• Recycling centres to reopen from Monday, 1 June, with changes in place to protect people’s safety
  • Public encouraged to only visit centres if it’s necessary, and to book ahead
  • Special uplifts will also resume from Monday

Edinburgh’s Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) will reopen from Monday (1 June), with changes in place to ensure the safety of staff and the public.

To minimise crowding and help staff and customers to maintain physical distancing, centres will reopen on an appointment-only basis. HWRCs are expected to be extremely busy at the beginning so we’re encouraging the public only to visit if necessary and if waste can’t be stored safely at home.

Time slots can be booked online from tomorrow afternoon though will be limited to one per household for the first two weeks of reopening. Anyone without an appointment will not be permitted to enter recycling centres. Full details of restrictions at each of the city’s three sites will be available online.

Special uplifts will also resume on Monday, 1 June, and we’ll be accepting online bookings for the collection of bulky items from Thursday, 28 May, with a maximum of five items per household.

Both services were suspended in March due to staff shortages and physical distancing guidance, as well as Scottish Government advice against non-essential journeys. However, in light of changes to guidance from the Scottish Government we will be able to reopen HWRCs at Seafield, Sighthill and Craigmillar. With enough crew members now in place we will be able to resume special uplifts too.

Council Leader Adam McVey said:

“We’ve been working extremely hard to deliver services as close to normally as possible and, as of Monday, HWRCs will be reopening, on an appointment-only basis. However, it’s likely recycling centres will be extremely busy at the beginning, so please only visit if you are unable to continue storing your waste safely at home and ensure you book an arrival slot if you are coming.

“It’s essential that we look after the health of all those who work in and visit our HWRCs, and there will be changes to the way they operate for the foreseeable future to allow us to do this. I’m grateful to residents for their patience as we have adjusted to this unprecedented situation, and I’d like to thank them for holding on to any bulky items, and those who continue to do so during the initial busy period.”

Depute Leader Cammy Day said:

“I’m pleased that, following Scottish Government guidance and as changes to allow crews to maintain physical distancing have bedded in, we’ve been able to reintroduce these services while ensuring the safety of our staff.

“It’s thanks to the efforts of our waste team that we have been able to resume this service, albeit on a reduced basis, and I hope that residents join me in recognising the commitment they’ve made to keeping the city moving during this difficult time. Please help us to protect workers’ safety, and your own, by following our guidance and only visiting HWRCs if it is absolutely necessary.”

A dedicated online booking system for HWRCs will be available on the Council website from tomorrow afternoon though it won’t be possible to book visits over the phone as our contact centre continue to focus on emergency calls. During the initial period only cars will be permitted on-site, no vans or trailers, and staff will not be able to help unload vehicles so please only bring what you can carry.

We expect there to be queueing at each HWRC upon reopening and there will be traffic management in place, including at Seafield, where we will be temporarily reverting to the old entrance on Fillyside Road for the first three weeks.

The special uplift service is expected to be busy during the first weeks, so there may be a wait for collections – check the council website for updates.

Residents can book an uplift on the Council website though not currently over the phone while phone lines are kept free so contact centre staff can deal with emergency calls. Special uplifts are charged at £5 per item and details of what we can and can’t collect are available online.

We also reintroduced garden waste collections from 12 May after they were suspended in April, while glass recycling collections, which were suspended in March, recommenced from 28 April.

Further information on changes to bin collections and other services can be found on the Council website.

Newly self-employed workers in Edinburgh facing financial hardship because of coronavirus can now apply for help.

Managed by local authorities as part of a package of measures to support businesses, applications for the Newly Self Employed Hardship Fund have opened today (Thursday 30 April).

In Edinburgh, those who are eligible are being encouraged to apply online for a one-off grant of £2,000. Payments will start being made in early May to successful applicants who have provided all necessary information.

Council Leader Adam McVey said: “This money will come as welcome news to self-employed workers who haven’t been able to access support through other schemes. This hardship fund is for them, providing grants worth £2,000 to support their important work.

