A 26-strong team from Johnston Carmichael, including ten graduates from the Audit team, will lace up their boots for Scotland’s favourite mass participation charity event this Sunday, raising funds for Children’s 1st. 

With a culture of investing in its people, and inspiring leaders and future leaders, the firm is also committed to supporting the communities in which its 850-plus people work and live and through Kiltwalk it has raised over £45,000 to date for numerous charities across Scotland.  

The accountancy and business advisory firm has been a gold sponsor of the Kiltwalk, which takes place in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, and Aberdeen, for 7 years. In addition to each office nominating a local charity, the firm encourages its people to select a charity close to their hearts.  

Audit Partner Grant Roger and his family have chosen to support LGBT Youth Scotland as they take on the 15-mile Big Stroll from Musselburgh to Murrayfield Stadium at Sunday’s event. 

Grant has completed the walk every year since joining the firm in 2017 and has supported different local charities each year, including STV Children’s Appeal, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, and Maggie’s Edinburgh. He believes it is important to give back to those less fortunate than himself and this year his three children, Ailsa, Katy, and Maeve, chose the charity. He explains: 

“My kids have supported me over the years, coming along to cheer me on during the walk, and this year all three are old enough to take part in the longer walk. They’ve been learning about equality in school, and they recognise that discrimination still exists toward young people within the LGBTQ+ community so they’ve decided that we should walk in aid of LGBT Youth Scotland.” 

He continued: “Walking for six or seven hours is not a lot in the grand scheme of things and the money I have raised over the years goes towards helping people who may be struggling or those who are in a less fortunate position than we are as a family.” 

LGBT Youth Scotland is Scotland’s national charity for LGBTQ+ young people and works with 13–25-year-olds across the country to support them to flourish and thrive in all aspects of their lives through the provision of youth work and supporting LGBTQ+ young people to use their voice and create change. 

Nurturing, celebrating, and developing the individuality of its people, is integral to the culture at Johnston Carmichael and this goes beyond the company and into the communities where it works. The firm aims to raise the aspirations and achievements of young people and it recently announced a partnership with Netball Scotland, to strengthen the reach and profile of netball in Scotland and engage a lost generation of players, particularly girls, who missed out on the sport due to the pandemic. 

Supporting Netball Scotland and sponsoring Kiltwalk is part of the firm’s ambition to leave a legacy for future generations and this goes beyond fundraising. Events like Kiltwalk bring people from different stages of their careers together, which helps build camaraderie. Grant said: 

“Since I joined Johnston Carmichael, I’ve always felt it was important to take part because the Kiltwalk is great for team building and I encourage our young graduates to get involved too. It’s a good way to meet and bring many people from across the company together at different levels of seniority, allowing junior and more experienced team members to do something challenging together.” 

To sponsor Grant and his family and support LGBT Youth Scotland click here. 

Scamp & Dude celebrated its official opening in Edinburgh at the weekend with a VIP event, live entertainment, hosted by brand founder and CEO Jo Tutchener-Sharp who formally cut the ribbon and welcomed excited shoppers through the doors on Saturday 9th September.

Adding a pop of neon to the capital’s lifestyle district, St James Quarter, this is Scamp & Dude’s first store to open in Scotland and comes after a year of expansive growth for the brand, which will also see the opening of a store in Battersea Power Station, London this weekend.

On Friday 8th September Scamp & Dude hosted a vibrant launch event with more than 180 of the city’s key influencers, media and over 100 members of the brand’s supportive Scottish community. Guests were treated to a limited-edition special Edinburgh-opening-only tote bag, thoughtfully designed, and packed with amazing Scamp & Dude and beauty must-haves.

Engaging with the brand’s tight-knit community, the event was attended by more than 100 ‘Duders’. Dressed in head-to-toe Scamp & Dude attire, and full of anticipation and excitement, the ‘Duders’ were seen first in line creating the party atmosphere. Once inside, guests had the opportunity to explore the new store, try on new styles and press the exclusive interactive Superpower Button, to receive their very own boost of Scamp & Duder Superpowers.   

Exclusively unveiled at the launch was the Scamp & Dude ‘Bolt Room’, An exclusive shopping experience in the store, where customers can book to have
use of a private fitting room for a group of friends to try on the brand’s latest styles, all whilst relaxing with a glass of bubbly and a Scamp & Dude stylist on hand for advice.

