Options for getting a polycrub in the Western Isles have widened after the Shetland community company nortenergy teamed up with Western Isles construction company AMK.
“I am delighted that we have come to this agreement with Alec John and Jayne of AMK,” said nortenergy Chair Drew Ratter.
“They are now stocking materials for the polycrubs, and their staff have been trained in kit assembly, delivery and erection.”
Already the Western Isles are home to quite a few polycrubs – their qualities as a gale-proof growing environment has been proven over and over again.
The new arrangement between the north Shetland company and AMK will now make the process of getting a polycrub a lot easier, ridding the need to freight materials to Shetland and then out again.
And, using redundant plastic piping from the aquaculture industry as part of the polycrub design, the nortenergy polycrubs have, at last calculation, recycled and diverted around 30 kilometres of pipe from landfill.
In Shetland there are around 1.2 acres ‘under cover of polycrub’ – a figure which continues to grow and equates to a lot of fruit and veg being grown locally, saving food miles.
“Our hope certainly is that we will end up with at least as much coverage between the Butt of Lewis and Barra,” added Drew.
Jayne Macdonald of AMK added: “We were fascinated when we saw the first polycrub in Lewis and are keen to be involved.
“Now our guys are trained in assembling kits and in erection, we are confident we can provide an excellent service anywhere in the islands.”
The polycrub builders at AMK have constructed a ‘show polycrub’ on Lewis so that potential customers can see just how robust the structures really are.
And anyone interested in viewing the show polycrub can contact AMK to arrange a visit.
Martin Adil-Smith, who has a croft in Seaview, Knockaird, is looking forward to making use of his polycrub in north Lewis, one of the windiest places in Britain, and regards the grant-aided polycrubs as vital to his plans.
“The polycrub is an essential part of croft diversification and offers a substantial horticultural opportunity to all,” he said.
As such the polycrubs have now been awarded Crofting Agricultural Grant Scheme (CAGS) grants, with a support rate of 60% on material and labour, and 80% for crofters under 41.
“That Rural Payments have acknowledged the unmitigated benefit that the polycrub brings to crofters is testament to the fortitude and diligence of both nortenergy and Rob Black at SAC Consulting who successfully navigated the CAGS progress on our behalf,” Martin added.