“There are many challenges facing our business community and we know what a difficult time this is. The measures we’ve implemented and supported as a Council have already provided close to £60m in support grants to help businesses stay afloat and millions more in non-domestic rates relief. The newly self-employed fund will help us to step up this work even more.”

Applications should only be made once and we will get in touch within 10 working days.

Depute Leader Cammy Day added: “This money will protect newly self-employed workers from falling through the net and instead provide them with critical funding to keep them in business.

“I’m pleased that the fund is now available to the people of Edinburgh and our officers will be working hard to turn applications around as quickly as possible over the coming weeks.”

To be eligible for the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund, workers must have started self-employment on or after 6 April 2019 and resident within this local authority area. Applications must meet all of the criteria detailed on our website in order to be considered.

Any self-employed workers who started trading before the 6 April 2019 are not eligible to apply for this scheme, but can find details of alternative support on the UK government website.

Further information on the support we have available to businesses and workers during the outbreak can be found on the City of Edinburgh Council website.

The City of Edinburgh Council is set to become one of the first local authorities in the UK to introduce emergency measures to help pedestrians and cyclists to travel safely while observing physical distancing guidance.
We have been working closely with Transport Scotland and Sustrans to develop an approach to re-designating road space. This will benefit from support from a £10m fund to help local authorities introduce temporary active travel solutions, announced by the Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson on Tuesday (28 April).

Over the coming weeks we’ll be implementing several changes to help prioritise walking and cycling. Immediate actions will tackle areas highlighted as pinch points for pedestrians and cyclists and will include some road lane closures and the implementation of temporary cycle lanes. There has been significant, understandable public demand for action to help facilitate safe daily exercise and the movement of essential workers.

In the medium term, as lockdown measures continue and are eventually eased, we will develop a citywide approach to more significant changes, such as expanded cycle lanes and the creation of bus gates. Longer term, it is proposed that progress on more permanent schemes under the Active Travel Programme is brought forward.

Council Leader Adam McVey said:

“The way we move around the city has changed significantly over recent weeks and it’s clear that we need to respond to this. We’ve been working closely with the Scottish Government to develop measures to help pedestrians and cyclists travel safely while remaining socially distant, so we’re delighted that Transport Scotland has confirmed funding to support local authorities to meet this challenge.

“Our commitment to encouraging and facilitating safer, more convenient walking and cycling in Edinburgh remains as strong as ever. We want to ensure that our city can support essential journeys and let local people access their local open spaces by creating safe, accessible routes to do so.”

Depute Leader Cammy Day said:

“As we plan for the city’s recovery, we must consider ways in which we can help people make daily journeys while limiting the potential impact of coronavirus, and maintaining physical distancing is essential to this.

“We’re going to be making changes around the city over the coming weeks to achieve this, as well as progressing plans to further improve infrastructure as we emerge from the crisis.”

Immediate measures will include the closure of the following roads:

  • Silverknowes Road (implemented by Thursday, 30 April)
  • Braid Road (implemented by Sunday, 3 May)
  • Links Gardens (implemented by Sunday, 3 May)

These locations have been identified in close dialogue with relevant Council services and Police Scotland who have expressed concerns in each area. Further emergency measures are being investigated for implementation in the weeks beginning 4 May and 11 May and these will be communicated as soon as possible.

We will continue to quickly address other ‘pinch points’ and local issues, making use of Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders where necessary, which allow urgent amendments to be made to road layouts to help create more space for people on foot or bike.

The next steps will see a report brought to the Policy and Sustainability Committee in May outlining a citywide plan for more significant changes to the road network to create additional space for walking and cycling. Alongside this, we will be investigating early delivery of some of our more ambitious active travel projects which will help people to make essential journeys safely and quickly as we move towards a new normal.

Further information on the Council’s response to the coronavirus outbreak is available online.

