Forth Energy Biomass Plans Update

The latest news we have is that Forth Energy plan to submit their planning application to build a large Biomass power plant on Leith Docks in November, with rumours that there will be a further public exhibition of the detailed plans in the next couple of weeks. The Application then goes through a ‘gateway’ checking process, before the statutory 28 day period for public consultation begins.

Malcolm Chisholm raised concerns that this could mean that the public consultation period could run over the festive period when everyone is on holiday. In this article in the Evening News, Calum Wilson, Director of Forth Energy, said in response:

“It is too early to say when the application will go in, but we have no intention of eroding the 28-day period. It depends how fast the gateway process is. If it only takes two weeks, we could submit the application at the end of November, which would mean the 28 days was up by Christmas. Or we could wait out until January if it gets the go ahead in mid-December. We will work with the Scottish Government to make sure there is a full, clear consultation period.”

There is therefore a possibility that things could suddenly move fairly quickly in the next couple of months. As we’re keen that local residents have as much of an opportunity as possible to make an informed response to the objection we recommend that you check out some of these key sources of information:

The Developer is Forth Energy. Click here to read the documentation relating to their Leith proposals.

The Scottish Government Energy Consent Unit is the body that will decide whether the plant will go ahead. At present they have published a ‘Scoping Opinion” that sets out the issues that Forth Energy must address in their detailed planning submission. Click here to read the Scoping Opinion.

Leith residents, community groups, and politicians recently led a call for a national moratorium on large biomass plants. An open letter was published in the Scotsman, on the Guardian website, as well as a number of other blogs. Read the letter and find out more on the Greener Leith website here.

Members of Leith Links Residents Association have also set-up the Leith Against the Biomass Plant Campaign Facebook Group.

As soon as we have more information on this major development, we’ll post another update.

Leith Links Bulb Planting

Leith Links Community Council would like to work with local schools again this autumn to plant spring bulbs in Leith Links – last year’s very successful planting of 10,000 bluebell, crocus and snowdrop bulbs have made a lasting difference to the park and we would like to build on this.

We hope to organise a series of sessions during school time, probably in the week beginning Monday 8 November. We will provide the bulbs and the tools and overall supervision, in conjunction with the City of Edinburgh Council Park Rangers – we will show you where to plant and how to plant the bulbs. We’d expect each group to spend perhaps 30 minutes doing the planting, but you might want to combine this with other activities in the Links and if we are able to help with this we’d be happy to do so. Ideally we’ll be working with small groups (e.g. the Eco committee) or an individual class rather that the whole school.

Please contact Angus Miller 0131 555 5488 for more info.

The Drummond-Muthambi Partnership

Drummond Goes On Safari

‘Safari’ is the Kizwahli word for journey so if you go on safari to see your Granny in Kenya it doesn’t mean that she lives with the lions and zebra! This was only one of the words that 8 S6 students and 3 staff from Drummond Community High School had to relearn on their visit to their partner schools Muthambi Boys and Girls this summer.

The trip far exceeded our expectations both educationally and socially and it would not be exaggerating to say that it has changed the lives of students and staff in all three schools.

After a long flight we arrived tired but happy in Nairobi. The minute you step of the plane everything is different, the heat, the smell, the buildings, the people and you know you’re in Africa. We embarked on a very full programme for our ten day visit which was a combination of working and meeting with the Kenyan students and learning a bit about the life of ordinary Kenyans and the experience was far more fun than the usual ‘Safari’ holiday.

We took part in lots of projects, but here are just a few highlights.

In Muthambi Boys school we converted a motley collection of damp and ancient old books on rickety shelves into the foundations of a school library With 8 boys working as volunteer Librarians we cleared shelves and set up some of the new and exciting books that we had managed to take out with us (packing only 2 pairs of knickers and 3 socks = more space for resources!). The Library will now open for the boys in the evenings and we hope to send out more books in the future.

In the Girls school we taught lessons on Scottish poetry and did cookery demonstrations introducing the girls to shortbread, it was difficult to record their comments as their mouths were so full! We also took part in sports and games, music, tribal dancing and question and answer session on every topic under the sun, plus we made a short film on the life of a Muthambi schoolgirl.

When we weren’t in school we were out experiencing Kenyan life guided by Muthambi staff and students. We visited a crocodile farm and handled ‘teenage’ crocs (yes they do have big teeth!), picked tea and processed it at a Fairtrade tea factory, were entertained by a smallholder farmer and his family, visited a government sericulture research farm along with local primary and secondary schools. The highlight was our ‘safari’ to a game conservancy project where we saw 4 out of the ‘big 5’ must see animals.

What next?

Our S6 have left for work, college and university but inspired by their experiences they would like Drummond students to have the wonderful opportunity of a return visit by our Kenyan friends. Apart from strengthening our curricular links we are hoping to raise £15,000 to bring 8 students and 2 staff over to Drummond in June 2011. Our ex-S6 will be working alongside our new group of students and will be running fundraising activities throughout the year. We are looking for help with ideas for raising money, grant opportunities and hospitality for the return visit.

If you have any ideas or would like to help out please contact Annie Scanlon on Tel: 556 2651, at admin@drummond.edin.sch.uk or pop into the school sometime for a chat.

 We would like to thank the Spurtle and its readers for their support, parents and adult students at DCHS plus the John Watson Trust and Leith Links Community Council for their generous grants.

 Annie Scanlon

Librarian/Kenya Partnership

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The Drummond-Muthambi Partnership

Director of Education welcomes the Drummond students

The students from Drummond Community High School returned from Kenya at the end of June. Details of their trip will be published soon on the website and a presentation to the community council is planned for later in the year.

Muthambi girls get enthusiastic about Scottish poetry lessons

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