Category Archives: Uncategorized

Next steps for Portobello (Transition Town) Apple Network 2016

Portobello Apple is a local initiative under the umbrella of Portobello Transition Town which is part of a national network seeking to promote low energy, more sustainable living. At Portobello Apple we have had three successful years of collecting unwanted apples and pears from local gardens, local parks and our own Portobello Orchard, then juicing, pasteurising and bottling them. The bottles are sold at Portobello Market and our own Apple day and the proceeds so far have gone towards the upkeep of Portobello (Donkeyfield) Orchard. 140 bottles were sold last year, as well as a variety of jams, preserves and ketchups from the fruit. The initiative has only been possible with local support from artists designing the labels; printers printing the labels at cost-price; people donating space in their gardens for the juicing equipment and free time to the picking; and commercial nurseries prepared to donate unwanted apples and pears. A great combined effort. As we look ahead to 2016 we see great potential. Only 10% of all the apples growing in local gardens have found their way into our bottles. As we sell more we can start contributing to other charities. We have a second apple press for hire. Though fairly fully planted,the orchard itself lends itself to more growing activities and social activities. So as we think and plan ahead we would be interested in your responses to the following:

1. We plan to seek out the remaining 90% of apples with more publicity. Do you have any unwanted apples or know of anyone who does?

2. We have the equipment to produce lots more juice but not the manpower or womanpower. We need more help in the picking and transporting of the fruit. Can you help?

3. We have the potential to contribute to other charities in some ways. Do you know of any?

4. Many people relish making their own juice and our second mobile press for hire is an underused resource.

5. Similarly our main static equipment can be made more available to the public, perhaps for a donation of apples which we can then sell.

6. In the Orchard itself we have a year’s list of projects, including a children’s woodland play area, on our monthly work-days. Can you help?

7. We run a series of pruning and grafting workshops and an annual Wassailing Day already; but the the space is there for any number of other outdoor activities including children’s play, bird-watching, theatre and others. We know of a couple who wanted to get married in the Orchard! Could you use it?

8. We generated enough creative recipes to start a Portie Apple Preserve Handbook. Can you contribute?

9. We make cider too but not for sale! We suspect there are many others around making cider to share tips with. A Portobello Cider Group?

If you are interested or can help please contact us at: orchard [at] pedal-porty [dot] org [dot] uk

Our turbine proposals have gone into planning!

It’s up to Highland Council now whether the project can go ahead, but we’re delighted to have got this far. Below are some details from our press release.

As you will have noticed the Energyshare website hasn’t been closed down – Energyshare decided to keep it open after many of the groups featured asked them to do so. So we will continue to keep in touch with you in this way – unless you tell us you don’t want to receive these updates.

Community renewables project reaches crucial milestone:

A community-owned renewable energy project has reached a crucial milestone with the submission of a detailed planning application to Highland Council.

The project, which has been jointly developed by two Edinburgh-based community organisations, aims to generate clean, renewable energy, contributing to Scottish Government efforts to tackle climate change.

The two 750KW wind turbines at the heart of the project will also generate a financial return that will be shared between local community organisations near the project and the non-profit groups that developed the initiative, Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello.

Charlotte Encombe, Greener Leith Chair said: “Volunteers from both Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello have invested hundreds of volunteer hours to get the project to this stage, fundraising, managing contractors and meeting with local community groups.

“All the environmental studies on the site show that our community-owned wind project will have little impact on the surrounding area, and unlike most commercial energy developments, this project will provide a significant financial return to support community-led initiatives in the local area as well as in Leith and Portobello.”

The project is currently 95% owned by two Edinburgh-based community groups Greener Leith and PEDAL Portobello. A number of community organisations local to the project have already been approached by volunteers from the project, and offered the opportunity to invest in the project.

Eva Schonveld, PEDAL Portobello Chair said: “Whilst community groups close to the project are already guaranteed to receive annual community benefit payments from the project, we are also able to offer non-profit organisations in the local area the opportunity to invest in the project directly too.”

“All over Scotland, renewable energy projects like this are generating resources for community groups that can help them revitalise their areas, whilst simultaneously tackling climate change and UK dependence on fossil fuels from foreign countries.

“We’re really excited about reaching this important milestone in our project and keen to start playing a part in the community-owned renewable energy revolution.”

Should the project receive planning permission, construction of the wind turbines is expected to begin in 2015.

Latest on the Turbines

Tom, Carolyn and Vijay at the wind turbine site.

Tom, Carolyn and Vijay at the wind turbine site.

A wind monitoring mast has been installed at the site of the proposed PEDAL and Greener Leith wind turbines. The equipment will monitor both wind speed and wind direction at 50 metres and 60 metres over 12 months to help us get a better idea of the wind resource, energy yield and likely income from the turbines. Information is sent by email from the mast daily to the contractor, Kona, who will the provide monthly reports. This information will assist with applications for finance.

We’ve begun meeting with local groups to discuss the project and have more meetings planned in the near future.Volunteers from PEDAL and Greener Leith and staff from Scene Consulting (pictured) visited the site on 3rd of June to meet with the Community Council there and to see the installation being completed. The area had already largely been felled of commercial timber by the landowner’s forestry contractors. Additional trees felled for the installation will be replaced by new tree planting at another local site.

PEDAL ‘Street Level’ – make it happen on your street!