27 February – Waverley Court

On Thursday 27 February, with the great support of Edinburgh Council Procurement team, the Edinburgh Fair Trade City Steering Group are running an event at Waverley Court 5-7pm, of interest to anyone wishing to support and promote fair trade. We have a cocoa producer, Leocadie Voho, CAPEDIG Fairtrade cocoa cooperative, from Cote d’Ivoire speaking on this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight theme, “She Deserves”, and will also have presentations from Bala Sport, Koolskools and Pacari Chocolate.

The approximate timing is:
– 5pm: Formal opening,
– 5.05-5.25: Leocadie Voho, cocoa producer presentation
– 5.30-5.50: Bala Sport presentation
– 5.55-6.15: Koolskools presentation
– 6.20: Pacari chocolate presentation

Free Fairtrade refreshments will be available (bring your own sustainable mug if you have one!) and there will be a small Fairtrade market with goods from:
– Bala Sport (sports balls)
– Hadeel (Palestinian crafts)
– Koolskools (uniforms)
– One World Shop
– Pacari Chocolate
– Yho Yho (backpacks)
– Scotmid
– Rafiki Coffee

Plus an information stall with a range of fair trade information and the launch of the Edinburgh Fairtrade City Steering Group informational leaflet.

Please register here so that we can ensure a badge is prepared for you.

29 February – Augustine United Church, George IV Bridge

On Saturday 29 February we are very grateful to have the Lord Provost formally open our Fairtrade Fortnight Flagship event, which we are organising in conjunction with the Fairtrade Foundation on the “She Deserves” theme. The event will commence at 11am, and after the Lord Provost’s opening we will have brief speeches from:

-Leocadie Voho, cocoa producer, CAPEDIG Fairtrade cocoa cooperative (Côte d’Ivoire).
– Adjoa Andoh, actress, director and patron of the Fairtrade Foundation.
– Jackie Kay CBE, poet, novelist, Scots Makar.
– Followed by a panel discussion including the above plus
– Twimukye Macline Mushaka, Senior Fieldwork Development Officer, the Poverty Alliance.
– Amy Oroko, Sustainability Manager, Matthew Algie Coffee.
– Lesley Orr, historian and theologian at the University of Edinburgh, activist for gender and social justice.

After the talks, there will be a chance for you to meet the panellists and find out more about Fairtrade and the Edinburgh Fairtrade City Steering Group over chocolate refreshments and Fairtrade tea/coffee.

This event is part of the Fairtrade Fortnight “She Deserves” campaign that aims to highlight the stories of the women farmers behind the £4 billion UK chocolate industry who are, against the odds, becoming role models and successful businesswomen in their local communities in West Africa.

Our guest speaker from Côte d’Ivoire, Leocadie Voho, will tell us about her journey to becoming a leader in her community and the difference that Fairtrade has made. Leocadie’s talk will be set against a broader discussion on gender equality across all sectors of society, with our inspirational panellists discussing the importance of ensuring women’s stories are told, their voices heard and their experiences understood.

The panel will be chaired by Rachel Farey (Business Manager at the One World Shop and Vice-Chair of the Scottish Fair Trade Forum).

The hard work and dedication of modern apprentices at the City of Edinburgh Council was recognised this week as 18 young people graduated and were given an industry award. Among the graduates were three previous participants of Edinburgh Project SEARCH, the highly successful programme for young people with a disability.

This year apprentices came from a range of council services and for the first time we had graduates from facilities and housing. These services found the programme so successful that they are looking forward to taking on more apprentices next year.

At the ceremony, Cllr Eleanor Bird, Young People’s Champion, set the scene by speaking about the Council’s ongoing commitment to offer apprenticeships, thereby ensuring workforce development for the future.

She said: “It was a real privilege to hand out the certificates to our graduates this week. As a council, we need to lead by example by offering modern apprenticeships that develop our young workforce and nurture our rising stars.

“All of our graduates are to be commended for meeting the significant demands that come with the role, juggling paid work and on-the-job training as well as study towards an accredited qualification at industry-recognised standard.

