What is a transition town?
A transition town (or city area, village, island etc) is a place where the community works together to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. The status of a place as a ‘transition town’ is not conferred by government but by concerned local residents coming together and, in time, seeking recognition by the Transition Network. We have now achieved this.
There are over 450 officially recognised transition initiatives worldwide in 34 countries – others close to us in Yorkshire are at Marsden/Slaithwaite and Hebden Bridge. Each transition initiative is run independently and, like other such initiatives, we are not affiliated to any faith group or political party.
Where we are
Holmfirth Transition Town Initiative (HoTT) is focused on the Yorkshire town of Holmfirth and surrounding villages located a few miles south of Huddersfield amidst the Pennine hills. Holmfirth is a former wool town and is known to many people as the setting for the Last of the Summer Wine TV series. The town is relatively affluent, but car ownership and longer distance car commuting are both higher than national averages. We also have a lot of older housing.
While formally, we operate within the Holme Valley South Ward of Kirklees Council (population 18,890, in 2011) we are pleased to welcome the involvement of people living nearby. Our boundaries are set by Netherthong and up to Brockholes to the north and Hepworth, Hade Edge and Holme to the south.
How we operate
HoTT is an unincorporated voluntary body with a constitution and we run in an informal and democratic way through a management group that meets bi-monthly. This is open to all.
HoTT has three groups focused on specific matters: energy, transport and a reading group called HoTT Talk. All these groups meet regularly and are open to new participants – so do come along.
We have over 200 supporters on our email list – and our number is growing.
More widely, HoTT has developed positive relations with the Holme Valley Parish Council and Kirklees District Council. We also have links with other local voluntary bodies and faith groups and with the Holme Valley Business Association. Kirklees Council has provided a grant to support the work of HoTT.
A small group of us – all local residents – came together in the autumn of 2009 and we held our first public meeting in February 2010.
Since then HoTT has been working to raise awareness of climate change and the emerging shortage of oil that is now widely expected and we are starting to develop sustainable energy and other projects. We have shown and discussed films, held events on saving energy at home and on making older houses more energy efficient. We have also held a Go Green Transport Show to highlight low carbon alternatives to travelling by car. We are also looking for ways to grow more of our own food.
We contributed to the West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan Strategy and its implementation, to the Local Development Framework, and to Holmfirth Arts Festival and Christian Aid Day.
What we aim to do
Our main aims are to:
- Help people become more aware of the very real problems of climate change and how changes to our everyday lives can help save money and be good for the planet
- Strive to make the changes needed in our own lives
- Lead or support community projects
- Encourage sustainable living, including local food growing and buying, reduced energy use, low carbon travel, increased recycling and more
- Connect with other Transition initiatives and with local Government
HoTT have established a social enterprise company, HoTTWind@Longley, to run and operate the wind turbine for the benefit of the local community. It was incorporated and registered with the FCA as a Community Benefit Society (Registration number 7017) on 6th October 2014. Its registered office is 77 Totties, Scholes, Holmfirth HD9 1UJ, West Yorkshire, UK. A Community Benefit Society is a legal entity. It is owned by its members and operated for the benefit of the community. Members elect Directors to the Board for the management of the Society. Each Member has one vote in a Members meeting, regardless of number of shares held. Annual General Meetings (AGM) are held for Members to hold the Board to account and to hear about the progress and performance of the Society. Members are protected by limited liability and are only obliged to contribute the initial cost of their shares.