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Lochaber Environmental Group

Lochaber is one of 8 districts within Highland Region and centres on the town of Fort William, at the South Western end of the Great Glen. Lochaber Environmental Group was set up in 1998 and aims to bring new thinking about waste management to this part of the Scottish Highlands. An initial evaluation highlighted the need both for practical projects and general education. It showed that we should be determined to confront disadvantage due to remoteness and low population density and to capitalise on our advantages of a clean environment and a high level of concern about these issues amongst the local population.

As a first step at practical solutions the Group offered cut price compost bins for sale and was overwhelmed with demand from hundreds of people enthusiastic to try composting. We also started up a small-scale aluminium can collection amongst the schools in the area and helped to get a commercial cardboard collection off the ground.

We now have 8 workers (2 of whom are full time) and a large number of volunteers. We run a furniture re-use project, which helps in excess of 500 families a year, a community compost site, a farm plastic collection and an expanded aluminium collection. Last year we ran a series of compost competitions at Agricultural and Flower shows throughout the area. This is an excellent way of giving people a chance to look at the finished product and arouses much mirth as well as interest. We have also produced a local recycling guide and regularly go into schools where we run interactive rubbish lessons.

Over the years we have secured funding from the Community Fund, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Fresh Futures, Highland Council Landfill Tax Credits Scheme, Heritage Lottery Fund, Scottish Executive's Sustainable Action Fund and a number of other donors. However, this funding is due to run out as of April 2004.

We feel that it's important that local people have enough information to voice an informed opinion and to make their voices heard. We hold regular public meetings and events and produce a quarterly newsletter. Our membership is now over 150 people. These are all people who care enough about what is happening in Lochaber to join and add their voice to those clamouring for more recycling in our area.

For further information, contact:
Lochaber Environmental Group
Dubh MacDonald Road
Fort William
PH33 6LS
Tel: 01397 700090

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Company Registration No. 278156. Scottish Charity No. SC 029210