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Green Homes open day in Edinburgh – Saturday 29 September

Visit a loc­al home to see renew­ables in action

Have you ever thought about gen­er­at­ing your own energy at home?  Why not come and have a chat with some green homeown­ers in your area?

On Saturday 29 September, eight homeown­ers in Edinburgh will open their homes and share their renew­ables exper­i­ence.  This is part of a Scotland-wide event with a total of 48 homes tak­ing part across the country.

Energy Saving Scotland advice centre South East is join­ing forces with Transition Edinburgh South and Transition Edinburgh Pentlands to provide an inform­a­tion hub at Colinton Mains Parish Church. Please come along, and meet with installers and with our inde­pend­ent expert advisors who can even vis­it you to see what’s suit­able for your home.

How to take part

·         Visit to find out where the homes are and which tech­no­lo­gies they have

·         Decide which homes you’d like to vis­it.

Most homes will be open between 10.30am and 4.30pm, but please check the details on the map.

·         Speak to our spe­cial­ists at the loc­al hub event, find out more about gen­er­at­ing energy at home and meet installers. 

Funded by the Scottish Government, the Green Homes open day is part of the Green Homes Network which provides you with the excit­ing oppor­tun­ity to vis­it green homes in your area. You can find out first hand how dif­fer­ent renew­able sys­tems run in real homes, hear about actu­al costs and sav­ings, and get tips and advice that could help you on your way.

P.S. Please let your friends and neigh­bours know about this event!

Lothian Buses Open Day, 22nd September

Lothian Buses will be hold­ing a depot open day at Central Depot, 55 Annandale Street, Edinburgh, EH7 4AZ on Saturday 22 September between 11.45 and 16.00.  This is part of the Cockburn Association’s Doors Open Day event across Edinburgh.

The event is a great FREE fun day out for all of the fam­ily – high­lights including:

  • Edinburgh Buses from the 1950’s to date on display
  • Guided open-top bus tours of the depot
  • Tours of the depot in a vin­tage double-decker
  • Trips through our bus wash­er in our state-of-the-art hybrid double-deck­er buses
  • Manufacturer stand includ­ing an artist’s impres­sion of our forth­com­ing single-deck­er hybrid buses
  • Driving sim­u­lat­ors
  • The Heart of Midlothian parade bus AND the Scottish Cup
  • Bus hois­ted on jacks for you to walk under
  • The chance to sit in the driv­ing seat of a double-deck­er and play with the controls
  • Playbus with ball pit and slides
  • Bus toppled onto its side and recov­ery demon­stra­tion (2.30pm)

There will also be refresh­ments and toilets.

There is also a com­pet­i­tion on our web­site to win the chance to see behind the scenes of their brand new Control Room suite.  See‑general-news/1215-doors-open-day-2012.html for more details and how to enter.

Edinburgh Blasda 16th September, Leith

2 – 7 pm, Sunday 16 September

Out of the Blue, Dalmeny Street, Leith

Now in its second year, Blasda will be help­ing cel­eb­rate all that is good with loc­al food through a series of events run by com­munit­ies cafes and cooks in loc­a­tions ran­ging from Barra to Edinburgh dur­ing Food and Drink Fortnight.

Blasda, which is co-ordin­ated by the Fife Diet, pro­motes a vibrant new food cul­ture that cel­eb­rates loc­al her­it­age and vari­ation, but is based on eat­ing loc­ally-sourced fresh food which can be a boost to the eco­nomy and eco­logy of Scotland.

With events includ­ing mass lunches, pot luck pic­nics and pub­lic feasts plus ceilidhs, talks and food films across Scotland there really will be some­thing for everyone!

Blasda are also pleased to announce a mobile ele­ment to the fest­iv­it­ies this year with a rov­ing set of work­shops on how to ‘grow your own’ being pro­moted by the chip-fat oil powered Seed Truck and the Culture Kitchen Relay run by Hidden Gardens which will be swap­ping recipes between com­munit­ies as it travels! 

Edinburgh Blasda Workshops, Out of the Blue, Leith


Ally Tibbitt from Greener Leith will hold a ‘loc­al food audit’ look­ing at what’s avail­able across Edinburgh and map­ping allot­ments, loc­al food pro­jects, cafes, com­munity grow­ing schemes, loc­al food shops. Come along, bring your loc­al know­ledge (and your laptop) and fill in the gaps.


Greig Robertson (Edinburgh Communty Backgreens Association, Edible Estates) on who’s grow­ing what and where. Talk fol­lowed by tour of nearby Sunshine on Leith com­munity garden.


Phoebe Weller (Roving Fromagerie) on the pro­lif­er­a­tion  of qual­ity artis­an cheese-mak­ing and tra­di­tions they’re draw­ing on. Come along for a taste of the best cheese in Scotland.