The official public launch of the vibrant new store at St James Quarter began on Saturday, September 9th, with eager shoppers beginning to gather as early as 7:45am in anticipation of this exciting addition to the Quarter. The first 50 shoppers were gifted with a complimentary Scamp & Dude gift. Shoppers were entertained over the launch weekend with performances from a brass band that filled the Galleria with feel good tunes.

The newly opened store proudly presents Scamp & Dude’s collection of women’s and children’s clothing, alongside their charitable product offerings. Situated in a location that resonates with the brand’s dedicated and swiftly expanding Scottish following, referred to as ‘Duders,’ it serves as the perfect hub for this community.

Award-winning housebuilder, Cruden, has once again given back to the East Lothian community, where it is building modern, energy-efficient new homes.

The company recently donated four large container units to local charity, Beyond Boundaries East Lothian (BBEL), which supports people aged 16 and over with disabilities and mental health issues. With help from volunteers and the local community, BBEL provides outdoor activities and adventure sports experiences for those living in East Lothian – including kayaking, canoeing, wild swimming, river walking and all-ability cycling.

The containers were previously used as site accommodation at Cruden’s Longniddry Village development, where it is developing a range of properties. Following the generous gesture, they will now be used by BBEL to store key materials such as wetsuits, paddle boards and kayaks at its base in Prestonpans, as well as providing a useful meeting space before carrying out these activities.

Last year, Cruden also provided support to local schoolchildren by lending a helping hand to Longniddry Primary School. Bringing the school’s playground back to life, the team repaired previously broken benches and provided new planters for pupils to enjoy.

Hazel Davies, Sales and Marketing Director at Cruden Homes, said: “Our aim is to not only build homes, but to do all we can to support and enhance the communities we build in.

“Beyond Boundaries East Lothian is a wonderful charity that has a life-changing impact on local individuals. We’re delighted to continue supporting the local community by donating these containers.”

Steven Nelson, Founder of Beyond Boundaries East Lothian added: “It’s exciting times ahead for all, thanks to Cruden Homes. Their donation of four containers will enable us to have ample storage for all our equipment, as well as to put forward plans for a permanent home for BBEL members.

“One container will provide a meeting place and club area, and another will be the BBEL office. The remaining two units, subject to successful planning applications, will help us create a designated community presence in Prestonpans, providing regular outdoor activity services to people across East Lothian who have disabilities and mental health issues.”

Thirteen tennis courts across four park tennis venues in Edinburgh, alongside a new booking system, have been officially launched after a £190,000 renovation, managed by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA), and funded by the City of Edinburgh Council, the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation.

The Council contributed £33,000 towards the total investment, with the remaining £157,000 funds coming from the UK Government and LTA Tennis Foundation grant.

The courts have undergone extensive work to ensure viability for years to come, including resurfacing, repainting, new fencing, and a new gate system. This nationwide programme of investment is seeing thousands of existing park tennis courts in poor or unplayable condition brought back to life for the benefit of communities across the country, providing vital opportunities for children and adults to get active.

As part of the partnership, the Council’s Parks and Greenspace service will manage the courts and adopt the LTA’s Clubspark booking system to manage community access which will be connected to a smart access gate at each of the refurbished venues.

The new booking systems and gate access technology means it is now easier to get on court by booking in advance to guarantee availability. The small booking fee of £1 will ensure that the courts are maintained at their new high standard for years to come. The LTA and the Council will work together to ensure free park tennis sessions are also available on the courts providing regular opportunities for anyone to pick up a racket and play.

As well as weekly free park tennis sessions, with equipment provided, the new courts will host Local Tennis Leagues, giving people the opportunity to get involved in friendly and social local competitions.

The refurbishment works for courts at Inverleith, Victoria Park, and Leith Links have now been completed. Works at St Margaret’s Park are expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

Residents and visitors will be able to begin using these courts immediately, with the online booking system launching tomorrow (September 15).

Culture and Communities Convener, Councillor Val Walker said:

“I was delighted to attend today’s launch at Leith Links and meet the local schoolchildren who will be some of the many in the community who will benefit from these newly refurbished courts. It is fantastic that courts at three out of four of the parks, Inverleith, Victoria Park, and Leith Links have now had works competed and have reopened, with St Margaret’s Park expected in the near future.

