Tarbert Community Gardens flourish

During the first 12 months of the Big Green Tarbert project it became apparent that there was a great deal of interest in growing food locally. Another funding application was made to the Climate Challenge Fund and the Trust was successful in winning funding for a Community Garden Coordinator.

The Coordinator was appointed in mid June 2010 and was tasked with promoting the goals of growing your own and to support groups wishing to create communal gardens and allotments.

In 9 months alot has been achieved with more local people

  • are aware of where their food comes from and the impact food has on climate change
  • have the skills needed to grow their own food

Tarbert Community Gardens Leaflet

  • are keen to have their own allotment
  • have been inspired to grow their own food and now have the facilities to do so

Garden Courses

  • have become community garden volunteers,

Volunteer poster


  • Tarbert has a community orchard that has inspired local people to grow fruit

Community Garden newsletter

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Big Green Tarbert Newsletters

During the project 5 newsletters have been produced to provide guidance and illustrate aspects of the project.

Click on the links below to see newsletters.




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Home and Lifestyle energy audits

Over the past 2 years Big Green Tarbert has been carrying out home and lifestyle energy audits of households in the North Kintyre area. 

We used a 52 question questionnaire to calculate a person’s ecological and carbon footprint. The Footprint analysis considers a person’s total environmental impact based on every product or service consumed, bought or used in the last year.

In each area people are asked to make pledges – that will reduce their carbon emissions. Collectively these pledges form the communities CO2 savings and a sample of participants were called to ascertain how many pledges had been carried out by the end of the project.

If all the pledges were carried out the community will have saved over 300 tonnes of carbon.

The questionnaire used can be seen by clicking the link below


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Tarbert hosts first Transition event

In November 2009, the Big Green Tarbert project in conjuction with Transition Scotland Support organised the first Transition gathering in Tarbert.  35 people from all over Argyll attended the day and discussed the following issues:

  • Encourage young people to stay
  • Engage the uninterested
  • Government of communities
  • Green entertainment
  • Minimise waste
  • Skills
  • Sustainable transport

More detail of ther issues raised can be seen by clicking on the following links:








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Householders Energy Efficiency Manual published

Big Green Tarbert commissioned ARC Architects to produce a Householders Energy Efficiency Manual that provides advice on energy efficiency measures for 5 typical house types found on the West coast.

The Manual takes the form of a case study for each house type detailing measures that are:

  • Free and easy to do
  • Low costs and DIY
  • Higher cost of investment measure

Click on the link below to access the Manual


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ACHA Flats Energy Efficiency Report

A key part of the Big Green Tarbert project is to encourage people to reduce their carbon and emissions and energy costs. In conjunction with ACHA we commissioned a firm of architects to carry out an energy audit of one of the 1960’s blocks of flats in Tarbert.

Achitects were asked to produce proposals that would:

  • reduce CO2 produced by the flats by a minimum of 20% and achieve a minimum SAP rating of 60.
  • help reduce fuel bills.
  • increase the well-being of the residents.
  • be applied to other similar properties in the community.

The report can be viewed by clicking on the link below:


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Sustainable Communities Conference Report

Over 150 people attended the 2-day conference, ‘Sustainable Communities – the Way Forward’ in Lochgilphead High School Joint Campus on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 November.

The conference was focused on Argyll and Bute and was aimed at community groups who are interested in sustaining their future through generating renewable energy income, Council officers, Climate Challenge Fund projects, Transition groups, Permaculturists, Citizen Ethics groups, Farmers, crofters, estate owners and land managers with an interest in diversifying their income through developing mid scale proven renewable technologies.

BBC Scotland broadcaster Ken MacDonald very ably chaired the day one of the conference; titled ‘Community Resilience – routes to sustainable growth’. Whilst delegates heard about the many challenges facing rural communities renewable energy development was highlighted as being a significant opportunity. The challenge, however, is how do we ensure that the benefits this technology brings are retained within the local communities and Argyll.  Much discussion evolved around our need to move towards a low carbon economy and how communities will need to be prepared for change. This will inevitably lead to the need to build new relationships and collaborative approaches.

Scottish Energy Minister, Jim Mather chaired day two of the conference, titled ‘Route to Market — generating income through renewable energy’.  The aim of the second day was to enable participants to gain a greater understanding of proven routes to market involving collaboration between communities and landowners. Ed Laughton, from Ardrishaig Community Council outlined the process that they went through when working with a local landowner on a new wind turbine development. This partnership will see the local community have a one twelfth share when the development is operational. Delegates also heard from Angus Robertson about a number of hydro scheme developments at Ardtornish Estate in Morvern.  Initially grid connection had been a significant constraint on the Estate’s ambitious plans for a number of hydro schemes, but after lengthy consultation with the power company this issue was resolved.

In a series of workshops delegates were able to explore a number of related issues such as planning, legal advice, environmental issues, accessing finance and funding. A recurring theme was the recommendation to consult as early as possible in any development with the relevant authority/agency e.g. Local Council, SEPA, SNH etc. The opportunity for landowners to work with a local community was also highlighted, with the emphasis being that it can lead to a win-win situation and helps to keep the wealth generated local.

Wind, hydro and wood fuel were highlighted as the three technologies with probably the most potential to contribute to sustaining local communities, though Jim Mather also emphasised the opportunities for wave and tidal power.

One of the key constraints identified was the limitation of the grid infrastructure, as the current grid structure was never designed to export power out of Argyll. It is likely that the potential for the large off-shore developments will drive grid connection and capacity. The lack of accredited consultants and installers, with experience of seeing a project through to completion, is also causing a backlog in projects that are able to progress.

Feedback from the event was extremely positive with one delegate commenting, “We have been approached by a local community regarding a renewable energy project.  The conference has given us an insight into progressing this”.

A full report and delegate list can be seen by clicking the links below



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Flourish Argyll and Bute

Flourish Argyll and Bute (FAB)

Following the success of the Sustainable Communities Conference, Big Green Tarbert’s Steering Group members have been thinking of how to build on its success.

The conference succeeded in bringing together farmers, landowners, community project officers, Trust directors, students, Council officers and an MSP .  All of us had the same agenda: to create a thriving, sustainable and resilient region.

During the Christmas break some of us came up with the idea of Flourish Argyll and Bute (FAB).  The word “flourish” comes from the book by Tim Jackson called “Prosperity without Growth” which was discussed at the conference.  He talks about creating an economy and a culture which promotes human flourishing  within ecological limits.

How can we flourish as human beings in our beautiful region of Argyll and Bute?  There is a deep urge amongst people to create a better world; hence the willingness of so many people to volunteer for so many good causes, sit on Community Trusts and set up Social Enterprises (businesses with ethical values).

Tim’s book sets out a framework to create a new macro-economy which upholds and recognises people’s efforts to help each other. FAB is a network of ethical groups in the region (trusts, businesses and projects) which will encourage a debate about the whole concept of Prosperity without Growth.  If you are interested in contributing to this debate please respond to this post: we’d like to hear from you!

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Hello world

Welcome to the Big Green Tarbert blog.  This blog will contain loads of useful information on energy efficiency, growing your own food, transportation and marine litter.

We want this to be interactive – so please use to blog to post comments or ask questions

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