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A joint £347,770 university-community project set to turn St Andrews green

Students, staff, community members and representatives from St Andrews Environmental Network gather in the community garden to celebrate the new project.

A bid to turn St Andrews into one of the greenest communities in the UK has won a £347,770 grant from the Scottish Government.

A bid to the Government’s Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) by the University of St Andrews’ environmental awareness project, Transition, in conjunction with the community’s St Andrews Environmental Network (StAndEn) has been successful.

The two bodies now plan to work together to reduce carbon emissions and foster greener behaviour across St Andrews town, and in the university, as part of a three-year project.

It is hoped a series of joint projects will alleviate fuel poverty; build community resilience and capacity; minimise energy, food and water waste; reduce personal carbon footprints; raise awareness and understanding around sustainability issues; and work towards a positive, shared vision of a low carbon future within the greater St Andrews area.

Key projects will:

  • Engage individual households including student flats and the surround villages, to promote sustainability awareness and offer advice on how not to waste food and water.
  • Establish a Local Exchange Trading Scheme to reduce waste to landfill.
  • Create community gardens across the area so residents can grow their own food, in order to promote awareness of sustainable food choices, and promote a healthy relationship with the outdoors.
  • Work with the nine local primary schools, seven of which have already signed up, to encourage youngsters from an early age to save energy, food and water and think about sustainability.
  • Through offering Carbon Conversations to the whole community, expand support to reduce carbon and stimulate action.
  • Create a new St Andrews specific Carbon Calculator online to promote awareness and action on individual carbon footprints.
  • Organise events such as a Renewable Energy and Sustainability Fayre and a Food Festival to spread the message and create opportunities for town and gown to come together on this key issue.

David Stutchfield, Energy Officer at the University of St Andrews said: “This project builds on the existing close relationship between the University and the St Andrews community council project St Andrews Environmental Network (StAndEn).

“Together we will enable more carbon saving measures in the community, with University students and staff using their skills outwards to the community, and StAndEN supporting student carbon reductions.”

Dr Rehema White, Sustainable Development Masters Programme Director in the Department of Geography and Sustainable Development at the University added: “The University has ongoing research and teaching programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in sustainable development, and has been focusing on reducing carbon emissions through different aspects of our operations.

“Transition allows us to also engage students and staff around the university and reflect on our actions in relation to sustainability as well. It is also exciting to be able to integrate with the wider community.”

Jane Kell, Project Manager of St Andrews Environmental Network (StAndEn) said “Over the last two years St Andrews Environmental Network and Transition University of St Andrews have had a very good working relationship.

“Now we are embarking on a very exciting new project “St Andrews Communities Working Together” as equal partners delivering our services to benefit the whole community of St Andrews.”

The proposal to the CCF was developed through a consultative process within the University and discussion with St Andrews Community Council then prepared by a team of University staff, students and local residents.

Both Transition and StAndEn are established groups which have benefitted from CCF funding previously, but which are also deeply embedded with their communities, and have continued during non-funding periods thanks to the work of enthusiastic volunteers.

This is the first jointly funded project the CCF has committed to so far, and it is hoped “St Andrews Communities Working Together” will make a significant and long-lasting impact in reducing carbon emissions. And that it will act as a template in for future community projects elsewhere in Scotland.

As the University of St Andrews celebrates its 600th anniversary it is looking towards a sustainable and environmentally friendly future. One of the key themes of the 600th anniversary campaign is ‘Life on Earth’, as the University celebrates its potential to contribute to answering the pressing global concerns that threaten the world we inhabit.

The University’s leading researchers are already leading the search to find ecologically sound and socially just solutions for all of humanity. Now the 600th Anniversary is helping to bring those values to life locally – with a project to plant 600 trees to represent 600 years of learning already underway, a beach clean-up later this month, and hopes to develop a St Andrews Sustainability Institute to make the town a centre for global collaborations.

Note to Editors

Images available – please contact press office below.

David Stutchfield, of the University of St Andrews, is available on 01334 463976.

Jane Kell, of StAndEn, is available on 01334 659315 / 07592395258.

Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
Contact Fiona MacLeod on 01334 462108 / 0771 414 0559.
Ref: (green 13/04/12)
View the University’s latest news at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/news/

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