ENVIRONMENTAL groups in the Lake District aim to soon have all homes and businesses in the area fitted out with 'green calculators' to reduce carbon emissions.

Working with the Ambleside Action For a Future (AAFAF) organisation, Cumbria Action for Sustainability (CAFS) is currently seeking a contractor to develop two online carbon footprinting calculator tools - one intended for residents' use and the other for businesses in the area.

They intend to pilot the carbon calculators, which allow users and households to track their carbon emissions, in Ambleside before a broader expansion of the project across the county.

The project is modelled on a similar scheme realised in Ashton Hayes, Chester, around 10 years ago in conjunction with the area's parish council.

The green tools are expected to be developed and tested between now and December.

AAFAF also says it aims to have facilitator training planned for next January, with a rollout taking place from February onwards.

According to AAFAF, the total budget available for delivery of both carbon footprint calculators is £16,000, with funding having been provided by South Lakeland District Council.

Explaining the vision behind the project, Molly Hogg, the low-carbon communities project manager at CAFS, said: "The project will be delivered over a few stages.

"Firstly, we're going to test the calculator with a small number of residents and businesses to make sure it's working well and address any tweaks that may be needed.

"In parallel, we'll be developing our engagement process to make Ambleside residents and businesses aware of the tools and encourage them to make use of them." 

She added: "It's too early to say what the broader interest or adoption across Ambleside will be, but we have a good level of enthusiasm from those who are already aware of the project, and hope that others will feel the same.

"We're hoping to do the testing over the next couple of months and roll out the project in Ambleside early next year. Hopefully, we'll then be able to offer it to other communities in Cumbria.

"The overall aim is that the calculator will give users a much better understanding of where their carbon emissions come from so that they can work to reduce them. The calculator will be accompanied by advice on carbon reduction to help them with this.

"The combined individual calculations will also give us a deeper understanding of the overall emissions from Ambleside, and how they reduce over time."

Earlier this summer, AAFAF members set out an ambitious set of proposals aimed at reducing the Lake District's carbon emissions and rebranding the area around sustainable tourism.

The carbon calculator scheme has been welcomed by community leaders in the South Lakes, although there remain some reservations among political representatives in the area.

Commenting on the proposals, South Lakes MP Tim Farron said: "I think this sounds like a good a way of getting us all to be more conscious of how much carbon we are all emitting and focusing us on what more we can do to look after the environment – I look forward to seeing more detail from the group as to how the scheme would be rolled out and funded.

“For me though, the biggest thing we can do to tackle climate change here in the Lakes is to get more people, especially visitors, out of their cars and onto public transport.

“To do that we need a reliable, affordable and comprehensive bus service as well as a passing loop on the Lakes Line to allow trains to run every half hour instead of every hour as they do at the moment.

“From discussions I’ve had with Ambleside Action For A Future I know this is something they are very supportive of and I look forward to working with them and other local residents, local councillors and businesses in making that case to central Government.”

Cllr Ben Berry, the county council representative for Windermere, echoed Mr Farron's concerns about a lack of detail up to this point regarding the project.