“Just this week at our Education, Children and Families Committee, we discussed a paper on Edinburgh Learns – Pathways to Develop our Young Workforce, which shares the vision of the Edinburgh Guarantee that every young person in this city will go onto a positive destination – the choice of a job, training or further education opportunity. And this is it in action.”

At the event apprentice Hannah Layden spoke about her experience completing her housing apprenticeship and her progression to a permanent post as a Housing Assistant. She said: “The Modern Apprenticeship programme has been amazing for me. I have learned so much over two years and have had wonderful support from my team, mentors and the Modern Apprenticeship team. They helped me through the whole process of gaining my qualification, I couldn’t have done it without them. It was an amazing opportunity. I was really happy to get a job at the end of it.”

Connor Burt, who qualified in Facilities Services, said: “It has been memorable for me. The two years went really quickly and I have learned so much working with Facilities. Through my experience in the apprenticeship programme I was able to secure a full time position as a Facilities Technician. It was a great feeling to get my qualification sooner than I thought.”

Our Chief Executive Andrew Kerr also attended and gave a personal account of his appreciation for the apprenticeship programme and the excellent apprentices that work in his office.

The Royal High School Fiddle Group played as the guests settled in their seats and Harris Wilson, a piper from Boroughmuir High School, helped to make the event special by piping the apprentices into the European Room to receive their awards.

The City of Edinburgh Council is set to keep the city moving throughout wintry conditions forecast this week.

With freezing temperatures, snow and ice expected, plans are underway to minimise any resulting disruption.

Temporary traffic management measures, such as traffic signals, in place for inactive road and pavement works will be removed by the Council and public utility companies where possible, allowing the smoother flow of traffic.

Gritting teams are also out night and day treating and monitoring priority routes, while the Council’s severe winter weather tactical response team are on standby should a weather emergency strike.

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “Our priority is to keep the city moving whatever the weather, and our team has already been out around the clock ensuring roads, pavements and cycle paths are gritted and safe to travel on.

“In light of the latest forecasts we’re making arrangements to clear routes of obstructions where possible, opening up the network and making it easier for the public to get about during the cold spell.”

The 939 miles of roads plus additional pavements and cycle routes in Edinburgh are treated on a priority basis, with important principal roads, bus routes and roads and pavements leading to hospitals, care homes, schools and fire stations amongst those gritted first.

The public can find out about priority road, cycle path and pavement gritting routes by visiting the Council website’s live winter weather pages which include an interactive map so that residents can locate their nearest salt bin.

If and when severe weather strikes, the Council will use its social media channels, website and local radio stations to keep residents updated on any impact on services.

Edinburgh’s 50th conservation area, Restalrig, was announced on Monday (11 December 2017) by the City of Edinburgh Council.

Approval was given after a report was considered by the Planning Committee, following a public consultation in the local area.

Restalrig lies to the north east of the city and the boundary of the conservation area includes St Margaret’s Parish Church, graveyard and surrounding buildings at the entrance to Restalrig Road South from Restalrig Avenue.

Restalrig conservation area is historically significant as a result of its development around St Margaret’s Parish Church.
Within the area there are other listed buildings at 62 Restalrig Road South and The Deanery Wall. There is also a scheduled monument, St Triduana’s Aisle, Chapel and Well house. These buildings reflect the historical and architectural significance of the area and its development as a centre of religious activities.

Cllr Neil Gardiner, Planning Convener, said: “I would like to thank all those who showed an interest in Restalrig and filled out our survey. The results helped us make today’s decision as the comments were almost unanimous in expressing support for the area being given conservation status.

“Conservation areas have special architectural or historic interest and we protect them by putting in place extra rules to control building work. The use of natural materials in several of the listed buildings in the area, such as rubble stone, creates a sense of place and are integral to its character.”

See our map of conservation areas.

Further information

The village of Restalrig developed around the ancient parish church of St Margaret (formerly Restalrig Parish Church). The name Restalrig is a 15th century variant on the name Lestalric, recorded from the late 12th century. The area was part of a medieval estate owned by the De Lestalrics.

