It doesn’t seem like three weeks since the last post, but time flies when you’re having fun. Mind you, it didn’t seem particularly funny when we heard in quick succession that two funding bids in which a great deal of work had been invested had been knocked back.
Firstly, we heard – after a six month gestation period – that we had not made the grade for a EU Horizon 2020 bid for €1.6m made back in May by our academic partners, Aberdeen University. Secondly, our recent bid for Local Energy Challenge Fund for the proposed Linlithgow Energy Corridor was turned down. But in both cases LNG was applauded for the high level of community involvement through Transition Linlithgow, and it was clear that with a couple of projects under our belt, we’ll be investment ready, whether through public funding or otherwise.
So two steps back.
Then we met West Lothian Council on the occasion of the meeting on 4th November of WLC’s Environment Policy & Scrutiny Committee. This committee is chaired by our local councillor Tom Conn, who takes a great interest not only in environmental policy but also in social issues like fuel poverty, which is a substantial and increasing problem throughout West Lothian, and even in relatively well off areas of West Lothian like Linlithgow there are pockets of fuel poverty.
LNG was first on the Committee’s Agenda and I cantered through our presentation and leaned forward eagerly to answer questions. There weren’t any (which I was subsequently told was actually a good sign). What questions there were came after the submission by the responsible WLC official Craig McCorriston which immediately followed. This concluded with Craig’s recommendation that the Council should provide a non-binding letter of support for Linlithgow Natural Grid in principle, with participation by his team in LNG’s preliminary proof of concept proposals.
After one or two clarifications, there was a nod of the head from the Councillors and on to the next business……..
It cannot be overstated how important this WLC meeting was for the Linlithgow Natural Grid initiative. The whole purpose of the Natural Grid as a concept – and the reason for Smart Accelerator funding from EU sources administered by the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation – is to create a simple new framework for bringing together Community, Council and Commerce together to a common purpose. LNG aims to provide a simple ‘light touch’ legal and financial framework with a view to attaining energy independence for Linlithgow – and therefore the energy security which leads to a more resilient Linlithgow community.
So two steps back – and one giant step forward – sums up recent lowlights and highlights for Linlithgow Natural Grid