Winchburgh leading Green Revolution

Winchburgh Developments Limited is leading a green revolution by taking part in Greenspace Scotland’s ParkPower programme, and by doing so has become the first private sector developer to sign up a project that will use local parks to meet energy needs.

This pioneering partnership sees the developer commit to exploring the delivery of clean, green energy solutions with the potential to fulfil a significant proportion of Winchburgh’s energy needs.

The masterplan comprises over 300 acres of greenspace, including Daisy Park, which features a flooded claypit, as well as two sites at Glendevon and Hawkhill.

Work began on the largest site, the new 78-acre Auldcathie Park, in early 2019. Spanning 352 hectares, Winchburgh is one of the largest housing development projects currently underway in the UK delivering at least 3,450 new homes, improved transport links, employment opportunities, as well as new schools and outdoor spaces.

These greenspaces are now being assessed by Greenspace Scotland and WDL’s engineer’s, SWECO, to identify their suitability for green technologies including ground source heat, water source heat and solar photovoltaic.

John Hamilton, CEO, Winchburgh Developments Limited said: “The scale of the work we’re undertaking here in Winchburgh provides us with the opportunity to explore the potential of our greenspaces to deliver renewable energy that could power a significant proportion of the town. By investing in these renewable energy solutions now, we strongly believe we will be able to secure a healthy and prosperous future for Winchburgh.
It’s very fitting that Winchburgh, a former oil shale town with a rich mining history, has this great potential to take a leading role in exploring energy solutions that will be fit for the 21st century.”

Julie Procter, Chief Executive, Greenspace Scotland added: “It’s vital that Scotland’s energy landscape changes dramatically over the next thirty years as we seek to become less dependent on fossil fuel-based energy sources and decarbonise our energy system. Our parks and greenspaces have huge potential to provide clean, green renewable energy to heat our homes and reduce our carbon footprint.

“We haven’t had the chance to work on a project of the scale at Winchburgh before, so this presents us with a massively exciting opportunity to create Scotland’s, and the UK’s, first town with a significant portion of its heat energy generated from its parks. Another first worth noting is that Winchburgh Developments Limited is the first private developer to sign up to Greenspace Scotland and the ParkPower scheme. We hope this project will set a precedent for other developers across the UK.”

Nick Knox, Chairman of the Winchburgh Community Council, and a Director of the Winchburgh Community Development Trust said: “I am personally delighted that this opportunity has been taken up by the developer. It would seem to offer nothing but environmental and financial benefits to the Winchburgh community, and I both applaud and welcome the initiative.”

Mike Jones, Technical Manager, Sweco UK, said: “At Sweco, we know first-hand from our work on projects both in the UK and the Nordic countries just how effective sustainable energy solutions like ground and water source heat pumps, district heating and solar PV can be. As such, we’re looking forward to working with the Winchburgh Developments team to leverage this experience in assessing the best technologies to create a sustainable community for the future. Realising the potential of clean energy sources will be key to meeting Scotland and the UK’s ambitious emissions targets, and Winchburgh’s initiative is a great example of how urban spaces can be adapted to sustainably power homes and businesses.”

Picture credit : Pinsent Masons

New map shows Winchburgh divided by relative wealth, but united in growth.

Winchburgh is shown as a village divided by wealth in an online map released this week by SIMD, but also the research has shown a much improved outlook in terms of deprivation reduction since the map was last produced in 2016.

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) report for 2020 was released this week and shows that parts of West Lothian are in the country’s top 10 least-deprived areas.

The least deprived area in the 2020 statistics was Stockbridge, in Edinburgh.

The index splits Scotland into 6,976 areas – or “data zones” – of roughly equal population.

More than 30 indicators of deprivation are grouped into seven ‘domains,’ made up of income, employment, education, health, access to services, crime and housing.

In Winchburgh, the map showed a sharp divide between areas of the village with new houses, and older parts of the village in the south and centre. However, the overall picture for the village is that of growth and a reduction in poverty, with no parts of the village now below 40%, shown in deep orange or red in the maps below. Parts of the village are now even entering the 9th decile, meaning into the top 20% least deprived parts of the country.

As the facilities and transport links bring further economic prosperity to the village, it is hoped that all parts of Winchburgh will be shaded blue on the maps below by 2024, meaning pockets of deprivation will no longer exist in the village.

Photos courtesy of SIMD. Access the online maps available here.

Winchburgh SIMD 2012
Winchburgh SIMD 2016
Winchburgh SIMD 2020

Winchburgh fly tipping concerns raised as rubbish bags left strewn over road

Fly tippers struck again last night on Winchburgh’s backroads with locals fearing a serial offender is to blame, with Labour controlled West Lothian Council also under fire for cuts to  recycling centre opening times.

A couple of dozen rubbish bags, thought to mainly contain used clothes and food containers, were dumped yesterday in the middle of Peniel Place heading North from the A89 just before the road turns left over the railway bridge.

It is understood that this occurred at sometime between 17:30 and 19:30 yesterday evening. Kindly locals have moved the bags that were strewn over the carriageway to the side of the road, but concerns have been raised that reckless fly tipping onto active roads at night such as happened yesterday could cause a serious accident in the future.

This is not the first time Peniel Place has been hit, sparking fears that a serial fly tipper is targeting the area. In the past, a caravan has been abandoned on the road. Driving down the road today, a mattress and even a large aquarium tank were also seen at the side of the road.

