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January 28, 2009

Communities pool their efforts to reduce carbon emission

27 communities from across Scotland have joined forces in a unique project which will see a wide range of measures aimed at reducing carbon emissions being implemented through locally developed action plans. Supported by Community Energy Scotland and DTAS, and funded by the Climate Challenge Fund, a major focus of this project will be networking between these communities and sharing their ideas and experiences with others

27 community groups across Scotland from Shetland to the Borders have just received a massive boost with the announcement of over £1,494,000 from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund, the largest award to date.

This will result in the creation of 25 new jobs at community level dedicated to a wide range of‘ ‘low carbon’ community developments including local food allotments and markets; community energy audits using thermal imaging cameras; use of electric vehicles; developing local renewable energy generation; and restoration of old hydro schemes. (Our photo shows members of the Galson community groups preparing the foundations for the met mast to gather wind data for their project)

“Community Powerdown”, is a consortium of 27 community groups, Community Energy Scotland and the Development Trust Association Scotland(DTAS) set up to help communities tackle climate change by reducing their carbon dioxide emissions. This is the largest Climate Challenge Fund award since its inception in 2008, and highlights the significance of the Powerdown programme.
The Powerdown consortium will show that it is possible for communities to develop whilst at the same time reducing their reliance on fossil fuels. CCF funding will allow project officers to be appointed in each community, giving a massive boost to each community’s plans.
Responding to news of the award Nicholas Gubbins, Community Energy Scotland Chief executive, said “There are now 27 very happy community groups across Scotland, eager to begin developing their Powerdown plans. Community Energy Scotland is delighted that the Government’s Climate Challenge Fund is supporting the consortium as it will bring real and lasting benefits to many communities. Community Energy Scotland’s role in co-ordinating the programme, along with DTAS will reduce the admin burden on community groups and enable a real critical mass of networking and information exchange. This information will also be made available to communities outwith the consortium so that the whole community sector will benefit from the expertise and experience built up through the Powerdown programme. This award will equip communities to deal with the challenges of the Peak Oil and Climate Change era”.

Eric Larnach from Latheron Lybster and Clyth Community Development Company commented “Funding from the fund and partnership working with Community Energy Scotland and DTAS will be the ideal vehicle to allow us to develop our local projects to reduce carbon emissions and become more energy efficient. CCF funding for a community energy officer post to support the local groups and our community in general will ensure the best possible outcomes for the projects. Our projects include an Information and Education Centre – working with both primary schools and secondary schools in Caithness, a locally grown food initiative,a poly tunnel project for education on locally grown food linked to a healthy eating initiative and a community-owned wind project to deliver renewable energy.”

The following 27 community groups are part of the Community Powerdown consortium:
Alness Transition Town
Ardoch Development Trust
Catrine Community Trust
Eday Partnership
Energy Action Westray
Fair Isle Electricity Company
Galson Community Trust
Glenelg and Arnisdale Development Trust
Here We Are, Cairndow
Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust
Isle of Jura Development Trust
Kirknewton Community Company
Knoydart Foundation
Lauderdale Development Trust
Latheron Lybster and Clyth Community Development Company
Lochbroom Community Council
Mull and Iona Community Trust
Neilston Development Trust
Northmavine Community Development Company
The Langholm Initiative
Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust
Shapinsay Development Trust
South Kintyre Development Trust
Stronsay Development Trust
Tiree Development Trust
Unst Partnership
Walkerburn Community Development Trust