“We very much welcome the funding boost that the LTA project will bring to the city’s provision for tennis. Working together we’re investing in and improving four of our park tennis courts giving more opportunities for residents to get involved in the sport.

“I am looking forward to seeing residents and visitors take advantage of these fantastic new facilities.”

Julie Porter, Chief Operating Officer at the LTA, said:

“After months of hard work, we’re delighted to see park tennis courts across Edinburgh officially back open to the public, and in better shape than ever.

“Public tennis courts are such vital facilities for getting active and we want as many people as possible, of all ages and abilities, to pick up a racket and enjoy playing tennis. Thanks to this investment the sport will be opened up to more players, for years to come.”

Stuart Andrew MP, Sports Minister, said:

“We are committed to levelling up access to sport which is so important for the nation’s physical and mental health.

“The Government and the LTA are working together to deliver thousands of refurbished courts across Great Britain, supported by £30 million of investment including in £189,217 in the City of Edinburgh Council.

“These improved tennis facilities in Edinburgh will provide the local community with fun opportunities to get active and potentially become the next Andy Murray or Emma Raducanu.”

Blane Dodds, Tennis Scotland Chief Executive, said:

“With tennis participation and membership in Scotland at record levels, it’s important that we continue to invest in facilities to grow capacity.

“Park facilities are key to ensuring tennis is accessible to all, so we are delighted that these park courts in Edinburgh have opened following refurbishment.

“The appetite for tennis in Scotland has never been higher and these revamped courts, along with a number of other facilities being built and refurbished around the country, will help make sure more people are able to get access and play tennis across Scotland.”

The BCC has held its inaugural​​ ​meeting of its new Business Council alongside Cabinet Minister, the Rt Hon Michael Gove and Shadow Chancellor, the Rt Hon Rachel Reeves.

The new body, comprising​​ ​​some of the most ​prominent British​​ ​businesses, has been brought together to work in partnership with politicians to drive the future of the economy​​​ at this ​​crucial​​ time​​​.​

The Business Council will focus on five key challenges and will develop policy​ proposals​ that ​will​​ ​​help ​transform the ​future of the ​UK economy. Its ​initial​​ recommendations ​will feed into a Business Manifesto in the new year that ​will​ ​aim​ to influence​​​​​​ ​​political party​​​​ ​manifestos ahead of ​the General Election.

​The Council will then work to develop follow-up papers – to help the next Government set a business-backed agenda from day one and establish a long-term strategy for growth.​

Business Council members will ​focus ​on at least one of the challenges. The​ challenge themes will​ all ​be ​chaired by ​five ​experienced business​ ​​leaders,​ working with commissions of businesses, experts, Chamber representatives and academics.

They will begin meeting in the coming weeks and will produce their first policy recommendations in early 2024.

​​​BCC President and Business Council Chair, Baroness Martha Lane Fox, said:

​​“​Now more than ever, businesses must come together to tackle the challenges facing the UK economy.​​  ​​​

​​“In the face of economic disruption and with a general election looming, our new, national​ Business Council​ will help the voice of business to be heard loud and clear by policymakers.​

​​”Together in ​partnership with politicians​,​ ​it will​ find the answers to the key issues facing the UK economy, so it was great to have Michael Gove and Rachel Reeves join us​ for our inaugural event today​.

“The expertise and experience that our council members ​bring​ to the table allow​s​ for a powerful and engaging debate about the problems ​but also helps to identify the​​​​ ​solutions.

“Firms are realistic and understand the financial limitations that the Governments of both today and the next five years will be facing.

“But it’s through ​initiatives​​ ​like these that we can work ​collectively ​to make a real difference for businesses on the frontline of the economy and give them the tools they need ​to​ ​succeed​.

“This was an excellent first meeting to act as a springboard in developing practical and pragmatic policies across the five challenge​ area​s.”

The Rt Hon Michael Gove said:

“The Government is focused on the Prime Minister’s missions to grow the economy and halve inflation.

“Levelling up plays a crucial part in that which is why I’m so pleased to be meeting with leading businesses at the BCC Business Council to discuss challenges and opportunities across the country and am very grateful to the British Chamber of Commerce for their excellent work on the Business Council.

