heat pump.
“Both organisations will share their learning and data with residents and other organisations. They are being recognised as exemplar community sustainable building projects.”
Selby District Council’s Deputy Leader and Lead Executive Member for Place Shaping, Cllr Richard Musgrave, praised the way the villagers have worked together.
“It is fantastic to see the way these different organisations have come together to unite for one common aim.”