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November 19, 2014

Landmark low carbon award

It started its life as a bargaining chip played by the Green Party during the last Scottish Parliament when the minority SNP government was negotiating support for its budget proposals. It didn’t seem particularly significant at the time but the Climate Challenge Fund has proved not only durable but remarkably effective in driving forward a whole range of low carbon behaviours at community level. This month the Fund made its 500th award to a group in the Falkirk area. 



A fund set up by the Scottish Government to assist communities go green has reached a milestone with more than 500 local areas now being helped.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Paul Wheelhouse confirmed the Communities Along The Carron Association (CATCA) is the latest group to receive money from the Climate Challenge Fund (CCF)

It is one of 21 projects receiving support in the scheme’s latest round of funding, which will see almost £2 million handed out.

Since the fund was set up in 2008, a total of £61.4 million has now been awarded to 696 projects in 512 communities across Scotland.

Mr Wheelhouse, who announced the latest funding awards while on a visit to the Kelpies statues outside Grangemouth, said: “C limate change is one of the greatest challenges facing mankind and the environment on which we depend. It is a challenge for the entire global community, and it requires urgent attention at local, national and international level.

“Given the importance of action at the local level, I am delighted that more than 500 communities across Scotland have now elected to take voluntary action to address the impacts and causes of climate change within their local areas. This demonstrates an impressive strength and commitment to tackle climate change at a community level, because it is real and because it matters to ordinary people.”

While he said the CCF had been set up to encourage communities to cut harmful emissions, Mr Wheelhouse added: “T he benefits are much wider, including improving health and well-being by encouraging active travel and boosting community facilities. The CCF also helps reduce domestic fuel costs.”

CATCA is to receive just over £146,000 from the fund, with the cash going towards a project that will see it work with schools and businesses in Larbert and Stenhousemuir in a bid to increase bike travel. The money will also fund a sustainable food initiative to establish community growing spaces in local schools.

The minister hailed it as a ” fantastic project”, and added it is “a very worthy 500th recipient of Climate Challenge funding”.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “I look forward to seeing the project succeed and to seeing the undoubtedly positive impact it will have for children and adults alike in the Larbert and Stenhousemuir community. The area is on the doorstep of the Kelpies landmark where it is perhaps only fitting we meet to celebrate Scotland’s landmark achievement.”

CATCA project officer Christine Bell said: “Being the 500th community to be awarded a Climate Challenge Fund grant is an honour and we look forward to working with the local community to help people travel more sustainably and grow food locally.

“Our partnership with Sustrans Scotland will include activities to help local schools and businesses swap car journeys for those by cycle and foot, reducing carbon emissions, improving air quality and creating safer streets.

“We are also excited to be creating community growing spaces in school grounds which will enable us to nurture the next generation of guardians for our environment, as well as reducing carbon emissions.”