“Boosting skills up and down the country and improving digital connectivity are key tenets of spreading opportunity across the UK, and will in, turn, contribute to economic growth.”

Hydrogen: Experimentation, setbacks, and the road to success

Following on from our last diary entry about our all-electric on site experiment, this diary entry explores our efforts to integrate hydrogen technology as an alternative to diesel power at our showcase Towards a Zero Carbon Construction Site at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).

Balfour Beatty firmly believes that hydrogen holds the key to significantly reducing our industry’s carbon footprint[1]. Its versatility is remarkable, offering clean energy storage solutions, low-emission fuel cells for equipment, off-grid energy options, and even contributing to sustainable building material production. What makes hydrogen particularly exciting is its ability to generate energy without producing carbon dioxide, and the fact that it can be produced using low-carbon technologies. Recognising its potential, both the UK and Scottish Governments have included hydrogen as a critical tool in their strategies to achieve net zero goals. However, it is a new technology, and one the industry is still learning to understand.

So far, our project at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has used an existing electrical connection, avoiding the need for diesel generators. However, as we progress to more energy-intensive tasks, such as stripping paint and rust from the cast iron frame of the Victorian Palm House, we knew that we would need more energy than the existing electrical infrastructure can provide.

The cast iron frame, which supports the glass in this important heritage structure, requires removal of the paint to allow us to examine it and understand whether it needs to be repaired, reused, or replaced. Our primary objective is to preserve as much of this important historical structure as possible. Given the energy-intensive nature of the paint-removal process, relying solely on the existing electrical connection was not feasible. Putting in place another electrical connection would have caused significant local disruption, including road closures near the site, not to mention the considerable expense involved. In line with our commitment to embrace net zero solutions whenever possible, we turned to hydrogen technology, guided by our Fuel Hierarchy principles and our roadmap to zero emissions, which aid us in selecting the right energy sources for our plant, equipment, vehicles, and buildings.

Our team first looked at the use of renewable technology or a hybrid solar diesel generator as we know these are very successful in reducing emissions. However, as the power demand when paint removal was taking place would always exceed what the battery could provide us, it wouldn’t have offered any carbon savings. We then extensively evaluated the use of hydrogen generators and hydrogen power units. We determined that a hydrogen generator would be the one needed on the site to meet the peak load power requirements. This solution not only delivers the necessary power but also allows us to monitor and understand our energy usage and emissions.

However, the compact live operational nature of the RBGE site posed a challenge. As hydrogen is less energy dense than diesel, a typical hydrogen storage unit for construction plant will take up a footprint of approximately 12m x 5m, whereas the same diesel unit would be less than 2m x 2m. Unfortunately, no matter how many ways we tried to make it work, the space requirements and footprint of the hydrogen setup, including the need for large storage tanks, made using hydrogen unworkable. This was a disappointing setback for our team. Innovation often demands resilience and acceptance of setbacks, and this was one such instance. Transitioning to hydrogen infrastructure is not a like-for-like replacement for existing systems, which means that we will have to make a number of changes in how we approach it, including designing in hydrogen storage areas in at bid stage so we are able to set aside the space. Nonetheless, our understanding of these requirements has expanded thanks to this work, equipping us to explore other operations with more available space where hydrogen can be used effectively. This includes a number of other projects where logistics are less challenging and which are benefiting from Hydrogen power generation – not least at our HS2 Balfour Beatty Vinci site near Birmingham where we have Hydrogen Generation powering a large temporary accommodation building. We are planning to supplement this with a retrofitted Solar Roof at the same location in the second half of 2023.

