The Seafield Stench – latest update

by Leith Links Community Councillors Eileen Simpson & Jim Scanlon

Leith Links Community Council (LLCC) attended a ‘Stakeholders’ Meeting’ held on Friday 19 May at the Seafield Waste Water Treatment Plant. These meetings take place 2-3 times a year. The group is made up of representatives from:

  • Veolia (the French-based multinational company who manage the plant, on a PFI contract)
  • SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency),
  • Scottish Water (publicly owned statutory corporation providing water and sewerage services across Scotland),
  • City of Edinburgh Council officials
  • Elected politicians – local councillors and MSP (Chair)
  • Local interest groups (LLCC and Leith Links Residents Association (LLRA)).

The role of Leith Links Community Council is to speak up for, and to fight for the local community, by working together with others to end the disgusting smells and potentially toxic emissions from the sewage plant, that local residents have had to put up with for years. Along with LLRA, we champion the rights of local residents and try to hold to account the companies and the Council that have so far failed to remedy this odour nuisance situation.

Attending these meetings for several years, we have listened again and again to past and present operators explaining plant and management failures that have caused the terrible stench. However, at this meeting, because there had been so many of your complaints about the dreadful smells for over a fortnight in late April-early May 2017, there was– unusually, for once – no attempt to suggest things were OK or improving, and the Veolia Senior Site Manager, who does not normally attend, started off with a major apology, acknowledging that Veolia failed the community (and has commercially suffered with reputational damage as a result).

These were the main outcomes of what was a challenging meeting. The first is the most significant:

  • TheGood Housekeeping’ approach was agreed to be inadequate

It was finally acknowledged that the smells cannot be eliminated or even minimised just by ‘good housekeeping’ – which has been the official position until now. It was publicly admitted that the plant is out of date and prone to problems, and needs significant new capital investment. Getting to this stage is a major achievement.

  • Burning rubber smells

Acknowledging that these were caused by a separate leakage of toxic gases, and that there have been recent recurrences of this, Veolia has now invested in a new ‘Vent Air Burner’ for the filter which was causing the leaks. This will be fitted in July and we are assured that there will be no more emissions from this filter. (But if you smell it, report it right away!)

  • Sludge spillage smells

SEPA took enforcement action against Veolia Water for spilling sludge (again!) and causing the noxious odours in the community in April-May. However, there was no financial penalty associated with enforcement. City of Edinburgh Council could have taken their own Enforcement Action but didn’t. Officials said that they had written to Veolia informing them that they would have taken action had SEPA not done so.

It is disappointing that no stronger action was taken by either SEPA or the Council, after the recent protracted series of terrible odour emissions.

It was highly ironic that as we left the building after the meeting, we noticed smells!  And later in the day (2pm-8pm approx) these became extreme. However it is heartening for us to hear that the Council received very many calls from local people about this, and sent out a team to respond. We wait to hear if any enforcement action takes place.

Complaint calls result in specially trained Council officials visiting home owners and using the ‘sniff’ test. If they record a smell as ‘strong and persistent’ (which, informally, on many visits they have admitted to us that they do perceive it as) it should be classed as a ‘statutory nuisance’. Will the City Council take any action this time?

  • Scottish Government Review

We knew that a Review of the Code of Practice covering Seafield was in process, and had been led to believe that local representatives would be able to contribute to this.

However a letter to MSP Ben MacPherson from Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, made it clear that the review process was already complete, and that reviewers found that:

(plants are)‘…well run, and incidents which give rise to malodour are very rare’.

And that ‘there are a low number of incidents and enforcement is available when required’.

These findings definitely bear no relationship to the smelly reality we all experience! Ben MacPherson MSP has now arranged a meeting with the Minister to discuss this and has asked for community representation. We hope to be able to clarify how wrong the findings are, in no uncertain terms, and to press for urgent capital investment in the plant.

But who will pay for this is likely to be the ‘big question’….

  • Easier reporting

In the meantime, Council staff are working on putting in place a more straightforward method of reporting smell nuisance, and this should be available very soon after the general election.

Legal Redress?

Ben MacPherson MSP has established that a new Expenses and Funding of Civil Litigation Bill will be introduced at Holyrood in this Parliamentary year. The Bill will include provisions to allow for the introduction of a multi-party action procedure in Scotland. If that gets voted through, it means that, for the first time, members of the community affected by the Seafield smells may be able to seek legal redress against those responsible. Interesting…..

Meanwhile – Keep Complaining!

Even though you may all be tired of complaining, please be assured that is definitely not pointless: the overwhelming number of complaints in recent weeks (far more than in the whole of the previous financial year) is having a significant effect. Complaint calls and emails are the main way by which the Council assesses the level of smell nuisance.

