Blackshaw Environmental Action Team (BEAT) is a community organisation based near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. BEAT was established in 1998 and has over 90 members.
BEAT began as an environmental group but in the last few years we have also worked on broader sustainability issues, including economic and social aspects of our community.
BEAT developed a vision for a sustainable community (see Documents section) and a sustainability plan for our parish. Various projects have followed from this:
setting up Pennine Community Power to install a community wind turbine to generate a regular income for the community,
creating two community orchards in Blackshaw Head and helping to establish community allotments in Charlestown,
insulating our local church / community centre.
A short history of BEAT
BEAT was set up after a long-running local campaign against a planning application for a commercial motorbike racing facility at Dukes Cut. Several hundred people signed petitions and wrote letters of objection to the plans. The application went to appeal, where it was refused. Participants in this campaign felt that we should establish a permanent group to look after our environment, and so BEAT was born.
Over the years BEAT has organised a variety of activities:
- birdwatching in the early hours of the morning followed by breakfast at the pub
- watching wildlife in the area with an expert in the field
- putting up bird and bat boxes
- tuition in photographing nature
- Himalayan Balsam control
- encouraging supermarkets to use less plastic and to collect used plastic from customers for recycling
- monthly public meetings with speakers on all kind of sustainability issues
- village clean-ups every six months
- a newsletter, UpBEAT, every two months
- exhibition at the annual village fete
- talks and presentations at other organisations’ events
- two training courses on grafting fruit trees
- wildlife surveys of the area, often in relation to a specific planning application where we thought it was important to have an Environmental Impact Assessment
BEAT members decide what other activities BEAT should undertake. The village plan allocated various jobs to BEAT. New ideas are always welcome, as are new members who want to join in our activities.