Burnley bid to be ‘green champion’ of Europe

Phill Dewhurst of Offshoot project at Towneley Hall urges the public to vote for their Eco Award.
Phill Dewhurst of Offshoot project at Towneley Hall urges the public to vote for their Eco Award.

Burnley’s landmark Offshoots Project is bidding to become the green champion of Europe.

The award-winning scheme wants to put Burnley firmly on the international map among the continent’s top “low carbon” initiatives.

The Towneley Hall-based project has been hand selected to compete against Europe’s elite in the “World We Like” competition by the European Commission on Climate Change.

Offshoots, which is a living working example of sustainability involving the whole community, is battling 269 leading environmental projects across Europe which help reduce C02 emissions and combatting climate change.

Offshoots leaders say winning the award would see Burnley become a leading green centre in Europe and bring thousands more visitors, jobs and investment in green industries in the town.

Phill Dewhurst, Offshoots manager, said: “The European Commission on Climate Change exists to disseminate best practice to tackle the problem and once they have seen who does it in the best way they will want to ensure this is broadcast right across Europe.

“Burnley will be recognised as a leading and innovative green centre right across Europe. It will mean international visitors coming to Burnley to learn how they can tackle climate change and reduce C02 which then develops industries in the town.

“Green technologies are going to be major job providers going into the future. There are lot of companies in town developing green technologies and they will be extremely pleased to secure European contracts.

“It could be a huge boost for jobs and industry in the town.”

Offshoots, which won bronze at the International Green Awards 2011, has forged a strong reputation for sustainability and bring in 6,000 visitors through its doors every year.

Offshoots educates a wide range of people on the ethics of permaculture and trains visitors in organic food production, woodland management and timber processing, eco-building construction, arboriculture, renewable energy systems, organic water purification system, beekeeping, and eco-art therapy.

It created the pioneering “Bees in the Borough” project to repopulate Burnley with rare black honey bees and also grows moorland plants for United Utility designed to help stop flooding in areas like Hebden Bridge.

Their permaculture model has been exported to other projects across Britain including a Michelin star restaurant Northcote Manor.

The permaculture garden itself is CO2 neutral and has solar and wind powered buildings. It boasts a kiln for making charcoal, a wildlife pond and water purification reed bed, compost toilet, tree nursery, forest garden and demonstration beehives.

The site can therefore generate energy, purify water, create fuel and process food.

Thousands of votes have already poured in for Offshoots, run by Groundworks Pennine Lancashire, which has seen the long-running permaculture project shoot to 19th place out of 269 leading schemes across the continent.

But Offshoots leaders are calling on the town to throw their weight behind the bid to see Burnley shoot into the top 10 and clinch a place in the final in Copenhagen.

Mr Dewhurst said: “We need people to recognise that this little place in Burnley has a much greater reach than people understand.

“The ethos of permaculture is worldwide. It puts us in a really good position for this award.

“We really want the whole town to get behind it because it will benefit Burnley and the people in it.”

To back Offshoots’ bid click http://world-you-like.europa.eu/ to vote.