School pupils showed off their cycle skills to Scotland's Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson today as he launched an ambitious project to cut Highland car use.
Transition Black Isles’ Million Miles project, which received £194,741 of funding from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund (CCF), aims to cut car travel by a million miles each year by promoting sustainable alternatives.
After cycling across the Kessock Bridge, Mr Stevenson met a group of North Kessock pupils who have all completed their Bikeability training and were taking part in today’s launch.
Mr Stevenson also announced the latest round of CCF funding today which will see 17 projects throughout Scotland receive a total of £1.5 million.
Among the latest recipients are:
* Parent Action for Safe Play, North Lanarkshire, who receive £119,246 to launch the community-wide Growing Greener Project to help Coatbridge young people and families reduce their carbon footprint through education, awareness raising and behavioural change. The project will include gardening, cooking, composting, recycling and energy efficient events.
* Broughty Ferry New Kirk, Dundee, the St Aidan's project has been awarded £108,813. The new energy efficient St Aidan's Church will provide a support and advice service for residents on how to combat fuel poverty and reduce carbon footprint. It will also act as a base to serve all the needs of the local community by offering a safe and suitable community building adapted for a wide range of uses.
* REAP (Rural Environmental Action Project), Moray, will receive £244,399 to work in the Keith and Strathisla areas to promote the growing and eating of local fruit and vegetables and reduce food waste through the Food Network Keith project. The project will lower carbon emissions from food in Keith and enhance local public spaces through a variety of fun and practical activities. These will include electric bike deliveries, composting, cookery and gardening courses, planting a community orchard and working with community groups.
* Gorbals Healthy Living Network, Glasgow, will receive £65,006 for their 'Greening the Gorbals' project to kick start a number of small scale carbon footprint reduction projects to engage residents in growing food and recycling. The participation, learning and experience of these projects will influence both the process of physical regeneration of the area and be beneficial to residents. The project will reduce CO2e emissions while also ensuring that carbon footprint reduction measures are hardwired in to the future of the Gorbals.
Mr Stevenson said: “Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world today and, here in Scotland, we want to be part of the solution.
“That’s why we set up the Climate Challenge Fund to support communities as they tackle climate change by reducing emissions through a range of innovative schemes.
“Today in North Kessock I’ve seen an example of a community pulling together to reduce their emissions. The residents of the Black Isle have set themselves an ambitious target to cut car travel by local residents by a million miles a year. It was great to meet some of the youngsters who will reap the rewards of this in years to come and see that they’re already developing the skills, confidence and experience they need to play their part.
“I look forward to seeing the results of the 17 schemes who are receiving awards today. No single individual, group or even nation can solve the problem of climate change. But, by working together and with everyone playing their part, we can make a real and lasting difference.”
Transition Black Isle director Martin Sherring said: "We're keen to stress that more sustainable forms of travel can be more fun than driving, as well as the more obvious cost, health and climate change benefits.
“And that fits in perfectly with the Transition Black Isle agenda, which is essentially that we can’t carry on using fossil fuels as we do at present, so rather than pretending they’ll last for ever and that climate change is going to be just a minor inconvenience, we need to realise that a low carbon future could actually be a better future, and work towards it rather than fight it."
Since its launch in 2008, the Scottish Government has made over £49.4 million available to community groups throughout Scotland. The latest round means that since 2012, 81 communities have benefited to the tune of over £11.6 million.
Transition Black Isle is working locally to enable communities to adjust to the challenges people will face as energy becomes scarce and the impacts of climate change begin to bite. Through the Black Isle Travel Pilot project it aims to cut car travel by local residents by 1 million miles per year by promoting more sustainable alternatives including cycling, walking, lift-share and public transport.