Bioregional Oxfordshire supported the development of the UK’s first eco-town North West Bicester, from 2010 to 2017, through a long-term partnership with lead developer, A2Dominion, and the local authority, Cherwell District Council
How we helped A2Dominion ensure the success of the UK’s first eco town
The challenge: ensuring behaviour change
Elmsbrook, led by A2Dominion, was designed as a One Planet Living community. Proactive support for residents at this One Planet Community is proving key to helping Elmsbrook achieve its true zero-carbon ambition.
How we helped
Travel plan coordinator
Bioregional performed the role of Elmsbrook’s Travel Plan coordinator for 2016-17 to help A2Dominion wean new residents off fossil-fuelled cars.
Our role included:
- Reviewing the bus service for NW Bicester, and encouraging residents to use it
- Holding electric vehicle test-drive events
- Engaging four Elmsbrook residents as electric vehicle champions
- Analysing the barriers to cycling
Every home in Elmsbrook also has a ‘Shimmy’ tablet computer that promotes sustainable transport options, like borrowing a Brompton folding bicycle or encouraging use of the E-Car club.
We were hired by A2Dominion to coordinate and draft a comprehensive post-occupancy monitoring report of Elmsbrook, capturing data over a 12-month period. We collated information from a range of sources including the homes’ own monitoring equipment, a residents’ survey to capture qualitative data, and information from external stakeholders.
We found that the combined impact of the eco features incorporated into the 160 homes, primary school and combined heat and power energy centre have ensured that the entire site achieved ‘true zero carbon’ in 2017/18, saving the UK some 300 tonnes of carbon emissions every year compared with a standard new-build development of a similar size.
Our research also showed that more efforts are needed to encourage people to adopt sustainable behaviours, including recycling more and reducing their dependence on cars.
Health and happiness
46% of residents say their favourite design feature is eco-related, also pointing to features that help build a sense of community, like shared spaces, group activities and a residents’ green charter.
Zero carbon energy
This year’s average household carbon footprint was 120kg – 5% of the national average of 2447kg of carbon emissions.