Our push towards hydrogen is also taking other forms. Not far from our current scheme, we have joined forces with the Scottish Government to set up Scotland’s first Construction Hydrogen Hub on the M77/Glasgow Southern Orbital project. In collaboration with ULEMCo, experts in converting vehicle and construction engines to operate with hydrogen, we are currently retrofitting existing diesel vehicles to run off a hydrogen hybrid technology, replacing 40% of the diesel usage. This successful initiative received 50% funding from the Scottish Government’s Hydrogen Innovation Scheme, which is designed to support innovation in renewable hydrogen production, storage and distribution, and integration into Scotland’s energy system. This scheme will see us retrofit two gritters, a traffic management vehicle, and an impact protection vehicle. A hybrid transition is very important for several reasons:

  • The provision of green hydrogen (hydrogen produced from renewable power) is variable. Over the course of our project so far, our initial project partner for supplying the green hydrogen is no longer operating and we are now in discussions with other suppliers. The gritters we are retrofitting have to operate in some of the worst weather conditions to ensure that the M77 and Glasgow Southern Orbitals can remain open. The hydrogen retrofit technology means that the equipment can still run on diesel should there be a fault with the new technology, or the fragile and new hydrogen network not be able to operate in the same conditions.
  • Although we want net zero vehicles and equipment now, typically, the lifespan of these vehicles is from 10 to 12 years. Simply discarding our existing fleet for newer cleaner technology is neither sustainable nor possible across our whole fleet. Furthermore, all-hydrogen vehicles are rare, and it will be several years yet before they are manufactured at scale. We simply can’t wait this long. Our aim is to use this project to send a clear signal to our plant and vehicle manufacturers that the construction industry is ready for hydrogen.
  • Hydrogen producers need to be able to begin to ramp up supplies, but to remain viable, they need to do this at a pace that matches the industry demand. This project allows us to better understand and be able to model hydrogen demand across the industry to help the hydrogen structure across Scotland and the rest of the UK develop.

Initiatives like the M77 retrofit are crucial stepping stones in introducing hydrogen to the industry and making it a mainstream solution. However, we couldn’t have achieved this without the generous funding from the Scottish Government. Transitioning to hydrogen is a huge task that no individual business can shoulder alone. Our concern is that, without financial support, our sector, and even the broader economy, might struggle to achieve the ambitious decarbonisation goals Governments have set. While the cost of hydrogen is likely to decrease eventually, we need more funding like this to bridge the current affordability gap, ensuring a smoother and faster transition to this sustainable energy source.

The work at the M77 should be complete by spring 2024 and isn’t just an experiment for us. This work will inform the budget and costings to enable our transition to hydrogen fuels around 2030 and beyond, as per the ambitions in our scope 1 and 2 emissions roadmap. We will continue to share our learnings and allow the Governments, our customers and our supply chain to see and experience our hydrogen depot to allow them to learn from our experiences and help de-risk the transition to low carbon fuels.

Taking a broader perspective on hydrogen, our aim is to collaborate with industry partners, including our supply chain partners and fuel companies. As leaders in the field, we’re leveraging our position to drive the adoption of hydrogen technology. Despite the excitement surrounding hydrogen, there are still uncertainties and a sense of caution. Factors such as availability, cost, and certainty pose significant challenges. The lack of necessary infrastructure for widespread distribution, as well as a shortage of suppliers, further complicates the situation. For hydrogen to truly succeed, everyone within the hydrogen network must step up – from hydrogen producers to plant manufacturers offering hybrid or fully hydrogen-powered equipment, and every stakeholder in between.

We’re committed to advancing this agenda, using our position as the largest infrastructure provider in the UK to drive change, learning from the challenges we face, and transforming hydrogen from a concept to a reality. We will continue to look at opportunities to use hydrogen where a mains connection is not available and funding can be leveraged to pay for hydrogen fuel. Our efforts involve bringing hydrogen to our sites, demonstrating its effectiveness, and inspiring our supply chain to innovate and adopt this sustainable solution. By accelerating the process of bringing these hydrogen solutions to the market, we can speed up the industry’s transition towards a greener future.

While our attempts at implementing hydrogen solutions on this site encountered obstacles, they provided invaluable insights and knowledge. These experiences underscore the enormous potential of hydrogen technology in driving the construction industry’s decarbonisation efforts.


A team from Edinburgh-based independent connectivity consultancy, FarrPoint, in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise, has travelled to Orkney with a mission to inspire more youngsters into a career in telecoms.

Attracting fresh talent into the sector is badly needed, according to recent research which suggests more than 60% of telecoms engineers are over 50, and 42% of telecoms businesses are reporting a skills gap in the external labour market. In rural and island locations, finding employees with telecoms skills can be an even greater challenge.

