Councillor report

Green Councillors’ report for Mar 2023

23 February to 23 March


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

CONGRATULATIONS to Chris Young and everyone in West Edinburgh for a brilliantly fought by-election. We hope to see you join as a Green Councillor soon!!

Committee highlights from the month

Councillor highlights from the month

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

Alys Mumford

“I had a great time meeting residents from the houses surrounding Mount Lodge Green who were working together with Edible Edinburgh to turn their locked drying green into a usable space complete with fruit trees, wild flowers and bird boxes.”

Ben Parker

“At Full Council in March I was able to highlight the excellent work of the #StopJackdaw campaign and ask the Council leader about his views on the council owned EICC hosting an event for the Scottish Energy Forum which included guests from Shell and BP. I’ll be following this up in the months to come (!)”

Alex Staniforth

“I got a motion passed unopposed at Full Council to assure that the Council as a whole will work on improving the budget process.”

Susan Rae

“Leith Chooses has been a focus this month with funding decisions made and an awards ceremony, attended by the Council Leader – I’ve also been busy arranging a Community Conversation Day in May with Napier University to discuss the importance of participatory budgeting.”

Chas Booth

“It’s been a busy month on planning committee, with a key test case being brought for planning permission for a short-term holiday let in the City Centre. I argued it should be refused and although we lost the decision by 6 votes to 5, I have since followed up the case and I’m hopeful the potential loss of housing will be given greater weight in future decisions.” Read Chas’ Twitter thread about it here. 

Kayleigh O’Neill

“My motion on Edinburgh’s monuments and commemoration passed unanimously at Full Council. This means the Council will now revisit the current process for how new statues and structures are decided upon in the city. We want to ensure that further options improve representation amongst commemorative structures erected in the city.”

Jule Bandel

“Despite councillors’ unanimous decision to approve a hearing for the proposed student accommodation at Eyre Place, the developer circumvented local democracy by submitting an appeal, robbing the community of a chance to present their case to councillors. In a last-ditch attempt to prevent the approval of the PBSA, I met with residents and submitted another updated objection.”

Dan Heap

“Despite initial opposition, Dan got a motion passed unanimously by Council to examine offering financial support to people looking after animals from Gorgie farm, and to commit to the farm being free to enter.”

Steve Burgess

“I brought a successful motion to Culture & Communities committee requesting that the Council facilitates a local consultation on turning the disused Prestonfield bowling green in Southside-Newington ward into a community food-growing garden.”

Claire Miller

“Several reports have been scrutinised by the Council re the Drumbrae Care Home as a result of work which I have been doing to bring this to light. The home is still closed, over a year has passed since its closure, but the issues are now being discussed in public and there will be democratic oversight of its future.”

Other committee activity and things to look out for in the coming month

Transport & Environment  – We’ll be getting updates at this month’s committee meeting on secure bike storage, air quality, bins in parks, and more!

Planning – Inspired by Cllr. Holly Bruce in Glasgow, Kayleigh will be bringing a motion to Council on making Edinburgh a Feminist City.

Health and Social Care – The EIJB is to set a budget in March, but it’s in the context of there being no palatable cost savings which can be made through ‘efficiencies’ and health & social care services being stretched to breaking point. There may be a budget gap which needs to be filled during the year and it’s unclear how this will be managed.

Pensions – This month’s Pensions committee will be considering ‘Project Forth’, the merger with Falkirk pensions fund which may have implications for the continued democratic oversight of Lothian Pension Fund.

Equalities – We’ll be having a series of workshops on access and inclusion for elected members soon – this is off the back of a motion by Mel Main in the previous Council and will hopefully lead to some changes!