The evening of day 9 saw the studio open late to host a special in depth discussion focused on Treherberts energy issues in the present, and hopes and fears for the future. 8 community members braved the rain to take part in a full and frank discussion fuelled by real passion for the community’s wellbeing and future – and by tea and biscuits.
In terms of current issues, there was a lot of concern over fuel prices and the incidence of fuel poverty, and lower income households having difficulty keeping their homes warm and free of damp especially in the winter months. On a more positive note, most people thought that the public transport was pretty good, and noted that in the past the community had won a really significant battle in keeping the train line up the valley open, in the face of plans to close it down which would have left the top end of the valley more dependent on cars. All the same, cyclists could be treated better on the roads!
For the future, there was a strong feeling that there should be planning for a more sustainable and resilient community, making more and better use of local resources for energy and food. The idea of the ‘prosumer’ was tabled, where local people can be both consumers and producers of energy, e.g. through micro-renewable generation such as solar panels and micro-hydro. The idea behind this is that the benefits are kept in a small system instead of flowing out to distant company shareholders but also that being a producer of energy makes you more aware of its value and less inclined to waste it. What was agreed was that the community should work together, do things locally as much as possible, and keep their values and niceness – which we have seen in abundance this week.