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Community BEES: Brockmoor Energy and Environment Scheme

Brockmoor Energy and Environment Scheme, known as ‘Community BEES’, is the first ‘Net Zero Neighbourhood’ to be funded as part of the West Midlands Combined Authority’s ‘Net Zero Neighbourhood Programme’.

Community BEES is designed to make Brockmoor in Dudley, a more sustainable place to live in for all residents, with the project helping to inform the development of other Net Zero Neighbourhoods in the region.

In particular, the project explores home improvement (retrofit) and energy use, as well as travel and green spaces – some of the key components of a ‘sustainable neighbourhood’.

Crucially, Community BEES places the local residents at the heart of the project, with a community engagement approach that values ‘co-design’ so that residents can shape what a more sustainable Brockmoor looks like.

What is Community BEES aiming to achieve?

Community BEES wants to achieve several things to help make Brockmoor an exemplar of a sustainable neighbourhood. These include: 

  • Designing an approach to retrofitting homes that can be expanded across the West Midlands. 
  • Exploring how transport can be decarbonised and improving active travel. 
  • Improving green spaces and nature in Brockmoor. 
  • Engaging with local residentsto co-design the Net Zero Neighbourhood.
  • Investing in local energy infrastructure.
  • Reducing local energy and fuel bills.

Project partners

Community BEES has five project partners including:

  • Dudley Council
  • Equans
  • Keele University
  • Connected Places Catapult
  • Carnego Systems

Community BEES also has involvement from the University of Birmingham who are leading a related project that links net-zero policies with positive health outcomes, and they have been installing indoor and outdoor air quality sensors in the area.

The key elements within the project

1. Home improvements to reduce energy bills

A key target of Community BEES is to make home improvements (or ‘retrofit’) to reduce energy bills on 50 houses in the neighbourhood within the first year of the project.

Home improvements might include installing insulation in the walls and roof, or installing rooftop solar panels for example, and will be dependent on eligibility criteria for each home and the results of a home assessment.

Sensors that measure air quality in the home, as well as temperature, humidity levels, and energy use before and after the home improvements are made will also be installed. These sensors are provided by Carnego Systems and the University of Birmingham.

2. Improving travel & transport

Community BEES wants to explore how people living in Brockmoor can get around in more sustainable ways which are good for people’s health and the environment. The project aims to understand more about people’s travel patterns and experiences in the area to help design future improvements. 

3. Improving green spaces

Green spaces are important for people and wildlife and as well as reducing some of the impacts of climate change. Community BEES wants to explore how the green spaces in Brockmoor can be improved for everyone. This might involve community food growing opportunities, creating more spaces for nature, as well as recreation. We want to hear about what the residents would like from their neighbourhood’s green spaces. 

4. Community Centric Design

A key part of Community BEES is the importance placed upon the local experience and views of residents. The project aims to ensure that all residents are able to participate in the project and share their thoughts as well as learn from it.

This is being approached through a range of engagement activities including interactive workshops, community walks and outdoor activities, ‘pop-up’ activity stalls, online social media engagement, as well as opportunities to learn more about what ‘net zero’ really means to our lives, plus much more.

How is this project funded?

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) and Dudley Council have raised more than  £2.5 million from a combination of council and grant funding to deliver Community BEES in Brockmoor over the next two years.

Get involved

There are several ways in which residents can keep up to date with developments on Community BEES. Community BEES uses a project Facebook page to communicate with local residents, sharing project updates and events, as well as pitching questions about the project for people to respond to.

Residents can also contact the Community BEES team by contacting Ryan Langley, a Researcher at Keele University, by email. Feel free to get in touch with any questions, thoughts, or simply to have a conversation about Community BEES.

Residents can also get in touch by phoning the Dudley Energy Advice Line to discuss anything related to Community BEES.

Map of the Community BEES project area

The map below displays the areas within the Community BEES project area. Community BEES is interested in engaging with local people who live within this area, as well as those people who travel through the area and use the area and the nearby facilities.