Some news, links and thoughts on a range of topics.
Councils to soon make their own electricity.
Seems crazy, but at present, local authorities cannot legally produce and sell electricity. This is all set to change, and within a year or so, we should see some freedom which we hope will encourage councils to fit solar panels on schools, leisure centres etc.
EST Scotland – Home Renewables Grant to close soon !
Not good news. EST Scotland appear to be closing down this grant scheme early. Like all things economic right now, the squeeze is on, and rather than keeping the doors open to encourage more to take up renewables, these doors too seem to be closing. So get in fast if you want to catch a 30% discount. You’ve only days/weeks to go.
Crises of Capitalism
Great video that talks about capitalism, anti-capitalision, global finance mess, etc. The cartoon approach in this video really helps you to listen and take in more of what the speaker is saying. Others in the same series from RSA on YouTube are also worth watching.
Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets.
WLC are handed out a large sum of money to spend on Sustainable travel of which the recommendations are that at least 36% and pref 50% is spent on cycling. So write to your local council and tell them what you need done to make walking, and cycling more practical and safe. We need to invest in local routes and not just these national cycle highways as most journeys by bike are actually local.
Discount at Kingsfield Golf Range for cyclists.
Many thanks to Ronnie at the Kingsfield Golf Range who’s offering a 50% reduction for the Ochils putting green if you cycle there. A prefect partnership of sustainable transport and leisure. So why not cycle along with the kids and enjoy some putting. OFFER only available for July.
Advice Centres and Offices.
Hopefully in the next couple of weeks we’ll be able to re-open our advice centre that was originally at The Cross. Our new advice centre is in Police House, just a short distance away, and we’ll have the usual advice on energy saving, renewables, local food, waste, and sustainable travel info, all with our friendly advisors.
The team are working through a large list of homes keen to take up our free and impartial advice on energy saving. As you can see from the following charts gas and electricity consumption is on a downward trend, but very slowly. Please don’t wait for energy prices to rocket before you realise that you could and should have invested in insulation or a new boiler or renewable energy. Right now the uk Gov is offering an amazing deal/cashback on Solar PV panels, and there’s also Solar Hot Water [Thermal] panels that could give you free hot water on sunny days. Now is the time to invest in your homes, and many may also be eligible for free insulation through the Energy Assistance Package. Phone or email us, or pop in when our advice centre is open to find out more.
What an amazing initial response to our survey of the eastern end of town. The Springfield and surrounding streets have done a fantastic job of telling us how the travel and what would help them to travel more by bus/bike or just walking. We are sourcing some bike racks for Springfield Primary school and hope to have them installed over the summer months.
Momentum is building on our 2nd Harvest Feast and we hope you are all growing some surplus food what we can share on the day. Plans are developing around the idea of preparing the food together the previous day, and celebrating together on the Saturday.
Tickets and posters will be around the town soon, and there’s lots more events planned on our website. www.linlithgrow.org.uk – so if you are looking to borrow some jam pots, or want to forage for wild food, or keep bees or chickens or whatever, check out this fantastic website.
Personally I’m amazed at the power of the sun for home energy. Being able to take a shower that’s been warmed by sunshine and not to need the boiler on, which in my case saves lots of oil, is an amazing thing. So simple and yet so effective. There are quite a few solar thermal panels in and around town and the quantity installed is growing. I’m only wondering why builders didn’t fit them years ago, as the technology is simple, and the benefits are all positive.
A word of caution though. If you do have an old central heating boiler or you fancy taking out that hot water tank to fit a fancy combi boiler, then think twice, plan for the future. You’ll need that hot water cylinder for collecting free hot water from your south facing roofs in future years, so don’t be too hasty to take all that plumbing out. Also, consider the pros and cons of combi vs. regular boilers. Combi’s are very efficient but so are regular boilers. it’s the condensing part that’s the important bit to consider. Condensing boilers make the most of the energy consumed to heat the water. Combi’s just provide instant hot water and save space. They are less suitable for later connection with solar panels.
Being accepted into the Transition Network is quite a thing for Linlithgow Climate Challenge, and it allows us to re-focus not just on Climate Change/Global warming which is perhaps the biggest issue to deal with, but also to look at how to reduce our dependance on oil/gas/coal etc. Peak Oil is a key driver for the Energy Decent plans that many Transition Communities are developing, and we hope to do the same for Linlithgow over time. Equally though the growing realisation that the financial mess is not going to go away, and some even predict that it will get worse, is even more reason to think local. To support local businesses, jobs, farmers, etc. Spending money locally doesn’t vanish out of the town the second you spend it, but it gets re-invested in local services, salaries etc. Linlithgow spend is mostly with the big chain-stores, and that’s a big mistake that we need to consider along with their convenience and flashy prices. Are we paying more indirectly ?
Talks are ongoing with the future of Linlithgow. Some are keen and interested in setting up a Development Trust or Community company from which we can invest in our own town’s future. What’s your thoughts on this ? Would you invest in a local community share scheme ? Could you see the benefit of taking over and running community assets ? What would you do if you could own the bus depot – for example ?
In these financially constrained times when handouts are thin and local authorities are being squeezed, the greatest gain is from taking local control. Reliance on externalities will only see Linlithgow suffer as cuts take place in all sectors. So if you are interested in looking forward, and taking local action, then get in touch.