Changes to recycling centre opening times have been blamed for a rise in fly tipping. Others have pointed to the £25 charge introduced in 2018 by Labour controlled West Lothian Council for bulky uplift, and restrictions on vans entering recycling centres. One user of the Winchburgh Facebook group commented: “Council cut backs are wholly to blame. Restricted recycling centre opening hours. Fly tipping was never an issue until recently.”

The number of enquiries received by West Lothian Council in relation
to Fly Tipping has dramatically increased over recent years and in 2018 there were a record 1893 incidents, compared to 1492 in 2017. The figures for 2019 have not been released yet, but it is likely we will see a further increase.

West Lothian Council has previously stated that the bulk of fly tipping incidents are occurring because of rubbish being trucked in from other areas, and that fly tipping is at its worst on the borders of Edinburgh, North and South Lanarkshire.

The issue particularly impacts farmers, with the rubbish often being dumped on their land. A spokeswoman for the National Farmers Union of Scotland said: “Many of our members, particularly on the outskirts of urban areas are blighted by fly tipping, a problem which appears to be increasing significantly.

“The issues range from householders throwing away sofas and fridges to large-scale commercial dumping and then on to illegal warehousing of waste which becomes industrial scale fly tipping.

“Given the blight that rural crime in general is placing on our communities, NFUS is working closer than ever with local police forces and other stake holders to combat this.”

Rubbish left by fly tippers on Peniel Place, Winchburgh



Winchburgh revealed as witch trial hotspot in new research

A map that tracks more than 3,000 Scots men and women who were accused of being witches in the 16th and 17th Century has been published for the first time.

The interactive document has been created by data experts at the University of Edinburgh.

It builds on the university’s Scottish Witchcraft Survey which brought to life the persecution of women during the period, with many burned at the stake or drowned.

And Winchburgh, or Niddry as it is recorded in the survey, is revealed as somewhat of a witch trial hot spot. In total, 9 trials are mapped for Niddry, compared to the much larger towns of Linlithgow (12) and Edinburgh (48).

But it is not just the number that is surprising, it is the persons accused that provide fascinating glimpses into local 17th century society.

Surprisingly, it was not strangers reporting suspected witchcraft cases to the authorities, but often the closest family of those on trial. One of the accused was Janet Wright who was investigated in July 1628. She was accused by her husband James Baderstoun and confessed to being a witch for 19 years. Agnes Hill, brought to trial in June, was equally accused by her husband.

AN not all the accused were women. The remaining seven cases all had the same trial date and involved six women (Sarah Ramgate, Katharine Purdie, Jonnet Young, Jonnet Cleghorne, Jeane Gibeson, and Grissel Young) and one man (Johne Ramsay) who were all accused on 8th July 1661. It is not thought that they were found guilty.

For those wanting to explore the witch trials that occurred in their area of Scotland, you can search the interactive map here.

‘A’ roads, ‘B’ roads…why does Winchburgh now have a ‘C’ road?

The sight of an ‘M’ road will be known to all Winchburgh residents, with the village being close to both the M9 and M8. Any certainly the sight of a road sign indicating an ‘A’ or a ‘B’ road will be a familiar one to any driver. But the sight recently in the village of road signs indicating road closures with a ‘C’ designation has left many puzzled. So what exactly are ‘C’ roads?

It is a road sign which has intrigued local road sign geeks, as it is a sign which in theory should not exist.

Factually ‘C’ roads should only be found in local authority designation spreadsheets and logbooks but should not appear on road signs. They are typically rural roads and lanes with low traffic densities, and are designated as unclassified or ‘quiet roads‘ commonly using ‘C’, ‘D’ and ‘U’ prefixes.

Whilst it is extremely rare to see a ‘C’ road designation on a permanent road sign, the Winchburgh signs placed in the last couple of months are temporary to advise on a road closure, and therefore allowed by the guidelines.

The Winchburgh sign shows the temporary closure of the C19. This road starts at the eastern end of Linlithgow town centre, at a signalised junction on the B9080 next to the railway bridge. At first, it heads west, alongside the railway, following Back Station Road, before forking left onto Manse Road which soon turns south, climbing steeply across the canal. Leaving the town behind, the route curves south east then east at Riccarton, reaching the B8046 below Tor Hill. The C19 continues over the B8046 (Ecclesmachan road) and ending at the junction with the B8020 in Winchburgh.

However, the C19 and its ‘C’ designation is not a rarity in West Lothian, and certainly not in Scotland. According to Transport for Scotland, there were 117km of ‘B’ roads in West Lothian, compared to 116km of ‘C’ roads. (Aberdeenshire has the most ‘C’ roads, with 1540km. In fact, in Scotland as a whole ‘C’ roads make up 19% of our total road network. Which makes the rarity of road signage with their designation seem strange.

More worryingly, if we are only supposed to see ‘C’ road signs when there are road repairs and closures, their condition means we should be seeing ‘C’ road signs much more often than we do. In West Lothian alone, as of stats in 2017, 7% of ‘C’ roads were classed as being in a red condition, 35% in in an amber condition.

If you would like to find out more about ‘C’ roads, there are fan websites designated to British roads and their signage, such as SABRE and And if you want to find out locally in West Lothian where each of our C1-32 and U1-43 are located, you can do so here.