PEDAL has received a Climate Challenge Fund award for a project which includes development of the orchard, plus other food initiatives as well as the introduction of energy saving measures for Portobello residents. The announcement of the new Climate Challenge Fund projects was made on Wednesday , 31 March [list of all projects funded in this round are available here]. As part of the announcement the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, met up with members of PEDAL as well as other recipients of funding at a reception at the King’s Manor hotel. The event was attended by representatives of Keep Scotland Beautiful, who will administer the grants, and Robin Harper MSP, who is also the prospective parliamentary candidate for the the Green Party for the Westminster constituency of Edinburgh East.
The party proceeded to the orchard just as it was starting to snow but luckily some of the Scottish Government representatives had come armed with their wellies! Access to the site was made easier in the inclement weather by the newly installed path and PEDAL representatives explained our plans for the orchard, as well as the energy part of the project. A brief photo shoot of the minister, the MSP and the groups concluded the visit. The minister then had to rush off to see the flood damage in Musselburgh, where the River Esk had burst its banks due to the incessant rain over the last 24 hours or so — a timely reminder of the urgent need to tackle climate change perhaps?