St Margaret’s Church has its origins in the 12th century and formed the nucleus of the village. The original parish incorporated South Leith.

Around 275 permanent housing association and council homes are to be provided to homeless people living in Edinburgh. This is in addition to over a thousand social lets already provided to homeless people each year.

Reducing homelessness remains a key priority for social landlords across the city and these additional properties are clear evidence of this continued support.

The extra properties are being provided through the EdIndex Partnership, which is made up of representatives from the City of Edinburgh Council and 19 partner registered social landlords. The homes will be provided in the 18-month period from April 2018 to September 2019.

If required, a range of supports including the Housing First model will be piloted in partnership with third sector providers and Social Bite to assist tenants to remain in their homes.

Council Leader, Adam McVey, said: “Last month, we announced the creation of a cross party homelessness task force to address the unprecedented pressures facing our services, with demand for both permanent and temporary accommodation exceeding supply.
“Today’s announcement of an additional 275 permanent homes is a valuable addition to the work already being done with our partners across the city offering an extensive range of services to people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, from support and advice on housing options, to assessment services and permanent and temporary accommodation.

“Homelessness prevention is obviously a key priority and along with the Council, housing association landlords already provide housing for a high proportion of homeless households in Edinburgh as well supporting households with other needs for housing due to mobility difficulties and overcrowding.

“In recognition of the shortage of affordable housing in Edinburgh we have also committed to building 20,000 new affordable homes in the city in the next 10 years.”

Josh Littlejohn MBE, co-founder of Social Bite, said: “I would like to thank EdIndex for their bold leadership in tackling this issue. I would also like to thank the City of Edinburgh Council leadership Adam McVey and Cammy Day for having such a strong vision for Edinburgh’s most vulnerable people.

“A significant amount of the money raised by Sleep in the Park will be invested to make sure that this commitment to housing is paired with fantastic support.

“We’ll work with a range of Scottish charities and leading minds in housing and homelessness to help map out the support people will require to get back on their feet. We will also work hand in hand with the Scottish Government action group to make sure our approach is joined up with the ongoing work to tackle homelessness.”

Further information

The EdIndex Partnership has operated a common housing register in Edinburgh since 2003. People looking for homes only have to complete a single application form to register for housing with the Council and 19 partner housing associations in the city.

The majority of homes available to rent are advertised through Key to Choice. Available homes are advertised weekly and people indicate homes that they wish to be considered for.

The Edindex Partnership operates through a management board made up of the Council and representatives from six housing association partner landlords. The Board manages the successful operation of the register and also the strategic approach to housing allocations and homelessness.

Strategic charging zones for electric vehicles could be rolled out across the Capital as part of Edinburgh’s first Electric Vehicle Action Plan published this month [December].

The innovative zonal approach to charging hubs – believed to be the first of their kind in Scotland – are one of five key strategic objectives in the Council’s Action Plan, which will be considered by members of the Transport and Environment Committee on 7 December 2017. Electric vehicles are a key priority in the Council’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan, which aims to reduce carbon emissions across the city.

Electric vehicle uptake is rising rapidly across the UK and Edinburgh has more than 23% of all licensed electric vehicles in Scotland.

In 2011, there were only nine electric vehicles in the Capital, compared with 489 by June 2017. Charging points also increased from eight in 2013 to 89 by October 2017, of which 58 are publicly available.

Compared to conventional cars, electric vehicles emit substantially fewer carbon emissions. The vehicles are also cleaner with far fewer exhaust emissions, meaning they deliver direct air quality improvements.

In September 2017, the Scottish Government announced a major expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure across Scotland by 2022, coupled with a phasing out of all new fossil fuel vehicles by 2032.

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “It’s very encouraging how many Edinburgh residents and organisations are demonstrating their commitment to both reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality in the city by opting for electric vehicles over fossil-fuelled ones. This new Action Plan will help the Council and our partners maximise the benefits and opportunities of this cleaner, greener option. It will provide many more opportunities for residents and visitors to charge their cars easily and we hope this will let even more people think of switching to an electric car.

