Councillor report

Green Councillors’ report for February 2022

It’s Council budget setting time this month and we have proposed a ‘Green Group budget for Climate and Social Justice’.

Only the SNP/Labour coalition budget will secure enough votes to pass but Green councillors have been lobbying the administration to prioritise finding for action on the Climate Emergency and helping those most in need with the current cost of living crisis.

So in Finance, Alex Staniforth has spent considerable time and effort into working with council officers to put together the Green Group budget.

In Education, Mary Campbell has been pushing to fully explore the options for the secondary Gaelic Medium Education school, which included drafting an amendment calling for studying options with the Scottish Government. This didn’t end up being agreed, as a joint amendment was agreed calling for more consultation and further details coming to committee in March.

In the Transport portfolio, Claire Miller has been contributing to cross-party work to specify a new cycle hire scheme after the loss of the Just Eat Bikes in 2021. She has been prioritising inclusion and accessibility as well as a long-term, sustainable funding model for a bike hire scheme which would be integrated with other forms of transport for the greatest benefit to residents.

Additionally in the transport portfolio, Claire welcomed the start of construction of the “CCWEL” (City Centre West-East Link) cycle path which will provide a segregated and safe route to travel by bike across the city centre and which has been in the making for many years.

In Planning Committee, Chas Booth and Alex Staniforth supported a move to set the whole city as a short-term let control area, which means that any holiday lets will need to apply for planning permission.

At Policy & Strategy committee this month a report on Steve Burgess’ proposal for ‘Better School Milk’ was considered and a trial of dispensing milk at St. Andrew’s primary school was given the go-ahead as well as agreement for catering officers to talk to a supplier of organic milk that had made contact with the council via Twitter.

Ward activity

In Portobello/Craigmillar Mary has been working on supporting the work of community groups, meeting with Magdalene Community Centre Management Committee, Duddingston Primary Parent Council and Craigmillar Literacy Trust to discuss issues they are facing. She also finally got a persistent uncollected communal bin issue fully investigated, which ended up with being resolved so collections can take place.

In City Centre ward, Claire has been engaging with local residents in the Broughton and Calton Hill areas who are keen to influence the use and design of public space at Picardy Place when the tram works are completed. She attended a packed public meeting hosted by Better Broughton and met with council officers to agree community engagement processes and to share community views.

In Leith, Chas Booth has been working with council engineers and local residents to discuss ways to reopen the Rainbow Bridge at Lindsay Road, which is a popular walking and cycling route and is becoming iconic for the LGBT+ community, and which has been closed for safety reasons.

In Southside-Newington ward Steve Burgess won agreement from the Transport committee to support Preston Street school parents’ call for measures to mitigate traffic impacts around the school including from the forthcoming LEZ. Steve has also managed to get extra waste collection resources in place for a particularly hard pressed corner of the Southside.