THE Ryedale Environmental Group (REG) is a recently-formed group encouraging projects that reduce our environmental impacts across the district by promoting recycling, re-use and the reduction of waste.

So far town and village-based groups have been set up in Malton and Norton, Pickering and Kirby Misperton.

Each month this column will feature a group or project to showcase our activities.

Ryedale picture postcard village Hovingham is aiming to be carbon neutral in the 2030s, according to Frank Colenso, who heads up Project Purple, the thriving environmental action group.

Frank, who is this month’s contributor to the Ryedale Environment Group’s column, said: “The challenge for our community is daunting but not impossible.

“Approximately 32 per cent of the UK’s fossil fuel consumption is used in housing and private transport.

“We have to be part of the solution. I believe we will need to rely on our own initiative to make it happen.”

Formed in 2017, Project Purple received an 84 per cent response rate to a community survey in the village. Eighty-seven per cent of residents wanted to be actively involved in reducing the community carbon footprint or know more about the project.

The survey helped the group to work out its priorities, some quick wins and produce an action plan.

With the support of the parish council, the plan focuses on three areas to reduce this community’s dependency on the earth’s resources, including fossil fuels - recycling, reuse and repair; reducing energy demand; and developing a village renewable energy scheme

In March, Hovingham opened its doors to the first Repair Café, extending the life of items that would otherwise go to landfill.

Organiser Kim Colenso said: “Nine local volunteer fixers stepped forward to share their knowledge and skills and the café attracted 25 local people.

“A volunteer carpenter, sewing expert, and other experienced repairers successfully fixed eleven items in two hours, sharing advice and tips.

“The first Hovingham Morsbag was also made. Morsbags are made using unwanted fabric and given away free to reduce plastic bag use.

“A further Repair Café will be planned once it is safe to do so based on Covid-19 restrictions guidance.”

A “virtual” shared shed is also planned. This enables the community to share useful equipment purchased for occasional use, such as extendable ladders or power tools. It’s free to use and reduces consumption.

Project Purple is working with Ryedale District Council and the parish council to refurbish the community recycling area and is working with Hovingham Primary School to produce artwork to decorate the site.

To support residents without access to off street charging, the first community electric vehicle (EV) charger was recently installed with grants from OLEV, Ryedale District Council, Project Purple and the support of the parish council and the Village Hall Committee.

Looking to the future, Project Purple is investigating opportunities to launch a community energy project, securing a grant through the Rural Community Energy Fund.

David Davis, Project Purple volunteer, said: “Reducing domestic energy demand is the UK’s biggest decarbonising challenge. Opportunities must be found if we are to use less and not shirk our responsibility to future generations.”

For more information email or go to