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:

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 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 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 …