Transition on Tour

As a long-standing and active supporter of the Dundee Transition Town group, I am really pleased that “Transition on Tour” comes to Dundee tomorrow.

You can download a copy of the flyer about tomorrow’s activities by going to

Friday activities …

Yesterday, at lunchtime, I took part in the latest Dundee Transition Town group meeting at Dundee West Church hall.   Amongst matters discussed was the group’s proposed new website, participation in the West End Christmas Week community fayre, climate challenge funding and the Dundee Urban Orchard project.

Urban Orchard is a Dundee-based art and community project that supports the planting, maintenance, and harvesting of fruit and nut trees in the city.   Working with a variety of community groups including local schools, community centres, and in conversation with Dundee City Council, the project seeks to support biodiversity, encourage community participation, promoting healthy living, and a deeper understanding of environmental sustainability.

Later yesterday, I participated in the latest Harris Academy Project Board, at which we discussed progress with the school rebuilding project planning and associated issues.

Some of last week’s activities …

On Tuesday, I had much pleasure in attending a meeting of the support group for Jericho House. This project is extremely worthwhile, providing care and support to men recovering from alcohol problems. We discussed various projects being undertaken by Jericho House of benefit to the residents and I am really pleased to join the support group to assist the project.

I then attended a meeting of the Finance and Operations Committee of Dundee Contemporary Arts, where we discussed and agreed DCA’s budget for 2011-12. Thereafter, along with a number of fellow councillors, I attended a civic reception to thank all who helped during the severe weather period in December/January. Many staff put in a huge effort above and beyond the call of duty during this period, particularly to help with meals of wheels, other social care and winter maintenance in very difficult conditions. It was a good initiative on the part of the City Council’s Chief Executive and the Lord Provost to thank all involved.

Also on Tuesday, I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives of Barnetts Motor Group to discuss the re-launch of their Barneys Charity Fund, aimed at helping local charities, community groups and worthwhile local projects, and I am pleased to accept the Chair of the Barneys Charity Fund Committee, on which there will be community representatives. The company has kindly agreed to donate a minimum of £2000 for local projects in the West End in the first year, which is an excellent boost to community groups in our area. More details will be available soon on how local groups can apply for a share of this funding.

On Thursday, as well as holding my weekly surgery at Blackness Primary School, I attended a meeting of the Dundee West Transition Town Group’s home insulation team to discuss how home insulation in the local area can be further promoted.

I also attended an enjoyable civic reception to mark the end – and the achievements of – Dundee Travel Active– a project launched when I was the City Council’s Planning and Transport Convener. Here’s Anthony Active, the project’s mascot, at the reception – above.

Last couple of days …

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the attending the official opening of the Dundee Carers Centre new offices in Argyll House, West Marketgait.  

Later, after a meeting with the Communities Officer for the West End on the new West End Local Community Plan 2012-14, I attended the latest Community Spirit Action Group meeting, the residents’ group covering Cleghorn, Ancrum, Polepark, Pentland, Tullideph and surrounding areas. 

There was an excellent presentation from Ian Treanor of the Dundee Energy Efficiency Advice Project.   Ian’s presentation covered insulation, income maximisation and the price of fuel/fuel social tariffs.

We also discussed numerous local issues including road safety on Ancrum Drive, an issue I have raised with the City Council.

Today, I was interviewed on STV news, in support of a very worthwhile project by the West End Boys’ Amateur Boxing Club that will see a boxing statue commemorating the legacy of Dick McTaggart on Dundee Law.

This evening, after my weekly surgery at Blackness Primary School, I attended the AGM of Dundee West Transition Town Group, now to be known as Dundee Transition Town.  There was a really useful discussion about the structure of the group moving forward, urban food production and other matters.

Thursday …

Back in June, I reported on a useful site visit held then with City Council road safety officers, West End Community Council and Blackness Primary School Parent Council representatives about road safety at the Sinderins junction.   The time length of the noise signal to advise pedestrians that it is safe to cross east-west at the bottom of Blackness Avenue was doubled in time length and we also discussed possible safety barriers at Hawkhill.

Today, we had a follow-up site visit (a very wet one in pouring rain!) at which the City Council representatives brought forward their proposals relative to the “barriers” idea.   They are proposing six bollards – at the footpath edge round the Blackness Avenue/Hawkhill junction and immediately to the east on Hawkhill – to emphasise to drivers not to drive too close to the pavement along Hawkhill, where pupils are walking to and from school.   It is a very busy arterial route into the City Centre and pedestrian safety is paramount.