STALLS / EXHIBITORS 2.00 – 7.00 pm 

Breadshare with the Seed Truck ped­al-powered mill bike (Fergus), Community Gardens (Sunshine on Leith, Redbraes Strawberry Field, Lochend Secret Garden and vari­ous),  Changeworks, Zapatista Coffee, Mcleods Organics, Foragable teas and infu­sions (Anna Canning), Leith Open Space ‘World Kitchen’ (Fay Young), Fife Diet’s Smoothie Bike with fruit from Edinburgh com­munity garden pro­jects with Diane Burn.Reception (sponsored by William Bros) 6.00 — 7.00

The acclaimed Centotre and the Scottish Cafe will be fea­tur­ing a full Scottish menu as part of the Blasda celebrations.

 For a full list­ing of Blasda events check out the inter­act­ive map at

Nourish Conference: Scotland’s food 2020 — healthier, wealthier, greener, smarter, fairer?

28th and 29th September

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

In the worst grow­ing sea­son for years, with dairy industry protests, the pig sec­tor under pres­sure and US drought push­ing grain prices to a record high, we face some big choices about the future of Scotland’s food. The Nourish con­fer­ence will explore Food 2.0 — a food sys­tem which feeds every­one well and afford­ably while deliv­er­ing vibrant, diverse and cli­mate-smart loc­al food economies.

Friday’s ses­sion will include a key­note address from Anya Hultberg from Copenhagen’s House of Food, which has con­ver­ted 75% of the city’s pub­lic food to organ­ic. On the Saturday the con­fer­ence will look­ing at how com­munity groups, NGOs, small pro­du­cers and con­cerned cit­izens can work togeth­er for a bet­ter food system.

 N.B Nourish are look­ing for loc­al organ­ic pro­du­cers to sup­ply sea­son­al food for the event, which the cater­ing team at QMU will cook. Please get in touch (see below) if you can offer some pro­duce in return for a free place at the event.

More inform­a­tion at soon. Meanwhile for more inform­a­tion or to offer to be a sup­pli­er, con­tact Pete Ritchie on phone 0131 243 2732 or 07794 610148

Alternative site to be identified for turbine

Our reg­u­lar read­ers will know that PEDAL volun­teers have been work­ing hard with those at Greener Leith to devel­op a com­munity owned wind tur­bine at Seafield Sewage Works. In January this year we hit a stum­bling block in nego­ti­ations over the Seafield site, in rela­tion to safety and liab­il­ity issues should there be an acci­dent involving the tur­bine. In response PEDAL and Greener Leith pro­duced options for con­sid­er­a­tion by the Scottish Government.

On 28th May, Scottish Energy Minster Fergus Ewing chaired a meet­ing at Seafield involving all parties, in an attempt to find a way for­ward. However, rep­res­ent­at­ives of landown­ers Scottish Water and site oper­at­ors Veolia Water stated that the site is no longer con­sidered suit­able for a wind tur­bine due to the pos­sible need for land to expand the waste water treat­ment works in the future. 

While this devel­op­ment is frus­trat­ing, we are pleased to say that Scottish Water have pledged to help us find anoth­er site for a com­munity tur­bine, or to oth­er­wise help the com­munit­ies of Portobello and Leith achieve their renew­able energy aspir­a­tions. Fergus Ewing MSP will chair a fol­low up meet­ing with Scottish Water in September to review pro­gress on these possibilities. 

This press release below was agreed by all the parties involved in the nego­ti­ations and was issued by the Scottish Government last Friday, 8th June. 

Community groups, Scottish Government and Scottish Water to work together.

Community groups, Scottish Water and the Scottish Government have agreed to work togeth­er to find an altern­at­ive site for a wind tur­bine owned by com­munit­ies in the East of Edinburgh.

Following a meet­ing between Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, rep­res­ent­at­ives from PEDAL (Portobello Transition Town), Greener Leith and Scottish Water agreed to find an altern­at­ive site for a com­munity-owned wind tur­bine for the East of Edinburgh.

The two com­munity groups had planned to erect a wind tur­bine at Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works, with money raised from the tur­bine bene­fit­ing both com­munit­ies, but the site is no longer con­sidered suitable.

The land in ques­tion provides the only poten­tial for vital expan­sion of the Waste Water Treatment Works serving Edinburgh should this be neces­sary to meet future cus­tom­er demands. At the meet­ing on May 28, also atten­ded by loc­al MSP Kenny MacAskill, all parties agreed to work togeth­er to find an altern­at­ive site, or anoth­er way for Scottish Water to work with the com­munity groups.

Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is lead­ing the way across the UK in how we sup­port loc­al and com­munity own­er­ship of renew­able energy, and I am determ­ined to ensure com­munit­ies all over Scotland reap the bene­fits of renew­able energy.

“Although it is dis­ap­point­ing that the site ori­gin­ally iden­ti­fied can­not be used for this com­munity wind tur­bine, this was a pos­it­ive and pro­duct­ive meeting.

“The Scottish Government and Scottish Water have agreed to help PEDAL and Greener Leith to find a site for anoth­er scheme elsewhere.

“If a suit­able site can­not be found, Scottish Water have indic­ated there are oth­er ways they would be able to work with the Community Group, and the Scottish Government and Community Energy Scotland will explore the pos­sib­il­ity of a part­ner­ship arrange­ment with a rur­al group to help Greener Leith and PEDAL achieve their renew­ables ambition.

“I have asked to be kept up to date on this issue and will be closely fol­low­ing progress.”

City of Edinburgh Council’s free insulation scheme — Frequently Asked Questions

Householders can down­load answers to Frequently Asked Questions below.


Free insulation for Porty households (and across south east Scotland)!

City of Edinburgh Council (and oth­er loc­al author­it­ies across south east Scotland) have made free cav­ity wall and loft insu­la­tion avail­able to house­holds regard­less of their income. This offer is open to all homeown­ers and ten­ants of private land­lords. The only require­ment is that your home can take cav­ity and/or loft insu­la­tion. It will also cov­er meas­ures to enable the work to hap­pen, such as scaf­fold­ing or enlarge­ment of loft hatches.

To access this fant­ast­ic offer phone 0800 512 012, or text ‘Warm’ to 81025, or e‑mail

Measures will be alloc­ated on a first come, first served basis, so you are encour­aged to apply quickly. Loft insu­la­tion alone can save on aver­age £175 a year on heat­ing costs! Have you got yours yet?

Porty & Leith Community Wind Turbine hits stumbling block in land negotiations

We are very dis­ap­poin­ted that our plans for the first urb­an com­munity wind tur­bine in Scotland have hit a stum­bling block after the landown­er, Scottish Water, changed their stance on the pro­ject at the start of this year.

Negotiations stalled after the private sec­tor com­pan­ies that man­age the PFI con­tract at the treat­ment works deman­ded that Scottish Water accept liab­il­ity for any acci­dents involving the pro­posed tur­bine on the site.

Although the risk of the wind tur­bine dam­aging the sewage works is extremely small, Scottish Water — which is 100% owned by Scottish Ministers —  have said they are not will­ing to accept the risk, even though PEDAL and Greener Leith would fund an insur­ance policy as part of the project.

Talks with Scottish Water and the com­pan­ies that man­age the Seafield site through a Private Finance Initiative began in February 2011. Despite receiv­ing sev­er­al writ­ten assur­ances from seni­or staff rep­res­ent­ing the organ­isa­tions involved that they would back a tur­bine on this site, it was not until 19th January 2012, nearly a year later, that Scottish Water changed their stance on the cru­cial land deal.

Representatives of PEDAL, Greener Leith and Scottish Water last met on 1st February 2012 in an unsuc­cess­ful attempt to resolve the issue. Since then, hav­ing already put in many hun­dreds of hours over many months to get the pro­ject to this stage, we have attemp­ted to lobby Scottish Government min­is­ters in a bid to find a way for­ward. 
 We’ve called on them to dir­ect Scottish Water to indem­ni­fy the PFI con­tract hold­ers from any risk asso­ci­ated with this pro­ject. Alternatively, the Scottish Government should cre­ate an indem­nity bond to cov­er com­munity renew­able pro­jects on land sub­ject to PFI. This could be covered in the future from the pro­ceeds from com­munity pro­jects that have benefited from it.

To date Scottish Water has not changed its stance on the project.

The extent of the influ­ence of private con­tract­ors over Scottish Water is unclear as the pro­ject requires a land deal that would last longer than the cur­rent PFI con­tract at Seafield – and the land, like Scottish Water, is ulti­mately owned by the pub­lic sector. 

Proposals to build a single wind tur­bine on the site are the res­ult of long stand­ing col­lab­or­a­tion between PEDAL and neigh­bour­ing com­munity group Greener Leith. We already have fund­ing from the Scottish Government and British Gas Energyshare in place to take the pro­ject to plan­ning applic­a­tion and grid connection. 

Expert opin­ion sug­gests that the Seafield site is the most pro­duct­ive site in the area. To date, our feas­ib­il­ity work has not uncovered any envir­on­ment­al or engin­eer­ing reas­on why the Seafield pro­ject could not proceed. 