Would you love to have a street party on your street — but never got round to mak­ing it hap­pen? Or do you think car-sharing with a few people who live close by would make sense, but you’re not sure how to go about it? Maybe you think it’s crazy that 10 people in your street have a lawn mower, when you could all just use the same one?

If so, Street Level may be for you.

It’s not complicated – just the chance to bring together a bunch of people who’d like to start something good on their street – so they can share a bit of moral and prac­tical sup­port. Let’s get together, share ideas and resources and sup­port one another to make good things hap­pen on our streets.

The kinds of things we might do are:

Organise street parties

Join Streetbank

Get on-street bike storage

Start community gardens

Build on-street planters/trees

Make or commission public art

Share chickens

Start food/solar/insulation co-ops…

… stuff like that.

If you’re interested, email info [at] pedalporty [dot] org or call Eva

Next Steps to New Site for Community Wind Energy Project

Long standing supporters of PEDAL will remember that we won a UK-wide funding competition, in partnership with Greener Leith, to help us build a community owned wind turbine at Seafield.

visualisation of how the turbines will look from a local access route.

Visualisation of how the turbines will look from a local access route.

P&L Turbine hub-heightAlthough Scottish Water subsequently pulled out of the deal, preventing us from building a turbine at Seafield, we did not give up, and are now pleased to be able to confirm that we’ve secured a new site for the community turbine project – four kilometres south west of Inverness.

The agreement follows a year of complex negotiations. The land deal gives us exclusive rights to conduct studies at the site and build two wind turbines of up to 800KWp capacity each.

P&L Turbine tomfat-mapTo take the project forwards we have established a joint venture company which is majority owned by PEDAL and Greener Leith. Consultants to the project, SCENE, own a minority (five percent) stake.

In addition, planning permission has recently been granted to install a met mast on the site to measure the wind resource, which will happen in the next month or so.

The next step is to meet with the communities near to the site.  We hope local non-profit groups will become partners in the project too, and are offering them the chance to invest in, and become part owners of it. We want this to be a project that brings real environmental and financial benefits, not just to our own communities, but to those where the turbines will be located.

We’ve already begun this process and will be presenting on the project at Strathnairn Community Council’s meeting on 26th May.

The aim is to submit a full planning application to Highland Council sometime in August. If it gets planning permission, the project could generate an estimated £7m surplus over the twenty year lifespan of the project, to be distributed between the community groups who invest in the project – including PEDAL  and Greener Leith.

A spokesperson for the project said:

“Signing a land deal is a huge milestone for this project. PEDAL and Greener Leith volunteers have worked for years on this project and both organisations remain firmly committed to community-owned renewable energy. Our attention is now focussed on identifying potential non-profit community partners local to the site who we can work with to help us take the project forwards and share in the subsequent benefits.

“Although a lot still needs to happen before we can be certain the project will go ahead, we hope to put in a full planning application later in the year, with a view to starting construction on site in 2015. We’d like to thank all the people who have got behind the project, especially our key funders, for their ongoing support.”

You can find out more about the project at the specially set-up website at

Announcing a new PEDAL working group: Bike Group

We are setting up a new cycling steering group for PEDAL – we’ve started running a local survey on what people would like to help them cycle more, and aim to use this to apply for funding support.

We’re thinking: Dr Bike sessions for the market, adult cycle training, commuter buddying, and on-street bike tools. If you’d like to get involved, get in touch with us or come along to the next market to have a chat.

Contact Charlotte on portycharlotte [at] yahoo [dot] co [dot] uk if you’re interested.

PEDAL’s rep on Community Council is Eva Schonveld

Thanks to all of you who wrote in and responded to the Ask Porty consultation  that asked which registered Local Interest Groups should be represented on Portobello Community Council. 

The Community Council had to choose 7 from 8 registered Groups.  A summary of the responses they received is online here:-

Bath Street Gap Site clear up -> Success!

Bath Street Gap Site clear up Sunday 3rd November 2013A great Sunday afternoon (3rd November) clearing the site to prepare for the raised bed growing spaces . . . frogs found so we’ll need a raised pond too!

Rumour has it this was not only the site of the old sofa factory, but before that of the Electric underground Cinema . . . now there’s food for thought!

We’re planning on a day of burning and hopefully chipping – hope you can join us!

Inspired by Falkirk? a Community Charter for Portobello?

This link takes you to the extraordinary Community Charter Falkirk has drawn up in the attempt to protect its cultural and ecological heritage against any developments which the community as a whole decide pose a threat to it.

It is in response to proposed methane extraction, but should Portobello do the same? If we did, it would be key that such decisions were taken by the community as a whole, and arrived at through processes that secure consensus.

. . . and here is a lovely link to a brief video of kids at The Big Dig in Falkirk

(nb: this is a post by Justin, no one else is responsible for it!)


Blown away by Bike Full Day !

Pumping up the action (please submit other suggestions to

Pumping up the action

Cycle Ballet troupe relaxing during their show!

Cycle Ballet troupe relaxing



Bike Full Day - getting in the wayof the cyclists on the Prom - sorry!

Bike Full Day – don’t get in the way of the cyclists!


Windy windup to biking along the Prom!

Windy windup to biking along the Prom!



Taking the Bichael? The Porty Paparazzi and the Yellow Brigade

Miming what happens when a car doesn't give a bike enough room . . .

Miming what happens when a car doesn’t give a bike enough room . . .