Green building blocked

A Green Party bid to make more new buildings in the City environmentally friendly has been rejected.

Councillor Steve Burgess proposed changing planning rules to ensure new medium-sized buildings meet tighter eco-standards, including on climate pollution and waste [1].  Officials said that applying the standards to more planning applications would put additional pressure on hard-worked staff and the move failed to find support among Councillors from the other Parties [2].

Councillor Steve Burgess said;

“I’m concerned the other parties don’t see it as a priority that more of the buildings going up in Edinburgh are eco-friendly.

“While I understand that applying tighter standards to more buildings would put additional pressure on staff, we can’t tell future generations, sorry it was too difficult to stop climate change.

“Elsewhere in the UK Councils make all of their new buildings meet tighter environmental standards but Edinburgh is now falling short of even the weaker standards set by the Scottish Government [3].

“One of the criticisms from developers is that environmental standards are different across the country, which makes it confusing for them. The Administration is not helping matters by failing to keep in line with standards being recommended by the Scottish Government.”

Greens point out that pollution from energy used for heating and lighting is one of the main causes of climate change pollution and called on the Council to get much more serious about reducing it. They said the LibDem Administration was failing to live up to its election promise to make Edinburgh an environmentally sustainable city and so far the other parties were ‘letting them get away with it’.

Council figures show that in the six years, between 2001-2007, 95 non-domestic buildings had to meet the Edinburgh Standards for Sustainable Building but 33, a quarter of all developments, did not have to meet these standards [2].


[1] Edinburgh Standards for Sustainable Building were introduced in May 2007 and require new buildings to meet standards in 6 areas including reducing climate-changing pollution, on-site renewable energy and recycling. See

[2] The Planning Committee was reviewing the Edinburgh Standards for Sustainable Building on 7 August. See

[3] The Edinburgh Standards for Sustainable Building (ESSB) currently only apply to buildings over 1000sq. m. Scottish Planning Policy SPP6 recommended the threshold should apply to buildings over 500sq m.