As part of the Orkney International Science Festival, which ran from 7-13 September, FarrPoint’s Alan Patterson (Telecoms Consultant), Nikki Robertson (GIS Consultant) and Kristina Vard (Head of Marketing) visited Kirkwall Grammar School to deliver two ‘Connectivity and the Internet of Things’ workshops for young people.

The youngsters who attended got the chance to explore the world of connectivity, check their mobile signal strengths and test some smart IoT solutions. They also learned how to map 4G mobile signal using FarrPoint’s mobile mapping tool.

Alan Patterson, Telecoms Consultant at FarrPoint said: “Everyone’s talking about careers in STEM more generally, as various industries try to attract more talent, but you don’t hear much about working in telecoms, and so it may not be the first career choice that comes to mind! However, it’s a sector that has seen huge developments recently and is fast-paced and exciting.

“A job in telecoms could be anything from a satellite engineer who plans and design telecoms infrastructure in space, to a design engineer running the television and internet coverage for major sporting events, a telecom leader planning how high streets and shopping centres function, or in the health sector where connectivity is hugely important to improving health care.”

Nikki Robertson, GIS consultant at FarrPoint added: “It was great to see so many young people get involved in our hands-on workshops, which we designed specifically to demonstrate that telecoms can be fun and engaging. There are so many routes into our industry, but if you have an interest in technology and how things work, that is an excellent start.

“Most of us have a smart mobile phone these days and can’t imagine a life without the Internet – it would certainly be a very different world to the one most young people are used to! But to keep that rate of progress going, we need more young talent to consider joining the sector.”

Maha Abhishek, Deputy Festival Director said: “We were thrilled to have FarrPoint join us at the Orkney International Science Festival’s Family Day for young people and their families to delve into the fascinating world of connectivity and the Internet of Things. Their presence added a unique and valuable dimension to our event, shedding light on topics that are often not commonly explored within the vibrant programme of science festivals. This opportunity was especially meaningful for remote communities in Orkney, as it allowed us to engage with these intriguing subjects in a way we rarely get to do.”

Andrea Rutherford, HIE’s head of policy for Digital Highlands and Islands, said: “The use of Internet of technology is growing all the time in industry, as more and more firms discover the business benefits it can bring. This emphasises the crucial nature of both digital connectivity and digital skills. Engaging young people at the Orkney Science and giving them an insight into how technology and connectivity is applied in business is a great way to encourage many of them to start thinking about potential technology-related career options.”

Leading Scottish law firm Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP (WJM) has welcomed four new trainee solicitors across two of its Scottish offices.

Mairi Adams, Pip de Klerk and Robyn Black (graduates of the University of Glasgow, Edinburgh Napier University and Glasgow Caledonian University respectively) all join the firm’s Glasgow team while University of Edinburgh graduate Irum Arshad joins the Edinburgh office.

Mairi, Pip and Irum will focus on commercial property while Robyn will focus on private client work.

During the two-year traineeship they will work towards qualifying as solicitors under the supervision of WJM’s experts. The firm’s trainee positions are hugely competitive with hundreds of law graduates applying for the roles every year.

Fraser Gillies, Managing Partner at WJM, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Mairi, Pip, Irum and Robyn.

“All four of our new trainees have consistently demonstrated their potential throughout our rigorous selection process and we look forward to supporting them in their career development.”

One of the new trainees, Robyn Black, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of the WJM team. What particularly resonates with me is the firm’s strong emphasis on people-centric values and I’m excited to get started.”

For more information on WJM visit www.wjm.co.uk.

Balfour Beatty today announces that it has become the first construction company to secure funding from the Scottish Government’s Emerging Energies Technology Fund to retrofit carbon intensive vehicles to run off both hydrogen and diesel, also known as dual fuel.

As part of the innovative project, the Scottish Government has provided over £240,000 with Balfour Beatty match-funding the scheme.  The funding will allow Balfour Beatty to retrofit two gritters and two operations and maintenance vehicles. Once retrofitted, the vehicles will be trialled on the Connect Roads M77/Glasgow Southern Orbital project.

The trial is expected to deliver a 40% reduction in carbon emissions from each of the four retrofitted vehicles, with the aim of providing a blueprint for the conversion of all Balfour Beatty owned fleet in the future.

