At nortenergy, we’re very proud of our polycrub. It’s a tremendously strong structure, and is built with a solid green ethos. The frame is made from recycled salmon pipe, which gives this material another new, long, useful purpose. During the last few years, several kilometres of waste salmon pipe have been diverted from landfill in Shetland.
The polycrub is covered using twin-wall polycarbonate. This is not the cheapest form of cover for a polytunnel/greenhouse structure, but we use it because we are confident that it has the longest lifespan of anything available.
Twin-wall polycarbonate is also certainly the most durable. Shetland has a well-merited reputation for wind, and we think the polycrub can withstand quite a bit of it! If the polycrub can stand up to our winter gales here in Shetland, it can survive anywhere.
The polycrub is a much more permanent structure than many of the kit-form polytunnels. For this reason we advise customers to check with the Local Planning Authority whether a chosen site will require planning permission or Agricultural Prior Notification.
Like anything around the home and garden, we recommend that polycrubs given an annual maintenance check.
The ‘polycrub’ concept began as a community project for the Northmavine Community Development Company, in Northmavine, Shetland. Folk in Northmavine were keen to grow produce that hadn’t travelled hundreds (often thousands) of miles to get to Shetland.
Growing produce locally also meant it would be fresh. Really fresh fruit and veg is not something we islanders at the very tip of Britain are very accustomed to!
Climate Challenge Fund funding meant that we were able to build 12 community polytunnels here in Northmavine – around 50 people in our community now grow fresh fruit and veg in a sheltered growing space.
Before the project started, we looked at lots of designs and put ideas together to create a polytunnel that could stand up to the Shetland weather. Some people in Shetland had already built sturdy growing spaces, so we tweaked these ideas and added some design details of our own to create a growing space that could withstand our harsh climate.
The community project created a lot of interest. Community groups and individuals wanted to recreate our design. We rebranded the structures as the ‘polycrub’ (‘poly’ from the polycarbonate covering we use and a ‘crub’ in Shetland is a sheltered growing area).
We now sell polycrubs in kit form in Shetland and beyond. All profits from sales are passed back to our parent company, Northmavine Community Development Company, to be used for the benefit of the Northmavine community.