This project came out of our local Community Action Group, Abingdon Carbon Cutters, in about 2009. Oxfordshire has many CAGs ( We learn from each other, and it can be hard to remember where new ideas came from. In our case the idea was to create a very visible example of renewable energy, in a very public place.

Here is the architect's view:General view with captions projects take time!A calendar

It crystallised and grew, and we simply picked it up and ran with it. Or rather, walked with it, because if you ask what has happened since then, the answer is that the approvals process is complex and takes time.

Paperwork cartoonActually 4 years for our project is considered pretty good. Renewable energy projects take a long time, especially for community organisations, as they also need money. We are fortunate that people have been willing to take a risk and put money in, so we are well on the way through the bureaucracy. The real danger is that official bodies move the goalposts, or one document goes out of date before the others are ready. It is like snakes and ladders without the ladders!

The one positive thing that can be said about the delays is that a community project is really about people, and it takes time to build up the network of relationships on which it all depends. But when you are ready to move on and you have to worry about what seem like trivial details, it can be frustrating.

So read on.... 

What is it?  Where is it?
Why do it? The approvals process