Friday, September 19, 2014

September Leader's Report

Leader's ReportSeptember 2014

Business as usual


The dust is still settling following the outcome of the Scottish Independence Referendum, announced earlier today at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston.

The media attention on Scotland, and on Edinburgh in particular, has been unparalled and I am delighted that, as ever, our city shone. Credit is due to the many hundreds of council, and other, staff who played their part in making this possible - both at Ingliston and elsewhere across the city.

Of course, whatever the result, Edinburgh was still going to remain Scotland's capital and a wonderful place to live and work - and, crucially, to do business.

We are in the unique position here in that we have a Labour-SNP coalition running the city - something that will continue at least until the next local council elections in 2017. We have successfully kept constitutional debate out of the Chambers for the first half of our term and there is absolutely no reason at all why that can't continue.

I can assure you that our focus will remain on running the city in the fairest and most efficient way possible and on keeping to the pledges set out in our Contract with the Capital two-and-a-half years ago.
Councillor Andrew Burns
Leader of the City of Edinburgh


First 100 days of trams

Sunday 7 September marked the 100th day since Edinburgh Trams began passenger services and we were delighted to report that 1.5 million people travelled by tram in that period. The numbers are very much in line with predictions and with the business model and while it's obviously still early days, it's certainly been an encouraging start.

It's also very welcome to see the increase in passenger numbers at Lothian Buses. The most recent Census in 2011 told us that the Capital was bucking the national trend in having more people using public transport, walking or cycling to commute and it definitely appears as though this trend is continuing.

Harlaw Hydro

I am delighted that work has now begun to develop a hydro electricity generation scheme at Edinburgh's Harlow Reservoir, a community led initiative that will harness enough energy from the water to power more than 50 homes.

Due to be completed by the end of the year, the project aims to save more than 129 tonnes of carbon dioxide and produce 260,000Wh of green electricity. It has the backing of 240 shareholders, myself included, with around 70 per cent from the local Balerno, Currie and Juniper Green communities. Further investment is still required and the project is calling for additional backers.

As I've said before in this report, we are aiming to become a more Cooperative Council through, amongst other things, promoting the development of cooperatives and other social enterprises. Please visit the Council website for further information.

APSE awards

Congratulations to the three Edinburgh projects that made it to the finals of this year's Association for Public Excellence (APSE) national awards. The shortlisting of the Muirhouse Community Shop, the Moredun/Hyvots Bank regeneration scheme and the Smarter Rehab project meant that we were also in the running for 'Council of the Year'.

Even though they weren't successful, it was a great achievement for Edinburgh, and despite increasing pressure on budgets and resources, it demonstrated that our frontline services continue to ensure that the people are well cared for and looked after.

I would like to congratulate all staff across the Council for their hard work and dedication to providing excellent services for residents which led to these nominations.

Have your say on 20mph plans

Following a successful pilot in South Edinburgh, a 20mph speed limit is now proposed for many city streets including the city centre, main shopping streets, other main roads with more pedestrians, and residential areas. A network of roads in suburban areas would keep a 30mph or 40mph limit.

A consultation is now live to help draw up plans for new 20mph speed limits across the capital. We've been delighted with participation so far - we received more than 1,000 responses within just two weeks of promoting the survey.

You can take part via the Council website or by attending one of the planned public meetings, roadshows and drop-in sessions being held across the city over the coming weeks.

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