Choices for a future generation: building a more sustainable Edinburgh

Choices for City Plan 2030

By 2030, Scotland’s Capital will be a sustainable city which supports everyone’s wellbeing.

Its residents will live in homes they can afford and won’t necessarily need to own a car to move around, while having every opportunity to share in their city’s success.
This is how Edinburgh could be in a decade’s time, if it responds fully to the twin challenges of a rising population and the climate emergency and in the manner set out in a radical plan for future growth.

Choices for City Plan 2030’, published today (Thursday, 16 January), will be discussed by the Council’s Planning Committee on 22 January. It sets out bold options for the public to consider and comment on about how we manage future development so Edinburgh can adapt and flourish during a time of major change.
The wide-ranging document sets out options for how to the make best use of land for future development. It also addresses how the Council could tackle short term lets through new planning policies, in addition to the new regulatory powers announced last week by the Scottish Government following Edinburgh’s campaign to seek national legislation.
Views will also be sought on planning for and building more affordable housing, managing the growth of student housing, and whether all new buildings and conversions should meet the highest zero carbon standards to help Edinburgh meet its ambitious target of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030.
In each section, the Council gives its preferred option for development as well as other alternatives.
If the ‘Choices’ document is agreed by committee, an eight-week public consultation will begin on 31 January. Residents and other interested groups will have every opportunity to have their say with 17 public sessions and six themed events for stakeholders planned. Copies of the document will be available in libraries and online, where feedback can be left via the Council’s consultation hub.
'Choices for City Plan 2030' links closing with the Council's ambitious draft City Mobility Plan, designed to improve sustainable transport over the next decade.
Cllr Neil Gardiner, Convener of the Planning Committee, said: “Edinburgh is a vibrant city, with a great quality of life. We have a beautiful green and historic environment, a thriving economy and numerous cultural attractions to be enjoyed. But, like many cities, we have increasing levels of poverty and health inequalities in our communities, rising housing costs and in some areas, traffic congestion and poor air quality. We also need to adapt our city to meet the needs of an aging population, address the increasing impact of climate change and ensure growth is sustainable.
“We need to have an open conversation with our residents, businesses and other stakeholders about how our city grows and changes to meet future needs where this growth takes place. City Plan 2030 is about us making the right choices now so that our residents can make reasonable and informed choices about how and where they live and how they get around in the future.
“We’re embarking on one of the most significant periods of transformation in a generation and we need to rethink the way we expand to accommodate our growing population. We’re already committed to building 20,000 affordable and low-cost homes by 2027 but the city needs more housing, with particular emphasis on affordable homes.
“The plan we finally publish will affect us all to some degree and it’s important that we hear from residents on this journey to accommodate future needs. The history of Edinburgh is about successfully adapting and evolving – now it’s our turn to come together to think about how we can plan most effectively for the future.”
Vice Convener, Cllr Maureen Child, added: “To meet our ambitious climate change targets, we must develop differently in the future and all houses and other buildings will need be much more energy efficient. We will work with our partners in the industry to ensure we make the best use of the limited space we have and, going forward, we’ll be asking developers to think more carefully about location, density and design. Where historically you may have built a supermarket on a brownfield site, we need to think of a mix of opportunities and uses for the site, including housing.
"Of course, connectivity is central to this and our Transport and Environment Committee today agreed an ambitious new draft City Mobility Plan, designed to improve sustainable transport over the next decade, while enabling the type of growth we’re aiming for in City Plan 2030.”
The proposed City Plan 2030 will be published by the Council for representation before being formally examined by the Scottish Government before the Council can consider adopting it.

Published: January 16th 2020