Councillor report

Green councillors’ report for Feb 2024

19 January to 23 February 2024


from Alys Mumford and Ben Parker (Green group Co-Conveners)

February has been dominated by the Council Budget which saw Labour team up with the Tories and Lib Dems again to carve up money needed for the city. This year, though, Greens were also successful in winning significant wins in the budget (and ultimately abstained on the final vote). The Council will now have a fully resourced nature and biodiversity team, new equipment for trees and maintenance, a night-time coordinator, and energy efficiency measures. We also successfully lobbied for the administration to ensure that planned cuts to education were put off not just for one year, but to put mitigating measures in place so they wouldn’t appear in future plans for the council. 

While the budget process was more transparent this year, after we successfully changed the Council Standing Orders to build more time into the schedule, there were still significant problems. There was no public consultation, and trade union representatives said it was almost impossible to find out what was going on. There were also no equality impact assessments done for any of the proposals in the budget – something we raised consistently throughout the process – so Councillors were making decisions without all the information about the impact they might have. We successfully persuaded Labour to include commitments to a post-budget debrief which includes trade unions, and also that a retrospective equality impact assessment should be done, so we can mitigate any unfair impacts of decisions on particular groups.

You can read our budget here, and a summary thread on Twitter here.

Our next Monthly Member-Councillor Forum is on Monday 4th March, from 7.30-8.30 PM online. All members are welcome to this informal space to discuss what’s been going on in the Council, and anything else that comes up!

Councillor highlights from the month

Asked to pick 1 highlight from the month, our Councillors said:

Alys Mumford

As the group’s finance lead, Alys has led on creation of the budget and negotiation with other groups. She also successfully won double yellows on some of the streets in Portobello which were struggling to stick to the pavement parking ban!

Ben Parker

Ben worked closely with Council officers to identify a number of key staffing posts / budget asks in climate and nature which would massively increase the ability of the Council to take forward climate and nature projects next year. He then successfully lobbied the Labour administration to include these in the Council budget which passed in February.

Susan Rae

Susan has continued her support for £eith Chooses and is excited that results from the public voting process will be announced soon.

Jule Bandel

Jule successfully passed an amendment at Transport and Environment Committee to remove the recommendation of the Roseburn path route and present both route options equally in the consultation on a future tram extension until further scoping work is done to understand the broader impacts on nature and active travel.

Kayleigh O’Neill

At the last education committee meeting, Kayleigh successfully brought lots of amendments about equality and inclusion in education – including for LGBTQ young people, and unaccompanied migrant children.

Steve Burgess

Steve won full council approval for an investigation by the newly re-established Local Access Forum into the, possibly illegal, closure by Historic Environment Scotland of the Radical Road, public right of way, in Holyrood Park.    

Claire Miller

Claire has been on leave during February after having surgery in late January, but if Green Councillor WhatsApp traffic is anything to go by, her energy levels seem to be increasing and she hopes to be back at work in March.

Alex Staniforth

Alex successfully put forward an amendment to the consultation on the community council scheme which ensured term limits for office bearers, gender balancing methods, increased training for community councillors and resources for inclusion will be included in the second round of consultation.

Chas Booth

At Planning Committee, Chas has pushed for greater cooperation between planning and licensing officers in the council, in order to ensure that short-term lets are effectively regulated.

Dan Heap

At GRBV, Dan raised concerns about more than 1/3 of the capital budget being invested in schemes that are neutral or negative for climate, and background checks not being conducted on care workers, the latter being picked-up in the press

Committee activity and other things to look out for in the coming month

Policy and Sustainability

The upcoming Policy & Sustainability meeting will include papers on Gaelic education, a response to our Pride Month motion, and updates on the feasibility study for a drug consumption facility for Edinburgh. 

Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work

Ben is bringing a motion to committee looking at opportunities for nature on Housing land – currently, projects focused on biodiversity have looked at Council’s parks land and Ben would like to focus efforts on increasing access to nature across the whole of the Council estate, in line with a climate justice approach.


Following Steve’s motion in December, Pensions Committee are expecting a report into the transition of investments from fossil fuels into low-carbon companies at their March meeting.

Health & Social Care

The Integration Joint Board will meet in March to set the health & social care budget, which is facing a £70m funding gap, and so there will be extremely difficult decisions to be made and highly likely cuts to social care services provided or commissioned by the council.