Corpus Christi College Oxford

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Future of the College Sports Ground

From Trinity Term 2010, Corpus Christi will share University College's sports ground, to be known as the Univ-Corpus Sports Ground. Corpus' existing sports ground will be used to benefit the local community...

Corpus is keen to be a good neighbour and responsible citizen. The availability of the sports ground site has presented us with a unique opportunity to enter into partnership with a dynamic local organisation to make a substantial difference to carbon emissions in the city.

Low Carbon West Oxford (LCWO) is a not-for-private-profit limited company with registered charity status. It has devised a simple, but powerful, business model which seeks to apply grant-aid to the purchase of large photo-voltaic cells (PVs) and then to persuade local businesses with large expanses of roof space to host them - on condition that LCWO will buy back the generated electricity. They then reinvest this income into other local projects which would further reduce local emissions. They have a target of reducing CO2 emissions in West Oxford by 80% by 2050; in 2009 LCWO activities saved a total of 314 tonnes of carbon. WOCR - the limited company they have set up - were runners-up in The Big Green Challenge organised by NESTA (National Endowment of Science Technology and the Arts) and received an award of £100,000, which will be shared between the two organisations. WOCR is also one of 22 winners in the Low Carbon Communities Challenge being run by DECC (Department for Energy and Climate Change) and received an award of £803,000. The money will be used to buy equipment for renewable/clean energy projects. LCWO's first solar panels were installed on the roof of The King's Centre on Osney Mead in August 2009. LCWO has plans to install many more solar panels (one at the new Aldi store and one on the building of the Mid-Counties Co-op headquarters, both situated on Botley Road) and they have plans to set up a small wind turbine in 2010 in the grounds of Matthew Arnold School (they are running an anemometer test at the moment). In the longer term, they plan to install a micro-hydro scheme in Osney Weir and sell the electricity it generates to the Environment Agency.

LCWO see the sports ground becoming the home of a new West Oxford Ecology and Low Carbon Centre, designed to be a centre of excellence for sustainable living. It will be a place of inspiration and education, promoting the transformation from a heavily carbon-based existence to a low carbon future. Their plans involve a set of interlocking projects:

• carbon sequestration through tree planting and building soil carbon through low-input agriculture
• community beehives
• the planting of a community orchard
• covering the existing tennis courts with PVs to produce renewable energy for local consumers
• bio-fuel production
• possibly a small-scale wind turbine

They plan to turn the pavilion into a training and education centre that will help to replicate similar schemes around the country and which can be used as a for classroom activities for local schools. They also anticipate that it will become a focus for local community events. See LCWO website for further details.

One of the directors and leading entrepreneurs in this group is an old Corpuscle, Barbara Hammond. She is, quite naturally, appreciative of the College's traditions and culture, and is particularly sensitive to the importance of bees to the College's history. She has emphasised how important this site will become for the development of a strong local bee population. Honey produced at the site will be sold through the lodge as "Corpus Christi Honey".

LCWO will be meeting the cost of all the outgoings on the site and in return the College will receive a peppercorn rent of one jar of honey. LCWO will also be working with us to reduce the College's own carbon footprint in readiness for the forthcoming changes in emissions regulations.

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