The Connect Roads M77/GSO depot in East Renfrewshire will also become Scotland’s first ‘Hydrogen Construction Hub’, where Balfour Beatty will facilitate quarterly sessions during the first year of the trial to allow customers, supply chain partners and other key stakeholders to hear about the progress and performance of the four retrofitted vehicles and see them in action.

Hector MacAulay MBE, Balfour Beatty Regional Managing Director of Scotland, said: “Reducing emissions from plant on sites is a key challenge faced by the entire construction and infrastructure industry. It is a challenge that must be faced collectively if we are to drive down our emissions and play our part in reaching the Scottish Government’s net zero by 2045 target.

“Whilst electric solutions are starting to enter the market, they are not yet a realistic option for heavy plant. Dual fuel represents an alternative solution, and we are looking forward to seeing the benefits that this trial will deliver, as we look to develop a practical solution for our industry, alongside the Scottish Government.”

In response, the Scottish Government said: “We are pleased to note today’s announcement by Balfour Beatty, following their successful funding bid into our Emerging Energy Technologies Fund – Hydrogen Innovation Scheme. As confirmed by the First Minister in May, we have so far awarded grant funding of over £7m from the HIS to 32 innovative projects that will support the development of the hydrogen economy in Scotland.

“The projects supported through this funding call will progress innovative solutions to address and overcome key challenges related to scaling up hydrogen production, storage, and distribution. The awarded funding will also enable the development of hydrogen innovation centres across Scotland that will act as hubs of ongoing hydrogen innovation activity, providing facilities that will support skills development and the incubation and development of hydrogen technologies across the value chain; Balfour Beatty’s project is a prime example of this activity.”

The hydrogen retrofit project will support the bold targets and ambitions set out in Balfour Beatty’s sustainability strategy, Building New Futures, and is aligned to the company’s recently published fuel hierarchy, which looks to educate people on the most appropriate, sustainable  energy sources for plant, equipment, vehicles and buildings.

Edinburgh school children have published two new books inspired by the history and refurbishment of the city’s iconic North Bridge.

Today (Wednesday, 13 September) pupils from Drummond Community High School and formerly from Leith Walk Primary School, Broughton Primary School and Abbeyhill Primary School launched the books, ‘Stories From The Stones’ (by S2 pupils from Drummond Community High) and ‘What’s That About North Bridge’ (by P7 pupils from the three primary schools, who are now S1 pupils at Drummond Community High).

The young authors worked closely with the project team and contractors Balfour Beatty to develop stories for the books, including visits to the project site, as part of the North Bridge Refurbishment Arts Legacy and Community Benefits Programme, and thanks to funding from Historic Environment Scotland.

Drummond Community High pupils also worked with Ancestry and the Council’s archives department to explore old artefacts and documents relating to the bridge, helping to inspire characters and ideas. The project was facilitated by Super Power Agency, an Edinburgh based local charity that promotes writing and literacy.

At the special launch event pupils read from their books, which include fictional stories about an early 20th century sailor returning to his North Bridge home, an imagined military battle on the bridge and a magic potion which makes the whole bridge disappear.

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said:

“It’s clear that the young authors of these books have vibrant imaginations – reading their stories has been very entertaining!

It’s particularly interesting to see how they have woven the majesty and heritage of the North Bridge into their tales, and it’s evident that all those who contributed have spent a lot of time thinking about the bridge and its history. Thanks to the Community Benefits Programme we’re able to really involve local people to learn and participate in the scheme as it progresses.

This is a huge project for the city and the people who live nearby, and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience as it continues. Once complete it will retain the much-loved North Bridge for generations to come.”

The major project to restore Edinburgh’s 19th century North Bridge began in 2018 and includes reinforcements to the top deck, significant repairs to structural steelwork and improvements to the bridge’s historic cast iron façade.

Funding for the book has been facilitated by the Council through a Historic Environment Scotland Support Fund Grant, matched by Balfour Beatty, their supply chain and other companies associated with the North Bridge refurbishment project.

Ancestry has been working with Edinburgh City Archives to digitise over 21 million records, which are available on their family history website. As part of Ancestry’s community benefits with the Council, it provides free access to its website for users of the Edinburgh City Archives and Edinburgh Libraries.

Find out more about the North Bridge refurbishment project.