The proposal will be discussed at the school’s Parent Council meeting next week and hopefully an agreed proposal can be implemented soon.


Later on, I attended the third West End estate “walkabout” of the week – this time round Pentland, where numerous local issues were discussed on-site including the condition of paths and steps in the area, grass cutting and parking. 

This evening, I attended the latest Dundee West Transition Town Group, where we discussed a number of issues including increasing allotment provision in the West End and the group’s input into the community fayre at the start of West End Christmas Week on 20th November.

Friday …

A very busy day with the ‘day job’ that unfortunately meant I missed today’s Dundee West Transition Town Group meeting, but good to see the good write-up about the group’s momentum in tonight’s Evening Telegraph.
Later today, I joined John Barnett and team, campaigning in the West End.    Here’s John and me, pictured in Logie Avenue late this afternoon.

Local Solutions to Climate Change?

The Community Carbon Exchange is a new project based in Dundee, aiming to radically reduce participants CO2 emissions.

Find out how it works and how you can get involved in this carbon rationing experiment.

Talk by Alistair Macleod hosted by Friends of the Earth and people & planet followed by discussion – this Wednesday 31st March at 7pm in the Dalhousie Building (LT1)

For more information, please contact: or

And – the next Dundee West Transition Town meeting takes place this coming Friday – 2nd April – at 12.30pm at Dundee West Church.

The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

The Dundee West Transition Town Group and people and planet are hosting a free film screening of “The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil” on Thursday 25th March at 6.30pm in the University of Dundee’s Dalhousie Building, Room 2G14.

It will be followed by a discussion on how we can create a more resilient local economy and sustainable future in the face of climate change and depletion of fossil fuel resources. Starting at 18:30 Watch the trailer of this inspiring film:

Dundee West Transition Town Group public launch

Tonight, the public launch meeting for the Dundee West Transition Group took place at Dundee West Church. It was a great turnout of over 50, with much enthusiasm from all concerned.

I spoke on the subject of home insulation and will be working closely with the home insulation sub-group in promoting home insulation across the West End.

Read more about the Dundee West Transition Town Group at

Friday latest …

At lunchtime today, we held the final planning meeting in advance of the Dundee West Transition Town Group launch public meeting. Our planning meeting today was very productive and we are hoping for a good turnout at the public meeting on Thursday :
Dundee West Transition Town
Public Meeting
Dundee West Church
Thursday 4th March at 7pm

More details at

Later today, I was pleased to be advised by the City Council that, following my raising residents’ concerns about a gap in the fencing by the railway at Magdalen Green, the Council has been advised by Network Rail that repairs have now been undertaken.


Meetings tonight – and tomorrow

It was good to see residents turning out at the Police Community Surgery at Blackness Library at teatime today. I spoke with a number of residents about local issues, including cycling matters, the begging concern, litter and parking.

West End Community Council’s meeting tonight featured a useful presentation on the proposed Riverside Nature Park, as well as discussion on the Dundee West Transition Towns project, an update on the West End Primary Schools Project Board and WestFest 2010.

I am meeting the City Council’s Chief Executive tomorrow morning about the cuts in Fairer Scotland Funding, an issue I am greatly concerned about.

West End Projects – update

We had an excellent and productive meeting of the Dundee West Transition Town group at lunchtime today and are planning a public launch – full details to follow! I have agreed to speak about home insulation and energy efficiency measures at the launch meeting.

And … another West End project taking shape is the proposed Riverside Nature Park. The project team are giving a presentation to West End Community Council this coming Tuesday. I have had the following update from the City Development Department on the project :

“The Nature Park project is programmed to achieve full VDLF spend by March 2011. Consultation with Special Interest Groups and the Community over the last six months has helped inform the design of the project, including the network of paths and biodiversity development. This has also enabled us to develop preliminary costings. We are currently working to finalise the design by the end of this month and the meeting with the West End Community Council next week is an important part of this. We are also considering future maintenance and management arrangements. As explained previously, we are working with SEPA to address technical issues to enable public access to the site.

Further, in addition to support from the local Community, we are trying to establish a ‘Champion’ for the project, i.e. a group of local residents, who may be able to attract more funding to maximise the impact of the VDLF funding.”

Dundee West Transition Town Group

Earlier this month, I mentioned the excellent presentation to West End Community Council about Transition Towns and the subsequent first meeting of a Dundee West Transition Town Group that I attended.

The Dundee West Transition Town Group has now set up a blog available at  Details of the next meeting on 5th February are available on the blog – all welcome!