“Electric vehicles are only part of the solution to worsening air quality, however, alongside the other key elements of our wider sustainable transport agenda for the Capital such as promoting use of public transport and active travel like walking and cycling.”

Edinburgh’s Electric Vehicle Action Plan refers to electric vehicles in a collective sense to include full battery electric, plug in hybrid and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles. This is the first such programme for the city for the next 12-18 months and has five strategic objectives:

– developing strategic electric vehicle charging hubs
– taking a co-ordinated approach across the Council;
– collaborating with partners;
– trialling integrated smart grid charging systems; and
– encouraging wider e-mobility opportunities

The Plan proposes three strategic charging zones: Zone 1 (City Centre), which would focus on rapid charging points both on and off-street and looking at reserving use of some for the sole use of taxis, car club vehicles and public sector fleets; Zone 2 (Residential area), prioritising charging infrastructure in high density areas (eg tenements) and encouraging electric car club vehicles; and Zone 3 (Peripheral area), targeting Park and Ride sites and creating a strategic charging infrastructure ring around the periphery of the city.

In developing infrastructure across these zones, there are some issues and complexities in installing the appropriate chargers. A key action therefore, is the development of a strategic Business Case for EVs that will look at the following issues across the three zones:
• the traffic movements;
• the number of potential charging points to meet future demand;
• the best location for these;
• the type of chargers required;
• any challenges in installing the infrastructure; and
• the level of investment needed and potential revenue streams.

Plans to tackle the expected increase in pupil numbers in the west and south west of Edinburgh have been drawn up by the City of Edinburgh Council.

A review of all schools across the city is taking place with the first phase focusing on the west and south west where the Council expects the largest increase in school pupils. In addition, several of the schools need major improvement works.

Projections show that by 2026 there could be an extra 1,300 primary and secondary pupils in west Edinburgh, where 4,000 new homes are proposed. The south west of the city could see over 200 new pupils with 700 homes set to be delivered.

A survey of Currie High School has shown that the building will need replaced in the coming years and both Balerno High School and Wester Hailes Education Centre need major improvement works.

The key proposals are:
• to build two new high schools – a South West Edinburgh High School on a new site which will replace Currie High School and Wester Hailes Education Centre and a new West Edinburgh High School
• to refurbish and expand Balerno High School
• to build a new primary school – Maybury Primary School

The proposals, and associated catchment changes, would affect 13 primary schools and seven high schools.

Cllr Ian Perry, Convener of Education, Children and Families at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “With Edinburgh being such a thriving and successful city, more and more people are coming to live here so we need to build the extra homes. This will obviously have a big impact on our schools with extra pupils which they will struggle to cope with.

“We need to ensure we can provide places for these additional children and that is why we are reviewing school provision across the whole city. This strategic approach means Edinburgh will be well-placed to meet the future challenges our schools face.

“So, we have to get this right to ensure what we do now will serve our school communities for the next 30 to 40 years as these additional children come through our education system. It’s not about looking at just the next few years but planning ahead for future generations.”

Cllr Alison Dickie, Vice Convener, of Education, Children and Families, at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “The aim of publishing these proposals is to gauge the views of parents and their school communities. It’s so important we hear their voices – especially if they have any alternative proposals we could consider.

“The consultation over the coming months is an integral part of the review process however I must stress these proposals cannot be implemented without a statutory consultation process which would be the next step.

“It’s important to remember that no decisions have been made so I would urge anyone who has views on the plans to feed back their comments so it can help shape any future statutory consultation.”

The Council will be holding events between 9 January 2018 and 9 February 2018 at all the affected schools. These events will be organised through the Parent Councils and will allow invited focus groups to discuss the proposals with Council officers.

In March 2018, the Education, Children and Families Committee will be provided with an update on the discussions that have taken place and recommendations about what should happen next.

Full details of the proposals can be found on the Council website.