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Transition Scotland Support Case Study Series: Number 03 March 2011

Transition Linlithgow LINLITHGOW FOCUS KIND OF PLACE: Small town and Royal Burgh WHERE IS IT? West Lothian, Scotland POPULATION: 13,370 INVOLVEMENT WITH TRANSITION: Official Initiative (registered with Transition Network) FUNDING:Climate Challenge Funded until March 2011 WHERE DO I FIND OUT MORE? http://www. HOW did Transition Linlithgow come about?

food. A successful allotments group came together which is developing land for a community growing plot. When Climate Challenge Fund money first became available, TL applied and were successful, enabling them to set up an active transport group (LinlithGO!), a local food group (LinlithGROW) and an energy project looking at energy efficiency. They also opened an energy drop in centre, and hiring a coordinator. They also began work on bulk buying Solar Thermal systems.

Early in 2008, a group of interested people in Linlithgow held a series of public meetings. Various different speakers were involved, from SEAD, Scottish Green Party, Stirling Riverside and PEDAL. There were around 40 people at each meeting, and the range of speakers and films gave people How easy was it to begin? an idea of all of the ways in which they could take action Transition Linlithgow started on the issues facing them. out as Linlithgow Climate Challenge. They were lucky It became clear at these in that there were a few very meetings, that people were interested people who believed interested in taking action, strongly in what they wanted and that there was a passion to do. Climate Challenge for gardening and growing

Funding allowed the group to become focused on specific projects. However, if there is a piece of advice here, it is to go where the energy is and with what people want to do. Although many people in the town support the Transition model, some of them are just getting on with what seems important to them. Linlithgow Climate Challenge (LCC) gave them a place to come together. People have different interests and aspects that are forefront for them. LCC worked as it allowed people to feel part of a group working towards an end, without a prescription about how this should be done. After a recent visioning day, Linlithgow Climate Challenge became Transition Linlithgow. Transition Linlithgow is a registered charity.

TRAVEL PROJECTS -LinlithGO! LinlithGO! Transition Linlithgow ran a very successful project to get people travelling actively. Linlithgow is a commuter town with people often working in either Glasgow or Edinburgh, and so many of the residents are used to using cars. The project surveyed two areas of the town, Springfield and Linlithgow Bridge. These were advertised online through the website as well as door to door. The responses gave the project an idea of what people thought of public transport and walking and cycling.

information night has been held to give people the result of the survey. The idea of this project is to focus on walking, cycling and taking the bus and to bias the modes of travelling on the maps to these forms of transport, rather than on road and car use. Information on the maps included; bus times, numbers and frequencies, safe walking routes (also taking in the lovely countryside) and common cycle journeys. Bike Fun days have also been held, with bike skills courses, and demonstrations of maintenence skills. How did people respond to this?

Two maps were then produced of each area, showing people On the production of the good walking and cycling maps, many local people were routes, bus and train times. surprised that there were paths near their homes that These have been given they had never discovered to householders in the before. Springfield area, and an

FOCUS ON: Bike Trailers THE project has two bike trailers to hire at very reasonable rates. This is to help people who feel that they have too much to carry to consider using a bike. The rates are £2 for 2 days, or £5 a week with a £30 refundable deposit.

FOCUS ON: Waste Projects THE waste group is working on several aspects. They are promoting Waste Aware Scotland’s ‘Stop the Drop’ campaign on junk mail, as well as promting Freecycle Linlithgow, and planning to run swishing parties to get people swapping clothes.

FOCUS ON: Orchards CURRENTLY the group look after an orchard but they don’t have a lease on the land. However, they have made use of this by providing tree care skills training, and holding an apple day for 10:10:10. Sites for a community orchard are being considered.

FOCUS ON: Lights Out TRANSITION Linlithgow have been working with Historic Scotland and West Lothian Council for the last two years to make the lights on the Palace go out for WWF’s Earth Hour, and hope to continue doing so. Things like this are symbolic but important as they are publically visible.