Eva Schonveld, Chair of PEDAL – Portobello Transition Town said:

 “We are par­tic­u­larly frus­trated that Scottish Water has taken a whole year to identi­fy these issues, dur­ing which a huge num­ber of volun­teer hours have been put into the pro­ject. Our feas­ib­il­ity work shows there are no tech­nic­al ‘show-stop­pers’ to build­ing a tur­bine here, we are the most sup­por­ted of nearly 1000 pro­jects across the UK that took part in the Energyshare com­pet­i­tion, and we have all the funds in place to take the pro­ject to plan­ning submission.

“We con­tin­ue to try to resolve the issue of liab­il­ity through nego­ti­ations and polit­ic­al solu­tions. It seems extraordin­ary that dozens of wind tur­bines oper­ate without incid­ent on sewage works around the world, but this can­not be done on pub­lic land in Edinburgh. We simply can­not accept that, which is why we are determ­ined to find a way forward.”

Charlotte Encombe, Chair of Greener Leith said:

“We are bit­terly dis­ap­poin­ted to have got this far only for the pro­ject to be stalled on what looks like a tech­nic­al­ity.
We are explor­ing every avail­able option to resolve this impasse, and will not give up on the pro­ject yet. We owe it to the thou­sands of sup­port­ers who voted for us on, the hun­dreds of loc­al people who will bene­fit and our pro­ject fun­ders to try to find a way to break the deadlock.”

Georgy Davis of Community Energy Scotland, a mem­ber­ship organ­isa­tion that rep­res­ents com­munity renew­able energy pro­jects in Scotland said:

“This is a dis­ap­point­ing turn of affairs for this inspir­a­tion­al pro­ject that is a res­ult of sig­ni­fic­ant com­munity efforts.

“The issue of indem­nity for third parties in rela­tion to land that has exist­ing infra­struc­ture on it is one that could be of increas­ing sig­ni­fic­ance for com­munity-led renew­able pro­jects par­tic­u­larly in the urb­an envir­on­ment poten­tially ham­per­ing the Scottish Government’s abil­ity to achieve it’s tar­get for renew­ables in gen­er­al and com­munity renew­ables in par­tic­u­lar. We believe the issue needs resolved.”

The two groups held a peace­ful demon­stra­tion at the pro­posed site yes­ter­day, 28th April. 

Large scale wind tur­bines can be found at indus­tri­al sites in oth­er coun­tries such as England, Holland and the USA. These include tur­bines at com­mer­cial ports, chem­ic­al plants, water treat­ment and waste water treat­ment works. Those to be found in oper­a­tion in England include 1x 1,300KWp tur­bine at Hull Waste Water Treatment Works and 2x 600KWp tur­bines at Mablethorpe Sewage Treatment Works. Further, con­sen­ted wind pro­jects at waste water treat­ment works are: Bristol (4x 3,000KWp), Newthorpe in Nottinghamshire (1x 3,300KWp) and Severn-Trent in Leicestershire (1x 3,400KWp).

The Scottish Government’s tar­get is to achieve 100% of elec­tri­city demand from renew­ables by 2020 and 500MW of com­munity-owned renew­ables by the same date. See their Electricity Generation Policy at for more inform­a­tion. To-date, com­munity owned renew­able energy pro­jects in Scotland have a com­bined gen­er­at­ing capa­city of 19MW, mainly in the form of on-shore wind and hydro.

More than 90 PFI or PPP pro­jects exist on pub­licly-owned land around Scotland, there­fore PEDAL and Greener Leith believe it is only a mat­ter of time before oth­er com­munity renew­ables pro­jects encounter sim­il­ar problems. 

Support the Community Turbine DEMO TOMORROW (Saturday 28th April) at TEN!

PEDAL and Greener Leith have hit a stum­bling block in nego­ti­ations over the deal to enable the Portobello & Leith Community Wind Turbine to be built on Scottish Water’s land.
We really need loc­al people to come along to show their sup­port for the pro­ject on this tomor­row, Saturday 28th April. Please please meet on the Prom at the slip road behind the Dog & Cat Home at 10AM and we will walk/cycle/scoot to the tur­bine site. Also can any­one make a ban­ner? If so con­tact
Press pho­to­graph­ers will be present.
Please pass this mes­sage on — we only have until tomorrow!

Portobello Market, Saturday 4th February

Saturday 4th February is Portobello Market day! Come along to find all your reg­u­lar stalls selling mouth-water­ing loc­ally-pro­duced and sea­son­al food, and loc­al and upcycled crafts.

Where: Brighton Park, Brighton Place, Portobello, Edinburgh, EH15 1LJ

When: 9.30am  —  1.30pm

A full list of stall­hold­ers for 4th February is avail­able here.