Council Leader's Report May 2019

Latest news from Council Leader Adam McVey.

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Edinburgh’s just braw!

A whopping 95% of the 5,170 residents from all over the city who were interviewed as part of the Edinburgh People Survey said they were satisfied with Edinburgh as a place to live. A significant majority - two thirds - think the Council is doing a good job of running the city (compared to just 13% who disagree) and 73% think the area they live in is well managed (compared to just 10% who disagree).

The survey also found overwhelming agreement among respondents that the city is a welcoming, accessible and diverse place where people feel safe and included. Those surveyed praised Edinburgh’s parks and greenspaces, the ease of travelling by public transport to and through the city centre and the quality of the library service citywide.

This exercise is hugely valuable to us as we plan ahead for future years, ensuring we’re investing our resources where they’re most needed. Areas flagged up in the survey as being in need of extra attention include waste collection and road maintenance, both of which we’re making real progress in addressing.

Across the board, we’ll gather the findings of the survey to drive forward our performance so that we’re delivering the best possible services for this great city and the people who call it home.

Carbon neutral by 2030

Cities and towns all over the world are recognising the horrifying scale of the climate change challenge facing us all. We have to act and act fast. So, last week we threw down the gauntlet by setting an ambitious target of Edinburgh becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

To be a success, we need this bold pledge to be adopted by everyone in the city – public, private and third sector organisations. If we all work together with this common goal we can achieve a zero-carbon city by 2030 – or, as an absolute back-stop, 2037.

We’re already making great strides in cutting emissions in the Capital, with our pioneering electric vehicle strategy moving on apace and the recent launch of works on the Saughton Park micro-hydro scheme – together with the transport policies I described above.

I know we can achieve great things if we take an ambitious but realistic approach – we owe it to future generations to get it right.

Our carbon ambitions in action

This month we demonstrated our commitment to creating a sustainable, connected and people-friendly city, as we moved forward with not one but three bold strategies to improve liveability and accessibility in Edinburgh – Edinburgh City Centre Transformation (ECCT), Low Emission Zones (LEZ) and the City Mobility Plan.

Setting the scene for our ambitious vision was our first Open Streets event (on 5 May), when several streets in the Old Town were closed to traffic and opened up to the public for strolling, cycling and generally enjoying our beautiful built heritage. It was fantastic to see so many people turn out to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, and I look forward to many more residents and visitors joining us to reclaim the streets as this monthly event evolves.

Now we want to hear your thoughts on our ambitions for a transformed Edinburgh, as consultations on ECCT and LEZ get under way. We’ve proposed some major changes to the way we use the city, and we want to make sure we bring the public along with us. Take a look at our plans and have your say!

Shaping our services in Gracemount

With the area set to benefit from £50m investment towards a new special school, primary schools and nursery in the coming years, it makes sense for us to review the services we deliver in Gracemount and how people feel about them.

My Gracemount is an exciting new approach to community engagement where we’ll be asking residents to help us build a more complete picture of how and where we can make the most efficient use of our buildings in their area – helping us to prioritise spending on the services that matter most to them.

If we want to find solutions which genuinely meet a community’s future needs, then we need to ask the people who know it best – the people who live and work there – to shape the decisions that are made about their area.

Find out more about the project and tell us what you think.

Getting ready for tram construction

Coordinated works began earlier this week to prepare for the start of construction of the new section of tramway from York Place to Newhaven. Our contractors are carrying out ground and site investigation work in several locations along and around the planned route to see how deep the bedrock is, allowing them to finalise designs and plans for putting the infrastructure in place.

Simultaneously the Council’s roads team is resurfacing and improving the road network surrounding the new route to make sure it’s in good condition for when traffic diversions come into effect.

Our joined-up approach and close collaboration between the tram project team, tram contractors and our own roads team are clear signs of ‘lessons learned’ and progress from the last project – a very encouraging start.

Have your say on future ‘Prospects’

The Edinburgh Poverty Commission is progressing well and is on track to publish its interim recommendations over the summer. 

The commissioners met earlier this week with representatives from the Capital City Partnership and City Region Deal as part of their consultation on ‘Prospects’ – focusing on the life chances and opportunities for people living in poverty in Edinburgh.

The Commission has also just published, and is seeking feedback on, the emerging findings from its first consultation on ‘Pockets’, which focused on the pressures that keep incomes low and living costs high in Edinburgh.

If you or your family has been afffected by poverty or if you work or have experience in this field, I'd encourage you to give the commission your views

We all need good Neighbourhood Networks

Community groups, voluntary sector organisations and local councillors have come together across the city this month for the inaugural meetings of our new Neighbourhood Networks.

Over the past year, the Edinburgh Partnership has been looking at how we organise ourselves in a more open and efficient manner and I firmly believe our newly-agreed structure will help us do just that.

In total, 13 Neighbourhood Networks are being set up with membership made up of community councils and other community groups in the area, such as residents’ organisations and parent councils, together with councillors and voluntary groups. The final make-up of the membership and how it will operate will be for each network to decide.

This is an exciting time for the city and gives us a real opportunity to do things differently. Find out more about community planning, the arrangements in your area and how you can get involved


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