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Circular Towns: Selby taking a grassroots approach to bring the circular economy to life

29/04/2022 Blog
Circular Towns: Selby taking a grassroots approach to bring the circular economy to life

In our December Circular Towns blog, we explored the existing context of Scarborough and Selby, and why they decided to participate in the pilot scheme – in this update, we’ll explore the next steps for Selby, and what they’re hoping to achieve over the next few months.

Selby is unique amongst our three pilot towns in having an established low-carbon project already running in the community – Our Zero Selby. Our Zero Selby is part of a national pilot led by Selby District AVS in partnership with Forum for the Future and the public participation charity Involve, to encourage communities to help shape how their town address the challenges of climate change in a way that delivers a just transition to a net-zero carbon economy. The project looks at 5 key areas – buildings, nature, food, travel and waste. Local residents are vital to understanding a town’s strengths, challenges, and opportunities, and so Our Zero Selby offers them a chance to use that knowledge to inform Selby’s climate change work and ensure it is beneficial to the town.

During the autumn, Our Zero Selby held 40 structured community conversations, as well as collating information from surveys completed by 200 local residents, to decide on the areas they wanted to focus on. These were followed by three events in March, bringing together local residents and stakeholders to decide on a coherent vision, set the criteria, and begin prioritising potential projects.

Taking the opportunity to have conversations with local residents and using their insights is key to creating inclusive, helpful, grassroots action, and is an important part of the Circular Towns Guide. Circular economy and low carbon measures often inform each other, so Our Zero Selby’s work should provide an important basis for the circular economy ideas that Selby will be exploring over the next few years, such as scoping the potential for a Library of Things to encourage sharing items amongst the community.

The next task for Selby will be further engaging the local community and making the work relevant and real to its residents. The Selby team will be working with our established circular pilot town, Circular Malton and Norton, to draw on their experience to shape this messaging and get residents and businesses people on-board. This will be bolstered by pop-up events such as a Repair Café, to demonstrate circular economy benefits in-context.

Creating a strong network of businesses and organisations to help drive the initiative forward is also crucial, so Selby is working on identifying existing initiatives within the local area over the next few months. These businesses will be Selby’s first Circular Champions, helping spread the word and bring circular economy concepts to life for local residents. Some of these initiatives have already been identified through the map developed by the Yorkshire Circular Lab at the University of Leeds, which helps map out sustainability projects across Yorkshire, and Selby are keen to build on that to get more organisations involved with the work to make Selby a low-carbon, circular town.

With a strong focus on community engagement and working to leverage existing projects and create drive amongst residents, Selby is well placed to create an initiative that understands what residents want from the circular economy and how to create projects that benefit everyone as they move forward over the next year.

Start your Circular Town journey today

The Y&NY LEP’s Circular Towns Guide offers a simple, flexible framework for communities looking to explore circular economy ideas within their neighbourhoods; it is free for anyone to access and the LEP is trialling it with three towns across the region – Malton, Scarborough, and Selby. Interested in making a difference in your community? Read the Circular Towns Guide here.

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