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July 2, 2008

Comrie aim to reduce carbon footprint by 60% – in one year!

A year ago the community of Comrie in Perthshire purchased a former army camp on the edge of the village. The community is keen to develop the site in a way that is consistent with its broader commitment to tackle some of the issues of climate change. Under the banner of the Comrie Carbon Challenge, the local development trust have entered a national competition which carries prize money of £1 million for the community that can reduce its carbon footprint by 60% in one year


Comrie is a village of 3000 people in the heart of rural Perthshire. We are a highly motivated community with at least 56 local organisations active in the village.Comrie is the name given by the Scots invaders of the 7th century and is derived from the Gaelic Conruith meaning ‘flowing together’ as our village sits where the three rivers of the Earn, Ruchill and Leadnock meet. Inthe 21st century it is a place where ancient rivers are meeting new ideas through our new Development Trust. Established less than two years ago, we have already:

One of the best represented Development Trusts in the UK

-Purchased 90 acres of land for community benefit
– Attracted over £650k of investment
– Built strong partnerships with charities, banks, government and local groups
– Have an unrivalled network of volunteers advancing projects from youth drama to renewable energy
– Been short listed for the Big Green Challenge £1
million prize fund to reduce our carbon footprint.

We are a community determined to take care of our village and rise to the economic, social and environmental challenges of the 21st century.

NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) are offering a £1 million prize fund to communities who can reduce their carbon footprint by 60% in one year. Acknowledging the extraordinary community involvement, Comrie is 1 of 10 communities in Scotland short listed for the second stage. Our idea is to motivate and galvanise our whole community for our Big Green Challenge. This will involve two complementary approaches.

Firstly, we will continue our work on the sustainable development of Cultybraggan Army Camp. The zero carbon development of the camp will include:

– Ecological building construction methods
– Training local tradesmen and architects in eco
– Renewable energy sources for the site and village
– Local food production including allotments
– Training local school children in food production
– Homes and workspaces for local people and
– Biodiversity areas and woodland planting.
– Footpath and cycle ways to the site
– Holding learning events in the village on all aspects
of sustainable development.

Secondly, we will role out the learning, enthusiasm and
ideas across village life to include (for example):

– Work with the schools, local businesses and local
– Action on personal responsibility (travel, energy
use, shopping habits)
– Energy audits and renewable energy sources in
homes and community buildings
– Renewable energy schemes and promoting technological
solutions for rural communities.

Our work to rise to the economic, social and environmental challenges of the 21st century will continue irrespective of our progress in the Big Green Challenge. We will be seeking investment from the new Scottish Government Climate Change Fund to support our work.