Sunday 24th February 2008 Write-up

Transition City Edinburgh meeting

Sunday 24th February 2008
14:00 – 17:00

There was no review of minutes from the last Transition City Edinburgh meeting.


Group feedback
Application of stage 2
Review of supplementary material relative to groups
Confirmation of group contacts
Identification of key next steps
Feedback from groups on above points

Group Feedback

Energy & Power
The Energy & Power group has met twice since the last TCE meeting. They have been gathering information and have discovered that there is already a significant amount of activity already happening. It was decided that the challenge lies in choosing where the most involvement for the TE group would be most effective. It was decided to base this at least partially upon the EDAP. It was discovered that current energy initiatives appear to be top down in activity and management and that TE should counter and enhance effectiveness by encouraging and facilitating bottom up awareness. It was realised that supply of information to the C&I group was also essential for smooth and easier operation.

It was decided to look at incorporating ideas and strategies from the various documents, such as ‘Powering Edinburgh into the 21st Century’, and through comparison with twin cities such as Munich in Germany. It was decided that the best approach initially is find and concentrate on one specific project, examples given were: a co-operative project; improving energy efficiency by being householder driven as opposed to government, industry and commerce; and the possibility of a demonstration flat/aparment. It was decided that the first two suggestions would be more practical initially.

The C&I group has met twice since the last TCE meeting. It was realised by the members that the size of the tasks at hand were large and that the first activity would be to ensure satisfactory internal communication (i.e. within C&I and between groups within TCE). This was found to be difficult as multiple forms of communication were/are needed and will continue to be needed. It was decided that a way of centralising information for dissemination would be beneficial and a way of collecting and offering the differing data/resources was looked into. It was decided to utilise a WordPress based website as a primary source for ease of digital communication. It was felt that this would allow the C&I group to better support the other groups.

It was found that a solid contact person (preferably two) in each group is needed and this was requested at this meeting. Contacts were requested to supply Scott Langley of the C&I group with their details. This contact was needed to allow active communication between all groups.

It was found that there is a large number of activities occurring across Edinburgh (as also found by the E/P group) and the difficulty for C&I lay in not duplicating information about external activities/events. It was decided that mapping current events and projects is of high priority and C&I is currently working on this through a Wiki style static website and the WordPress dynamic website. The SCOT website and Wiki has been offered and it was decided upon by those present to link this with TCE as a static data source. A Wikimapia project is under research to enable visual mapping of activities across Edinburgh. It was decided by the C&I group that a communication strategy is essential to long term continuation of TCE and this is hoped to be discussed and outlined shortly.

No fully informed representative was present for this group so full details were not forthcoming.
The Events group has met twice since the last TCE meeting. It was found that there is potential for a lot of mileage for the group re: awareness raising. It was decided that a film (possibly “The 11th Hour”) is to be shown within one month. It was suggested to look into booking a stall at the Wooden Fair. This would need to be decided upon very shortly as spaces go quickly and a cost is involved. This was suggested as an awareness raising option. Eva Schonfield stated that she would talk to the group regarding a contact and volunteered to be a temporary contact until further notice.

Food & Allotments
No meetings were conducted by this group since the last TCE meeting.
It was noticed by the F&A group that there seemed to be a conflict of expectations. As a group the F&A were: interested in options for allotments; most of the activity and interest appears to be locally orientated; looking into options for alternative suitable grounds for sustainable exploitation.

There is an upcoming course on Permaculture on the 13th April in Portobello.

The F&A group looked at the Government consultation on Food Policy for Scotland and found that it was heavily focused on the food industry not on communities. It was also found to be vague in its direction and restated obvious facts and suggestions that are more than 20years old. The suggestions are still valid however it was noted that there were no new or innovative suggestions. The F&A group were more interested in what the government is actually going to do as opposed to simply talking. Local sourcing for Edinburgh NHS operations was looked into and it was found that there is a large scope for improvement here. This would be a practical and easy step.

