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Grantown-on-Spey becomes Greentown for the day and hopefully future

By Tom Ramage

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Summer Coleman with mum Lindsay visiting Richard Moncur’s Valiant stall, with Stephen Borthwick and Faye Dallas from SAB renewables.
Summer Coleman with mum Lindsay visiting Richard Moncur’s Valiant stall, with Stephen Borthwick and Faye Dallas from SAB renewables.

Sustainable Strathspey was delighted with the weekend success of the ‘Greentown Show’ which attracted a great deal of interest from both local folk and visitors.

The big event was held as a precursor for the strath as the world gets ready for COP26 – the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which is the 26th such event and is scheduled for Glasgow from October 31.

“We wanted to highlight the green measures that local shops, organisations and individuals are taking, to inspire others to consider doing the same,” said Saturday’s organiser, Peter Grant.

“And we want to send a message to politicians that we expect them to take immediate and meaningful action to address the climate change emergency.”

Mr Grant and his team were clearly pleased by the enthusiasm with which business, government, and voluntary sectors supported them in organising the day.

With Covid levels high in the community, Grantown Square proved a first-class location for a safe outdoor event, with well-spaced open tents and gazebos – and the good weather on the day was a real bonus.

The Square saw a steady flow of interested people around the stalls throughout the day, with children heading off down the High Street on their ‘Green Heart’ hunt, and half hourly tours of the Cairngorm National Park Authority’s new addition to its headquarters to see what state-of-the art modern architecture and building methods can achieve.

More than 30 businesses on the High Street displayed green hearts on their shop fronts, along with a list of the steps that they were taking to ‘green’ their operation.

Peter Grant (left) and Jeremy Money discuss their carbon footprints.
Peter Grant (left) and Jeremy Money discuss their carbon footprints.

In the Square, Sustainable Strathspey displayed a summary of the science behind the necessary response to the climate emergency, and the actions that individuals can take to “do their bit”.

“Members of our group shared their experience of the environmentally-positive things they have done in their homes or gardens, including fitting biomass boilers, ground and air source heat pumps, solar thermal water heating, photovoltaic energy panels, and creating wildlife friendly gardens,” said Mr Grant.

All who stopped were invited to sign a letter to local and national politicians urging them to use their influence to act now to make Glasgow’s Climate Conference a source of global hope.

There was an impressive gathering of expertise on hand from the building industry, with displays of heat pumps, air exchange devices, high performance windows and doors, and modern insulation materials.

Visitors to their stands received advice, ranging from architects at the conceptual level right through to local installers who could deal with the nuts and bolts of fitting the devices required for the transition to clean energy.

Representatives of the Highland Council Waste Awareness team shared alternatives to single use plastics, and answered questions on recycling. Sustainable transport featured with a display from the Grantown Society on its work with Sustrans, and individuals showed their electric vehicles and cycles, answering questions on their use.

There was also advice on hand from GrowBiz for small businesses on how to make their organisations more sustainable.

As Sustainable Strathspey is a small, new organisation, Saturday’s success rested on the community’s goodwill and Mr Grant thanked everyone for their generosity in sharing their resources.

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