Archive for May, 2010

BTCV Carbon Army Launch

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

From June 1 to 13th the BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers) is sponsoring a series of events across the UK to launch its Carbon Army initiative.  The aim of this initiative is to help and encourage people to grow their own food and thereby reduce their carbon footprint.  Events in Scotland are at Auchincruive in Ayrshire and at Howden Walled Garden in West Lothian. Click here to find out more about these events and how to become involved.
BTCV are also offering a free guide to growing your own food, including recipes from celebrated chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall click here to order a copy.  But hurry – they say the guide is ‘subject to availability’ and I am sure there will be a large demand.

Eco Loo Study

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Those allotment sites who do not have mains drainage, running water and in particular flush loos might  be considering installing composting loos.  On the face of it, this looks like an ideal ecological solution, and now there are a number of commercial suppliers, and indeed web sites showing how you can build your own.  Some of these sites make you wonder why we don’t all use them.
Anyone thinking about this should look at a study completed by Forth Valley and Lomond LEADER Local Action Group.  They have made detailed case studies of the provision of loos in remote rural locations in Scotland e.g. Inch Cailloch  on Loch Lomond and produced a large detailed report on the benefits and disadvantages of various systems.  In particular on Page 18 of their report they have a series of bullet points detailing the problems and difficulties associated with the use of composting toilets in a cold climate such as that of Scotland.

They are looking at systems designed to cope with fairly large numbers – in the case of Inch Cailloch 15,000 uses per annum.  Things might work more simply and cheaply for a small group and also the problems of misuse are less likely to occur with knowledgeable and caring allotmenteers – but nevertheless it is worth at least thinking about the consequences of needing to care for a composting toilet before investing lots of time and/or money.

Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN)

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

The Scottish Government is sponsoring an ambitious project to ‘change the face of Central Scotland by restoring and transforming the landscape of an area stretching from Ayreshire and Inverclyde in the west to Fife and the Lothians in the east’.  The plan of the CSGN is to coordinate the efforts of a number of bodies, including local authorities, the forestry commission, community organisations, land owners… in order to create and support a network of quality green space for recreation including cycling and walking networks, public woodland areas and parks and also growing spaces for local food production such as allotments and community gardens and private gardens.  The overarching aim is to increase public well being while reducing carbon footprint.
The prospectus was launched at  the Ravenscraig site of Motherwell College on April 26.  The plans are now going through an intensive consultation process which is due to end on July 2.  There is an online consultation form that can be down loaded completed and returned by anyone interested and there are workshops which are free to attend, but must be booked.  Anyone who cares about improving the green spaces and biodiversity of our urban and rural areas should at least look at the web site to see what is proposed, and consider sending in a written response or even attending one of the workshops.