Low carbon conference proves a huge hit with Fife sustainability champions 

Delegates turn out in their droves for inaugural Fife event

Hundreds of sustainability stakeholders from across Fife turned out for the Fife Environmental Partnership’s (FEP) first ever conference and fair – entitled ‘Harvesting Fife’s potential for a low carbon economy’ – held at the Carnegie Conference Centre in Dunfermline today (Tuesday, 20 September).
Among them were representatives from Fife Council, Invest in Fife, Fife Coast & Countryside Trust, Green Business Fife, and SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) – to name just a few of the organisations which joined forces with community groups and local sustainability initiatives for the day-long event.
The conference, which was hosted and funded by Glenrothes-based Resource Efficient Solutions, kicked off early doors with an introduction from FEP chair Katherine Leys who talked about the effect of climate change as one of the Kingdom’s biggest economic challenges.
Cllr John Wincott, Fife Council’s sustainability champion, then took to the stage to discuss, in more detail, Fife’s energy vision and masterplan – highlighting the authority’s successes so far in reducing emissions, tackling fuel poverty and generating income from renewables.
He said: “Fife Council’s carbon footprint is around 3% of the region’s total but we can influence as much as 40%.
“But low carbon energy solutions need to be driven from the ground up and, therefore, partnership working is key.”
Wincott spoke about the Council’s plans to introduce electric car-charging points at 21 locations across Fife and its target to save £70 million in cumulative energy costs and reduce carbon emissions by a quarter by 2024.
Delegates also heard from Dave Pearson of Glasgow-based Star Renewable Energy, who spoke about generating heat from waste and sea and the firm’s revolutionary heat pumps which are being used effectively to deliver heat to around 63,000 residents and businesses in Drammen, Norway. Read more about the project here 
Next followed talks from Ian Dunsmore of Scottish Water Horizons and Joan Pisanek of Edinburgh-headquartered Sunamp, who spoke about generating heat from sewage and heat storage respectively – each offering their own energy-saving solutions to help decarbonise or make better use of heat.
Ian McGrath of St Andrews University also presented on the exciting developments taking place at Guardbridge to transform the old paper mill into an energy centre and innovation hub as part of the academic institution’s bid to become the UK’s first carbon neutral university. Read more about the project here 
Other speakers included Jo and Alan Hobbett, two sustainability enthusiasts who are part-way through a project to build their own eco house in Burntisland; Michael Hui of Kingdom Housing Association, and Ian Dawson, who specialises in social housing and home energy within Fife Council.
Perhaps the highlight of the day, however, was the low carbon lunch served up by Fife College students, with the help of Fife restaurant owner and Masterchef winner Jamie Scott.
Guests were treated to a plethora of delights created from waste food donated by Fairshare UK, a Tayside and Fife-based initiative which connects businesses and charities by taking commercial food waste and delivering it to needy colleges and community groups.
The low carbon buffet featured Gazpacho, Welsh Rarebit, Lamb Samosas, Panna Cotta and Fruit Crumble with Bourbon Ice Cream, as well as other culinary delicacies, all washed down with creative mocktails.
The subsequent fashion show staged by Fife College fashion students saw quirky creations made from recycled fabrics, such as ties and polyester bedsheets, take centre stage.
Also particularly impressive were some of the stalls, which included exhibitors from Betterworld Books, Greener Kirkcaldy, Zero Waste Scotland, Fife Council’s biodiversity team, and Vegware, which supplied sustainable cutlery and crockery made out of plants for the lunch.
Sustainable transport and funding were covered towards the end of the afternoon before a tour of Fife College’s award-winning eco hairdressing and beauty salon.
For more on this, including more pictures from the event, follow @ScotlandB2B or @FifeEnviroPship on Twitter and search for #FEPCon2016

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