Green projects lead way to future

Oliver Coppard outside the City Hall with a Hyundai hydrogen care during the FutureBuild conference.
Oliver Coppard outside the City Hall with a Hyundai hydrogen care during the FutureBuild conference.
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Hundreds of people from 10 countries across Europe are attending a green conference in Sheffield - where two local projects are leading the way.

Top speakers including Lord Digby Jones, Red or Dead entrepreneur Wayne Hemingway and Master Cutler David Grey were appearing at FutureBuild at Sheffield City Hall yesterday and today.

Delegates, who discussed sustainable housing and renewable energy, walked in past ITM Power’s new Hyundai hydrogen car parked on Barker’s Pool.

One of just six in the country, it is the first model aimed at the ordinary driver. It has a 369m range, a respectable 136 brake horsepower, refuels in three minutes - and no emissions.

There is just one refuelling station in Sheffield - at ITM Power’s headquarters but it will be opening the region’s first public hydrogen refuelling station at the Advanced Manufacturing Park, in Rotherham in Spring 2015.

Oliver Coppard, Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Hallam, spoke about the Dearne Valley Eco-Project, which he has managed for two years.

The scheme, which is backed by Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster Councils, and the Local Enterprise Partnership, is a 30-year vision to turn what was one of the most polluted areas in Western Europe into one of the greenest.

The area, which was heavily dependent on coal mining, suffered 50 per cent unemployment following the closure of the pits.

The project could include mine water heating and solar panels on all 45 schools in the area paid for by a community energy company.

Coppard said: “Sustainable communities can learn from the way Dearne Valley communities put energy at the heart of everything they did.

“It gave them a sense of pride and purpose. The vision is to turn the Dearne Valley into the lowest carbon community of its type in the country.

“It’s about changing the way people live their lives and if we can do it here we can do it anywhere.”

Sheffield Renewables, is behind a scheme to provide free solar panels at schools.

FutureBuild was supported by the Re-Green and Renergy projects via INTERREG IVC funding.