No meetings were conducted by this group since the last TCE meeting.
The breakdown of Edinburgh waste was looked into with the interest in finding ‘What’ is going ‘Where’, ‘What’ is getting reduced, reused and recycled and ‘How’ is this being achieved. This data is being collected and arranged with the intention to allow targeting of key points for activity.

It was noted that it is currently cheaper for a consumer to throw something away as opposed to recycling. Research is ongoing into a campaign option as a possible way forward. Various organisations such as Bits & Bobs were discovered that reuse waste. It was suggested that making links with these organisations could be beneficial. There is ongoing information gathering.

No representative was present for this group.

Political Change/Land Reform
No mention of meetings since last TCE meeting.
It was stated that it is unknown what changes need to happen politically for TCE to be fully effective. This needs to be rectified. It was stated that it is increasingly apparent that there will be a shift from the current economic model to a sustainable model within a short timeframe and that people in general need to be aware of this and plan for it.

Local Groups
A visual presentation was performed over the Bruntsfield/Morningside/Merchiston (BM2) area showing the impact, layout and scope for improvement for this area. It was recommended by the presenter that the tenements present in BM2 are ideal for a retrofitting project and as a possible example of a demo flat. It was noted that this presentation provoked a great deal of interest from those present.

Portobello points
Grant and lottery applications going smoothly with multiple options. Permaculture course proving to be very popular. Good feelings from progress made. A demand or want to be more strategic in activities.

Examples of getting businesses involved by pointing consultants in their direction. Showing businesses how to save money is more productive than inviting them to meetings as most businesses don’t have the time to attend. Approach businesses or manoeuvre consultants into approaching businesses. Win/Win situations.

Bristol City appears to be very sussed in their activities and a have volunteered to inform TCE of their mistakes so TCE can be better informed and more effective.

In general feedback it was raised: that the meetings are not being advertised effectively and this should be rectified; that TCE should utilise ambitious achievable targets; that TCE needs to get more people involved actively not strategically. It was generally agreed that TCE should target areas where there is the most interest as this is more likely to produce more effective results and keep momentum. It was suggested to approach neighbourhood partnership teams about local activities and information.

Groups for discussion

Energy & Power and Waste in BM2
Food & Allotments
Political Change & Land Reform
Temporary Initiating Hub
Heart & Soul

Discussion feedback

Heart & Soul
It was decided to host an awareness day with a film (The 11th Hour) on April 5th. It was suggested to create links with other projects eg. Living Witness. It was suggested that reconnecting with the older generation to recover lost skills and bridge the age divide. It was decided that the options/activities need to be fun in order to help change outlooks.

C&I and Events
Further research into a communication strategy is warranted. It is imperative to find out what each group is doing. It was shown that gathering information and awareness raising such as campaigning are differing areas that warrant their separation. It was suggested that crossover with the Events group is needed to ensure parallel progression between the two groups. It was raised that the active mapping phase needs feedback and the C&I group would launch a skeleton of the website as a minimum point to.

Political Change & Land Reform
It’s all real.

Food & Allotments
No group feedback.

Temporary Initiating Hub
No group feedback.

Energy & Power & Waste in BM2
Interest in zeroing on retrofitting tenements in BM2. It was raised that information needed to be collected in the ‘academic’ and ‘realist’ sense. The possibility of talking to the community council was raised. District heating was an option raised in incorporating the NHS locale and its surroundings. How to communicate detechified information was also raised. A later point raised in conversation was incorporating local non TCE groups to help initiate activities in the area e.g. Christian groups.

Closing Notes

It was pointed out that the groups should review the Lewes guidelines and set clear group outlines and forward these to the C&I group.

Noted group contacts:
Communication & Inclusion – David Atiyah, Lukas Lehmann
Heart & Soul – Brian O’Hare
Waste – Mandy Merkle, Maggie Chapman (temporary)
Political Change & Land Reform – Justin Kenrick
Energy & Power – Liam Young
Events – Eva Schonveld (temporary)
Transport – No contact as yet
Food & Allotments – Johanna Carrie