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SOLAR THERMAL BULK DEAL TRANSITION Linlithgow has managed to get a deal for householders on Solar Thermal panels with an approximately 30% discount. When the energy officers do audits, they also check if the house is suitable for a solar thermal system and discuss this with the householders. Bulk deals often mean that people can get better a much better price than they would be able to as an individual. Collective action also creates a sense of community. Several other community groups are working with TL to leverage the offer and get it up and running as quickly as possible.

HARVEST FEAST IN 2010 LinlithGROW held their second Harvest Feast. This was a family celebration day, with games, treasure hunts, and local food served as a community meal in the late afternoon sunshine.

ENERGY PROJECTS THE energy project has had two Energy Auditors, and a Renewables Officer, whose work was funded by CCF. The Energy Auditors have approached householders to offer them energy audits. These include information about things like cavity wall insulation and efficient boilers, but the energy workers also provide more common sense advice for people – like making sure curtains are lined, and the right length for the window, and that the householders know how to use the central heating properly. Auditors use TL’s thermal imaging camera to help identify heat loss and draft issues with properties. The camera is also offered to other communities for a nominal fee. The auditors have also been giving information on the other projects that TL are running, so that people have a range of ways to get involved. The project has put smart meters in the library for hire.

One of the most important aspects of the audits is getting people to pledge what they will do differently or change. People tend to be more likely to make a change if they have signed up to it. What’s been most important? Two things have been really important here – having a local network, and being a recognisable face so that people feel comfortable. It’s also been important not to tell people what to do, but to give clear advice that people can use. The project has been successful, but has not met the number of households they would have liked. TL has produced a flier to improve the profile of the energy audit project, and is approaching community groups and letting people know that the Eco Advice Centre is there for people to drop in. Word of mouth is also a good way of making referrals and the hope is that this will pick up as TL becomes better known.

There were also other events in Linlithgow on the same day, but 240 people came to support the Feast and gave it a real buzz. This was followed by a community ceilidh, and gave the people who have contributed their time and effort to Transition Linlithgow a chance to celebrate and relax, as well as enjoy their surroundings.

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WHAT are the challenges?


‘Time! Growing is such a big area. It’s been good having funding as the level of involvement required was too high for one or two volunteers. You’re always learning. We haven’t had much uptake on the hiring of our jam pans – we think it’s because the people who are coming to us for information already have that equipment at home.

Linlithgow feels a little like a food island, surrounded by farmland which doesn’t produce anything for the town to eat. Most of the produce for the town has to be brought in from outside with the exception of a little bit of fishing on the loch and some local venison. LinlithGROW is a project which looks at addressing some of these issues and tries to capitalise on the energy for growing in the town.

If you’re doing events, your time can get skewed towards evenings and weekends, which is fine, but you have to balance your home and family life too.’

There is a group of 20 people who are renovating and maintaining a privately owned orchard, and roughly Mel McEwan, LinlithGROW 10 people go regularly Project Officer

throughout the year to work there. There is also equipment to hire out, from an apple press to jam pans. The group are going to have shared use days for the apple press to save people the hassle of having to clean a large unwieldy piece of equipment. The group has lots of events, from herbal walks and tours of local veg gardens, to the showcase ‘Linlithgow Harvest Feast’ which is now in its second year. There has been a real attempt to get local busineses on board by running events with them throughout Local Food Fortnight in September. Fifteen events were held over the two weeks, culminating with the Harvest Feast a few days after the end of the fortnight. Linlithgrow also carried out bulk buying of bare root fruit trees to save on large postage costs. Getting people to grow in their back gardens was easier than trying to set up a community orchard from scratch. Training was provided to those who bought trees, which boosted confidence. TOP TIP Don’t assume that everyone is physically able to grow their own, or has spare land. Look at the diverse set of options to build resiliance. Allotments, Community Supported Agriculture schemes, and veg box delivery companies are just some of the possibilities. There is a wide range of options to fit your locality.

Find a range of useful resources at

Case Study Transition Linlithgow  

Case Study No.3 - Transition Linlithgow

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