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Zero ‘Overjoyed’ With Lottery Grant to Help Cut Energy Bills and Push Active Travel

Published on: 15 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 14 Mar, 2022

Zero Carbon Guildford (ZCG) have been awarded £10,000 from The National Lottery’s Together For Our Planet, the maximum allowed from this community fund.

And they are planning to spend it on helping people cut their fuel bills and energy use and to encourage active travel projects in the borough.

The Zero shop in Friary Street.

ZCG chair, Ben McCallan, said: “We are overjoyed that The National Lottery has acknowledged the importance of this work. This grant can help drive community action on climate and ecological breakdown by continuing to expand ZERO and its related projects”.

ZERO already holds regular talks on energy efficiency for existing gas heating systems, looking at low and zero-carbon heating and evaluating the best option for individual situations.

McCallan said: “We’re keen to develop this into an invaluable place for impartial energy advice, resources on retrofitting and building efficiency, and whatever else the Guildford community request”.

He also wants to team up with local partners to focus on behavioural change about the way we travel. He says the current mindset that “the car is king” is holding back the changes that need to happen in a “rapidly changing planet”.

Zero will be seeking ways “to drive contagious behaviour around healthier, more active methods of getting around our hilly borough, whilst pressing for improved and safer infrastructure from Surrey County Council”.

The charity ZCG is based in ZERO at the bottom of North Street, in a spacious retail unit previously devoted to clothes retailing with chain, New Look.

The shop, now with various environmental displays and a vegan cafe, is bringing people together on climate action with projects such as the seed swap and Take The Jump.

Climate activist and Zero chair, Ben McCallen, spoke at the Zero opening in November 2021.

McCallan says they hope “to help the borough lead by example in tackling the climate crisis”.

He said several examples over the last few years, from the financial crisis a decade ago, to the Covid-19 pandemic, to the current horrific situation in Ukraine, “have highlighted the inability of our current systems to withstand global shocks, causing food insecurity and fuel price crises”.

“By opening discussions and collaborative planning on how we live and work, how we feed and clothe ourselves, and what our true values are as communities, we can find better models to live by.

“This will not only help to rapidly decrease emissions to avert the worst of climate change, but build self-sufficiency and resilience to cope with weak supply chains and reliance on volatile, climate-wrecking fossil fuels.”

See also Excitement As Zero Climate Hub Officially Launches In Guildford

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Responses to Zero ‘Overjoyed’ With Lottery Grant to Help Cut Energy Bills and Push Active Travel

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    March 15, 2022 at 2:40 pm

    Of course, we should all try and reduce our carbon emissions and the UK should also develop more renewable energy but is there a parallel way of achieving much better results?

    “Let your vision be world-embracing” – comes from The Baha’i Faith (

    We import gas and petroleum, so we could import liquid hydrogen in a similar way but from where? The countries in Africa, where they have plenty of sunshine bordering the Sahara desert, could be used to generate electricity on a scale not possible elsewhere.

    In cooperation with these countries, the more technologically advanced nations could set up joint ventures to produce the energy the world needs. By producing liquid hydrogen from water the cost would be manageable as PV generated electricity is cheaper and storage and transportation issues are similar to liquified natural gas.

    Buses have been designed to run on hydrogen but its use in cars is still not widespread. I am not a chemist but it seems to me that hydrogen is definitely the fuel for producing electricity for heating and lighting and perhaps hydrogen cars when becomes widely available and electric cars are the way forward to reducing our carbon emission.

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