So it is VITAL that we all keep reporting every smell we notice from Seafield, using the following numbers/email address. It is particularly important that any burning rubber smell is reported immediately (scc@sepa.org.uk)

Thank you for taking action. We will continue to fight on your behalf.

 

General election 2017 hustings in Leith Links Community Council

With the UK General Election approaching there are two hustings events being held which are relevant to the Leith Links Community Council area.

 

 

 

 

Edinburgh North and Leith

  • Out of the Blue Drill Hall (36 Dalmeny Street)
  • 7pm – 9pm
  • Tuesday 30 May 2017
  • Organised by Leith Central Community Council

 

Edinburgh East

  • Restalrig Lochend Community Hub (Restalrig Road South)
  • 7pm – 8:30pm
  • Wednesday 24 May 2017
  • Organised by Ripple Project

If you are not sure which constituency you are in, click this link to find out.

NB: Leith Links Community Council is a non political organisation and is not affiliated with any candidate, political party or cause.

Petition calling for Duke Street improvements

A petition is currently being circulated calling for the owners of 15 Duke Street to make improvements to the now derelict building & land, which is considered by the petitioners to be having a negative impact upon the local area.

 

To sign the petition follow this link.

 

The details of this petition are being circulated as it relates to an emerging community issues within our area however, we have not taken any decision as to whether to endorse the petition, or not. Whilst the petition has been started by an elected member of LLCC, the petition has been created in a private capacity.

Are you affected by the Seafield stink?

Many residents within our area have reported that they have been adversely affected by nuisance foul odours from the Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works operated by Scottish Water and Veolia Water UK.

Leith Links Community Council is aware of these concerns and we are members of the Seafield Stakeholders Group which meets regularly to discuss matters relating to the works.

We would encourage any residents who are adversely affected by nuisance foul odours from the works to ensure that this is reported, at the time, on each and every occasion. We cannot underestimate the importance of this.

We have previously distributed leaflets (pictured) to households in our area encouraging people to report any foul odours.

Please report sewage type smells to the City of Edinburgh Council using these details:

Please report burning rubber type smells to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency:

  • 0800 80 70 60 (24 hours, 7 days)

General election information relating to Leith Links Community Council area

A general election has been called for Thursday 8 June 2017, this is a United Kingdom wide election where voters will elect one MP per constituency to sit in the House of Commons.

 

The Leith Links Community Council area encompasses parts of two constituencies.

 

In this election you select one candidate and mark an X in the box next to their name.

 

You can only vote if you are on the register of electors, to check you are listed, or to be added, follow this link for further information.

 

The candidates standing in each constituency are as follows;

 

Edinburgh North and Leith

 

  • Deidre Leanne Brock – Scottish National Party
  • Iain McGill – Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Gordon John Munro – Scottish Labour and Co-operative Party
  • Lorna Jane Slater – Scottish Green Party
  • Martin Veart – Scottish Liberal Democrats Party

 

Edinburgh East

  • Tristan Philip Pierre Gray – Scottish Liberal Democrats Party
  • Patsy King – Scottish Labour Party
  • Katie Crichton Mackie – Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Tommy Sheppard – Scottish National Party

 

If you are not sure which constituency you live in, follow this link to find our by entering your post code.

 

NB: Leith Links Community Council is a non political organisation and is not affiliated with any candidate, political party or cause.

 

City of Edinburgh Council election results announced

The results of the City of Edinburgh Council elections have been announced.

 

There are two City of Edinburgh Council electoral wards which encompass the Leith Links Community Council area, Leith Ward 13 and Craigentinny / Duddingston Ward 14.

 

All seven elected City of Edinburgh Councillors automatically become ex officio members of Leith Links Community Council.

 

Leith Ward 13

  • Electorate: 17,432
  • Votes cast:  7675
  • Turnout:  44.0%

 

  • Councillor Chas Booth (Scottish Green Party) (Re-elected)
  • Councillor Adam McVey (Scottish National Party) (Re-elected)
  • Councillor Gordon Munro (Scottish Labour Party) (Re-elected)

 

 

Craigentinny / Duddingston Ward 14

  • Electorate:  22,793
  • Votes cast:  10,892
  • Turnout:  47.8%

 

  • Councillor Ian Campbell (Scottish National Party)
  • Councillor Joan Griffiths (Scottish Labour Party) (Re-elected)
  • Councillor John McLellan (Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party)
  • Councillor Alex Staniforth (Scottish Green Party)

 

 

We look forward to meeting all the City Councillors for the Leith Links Community Council area at our next public meeting, which is our Annual General Meeting being held on Monday 29 Mary 2017, from 7pm, in Leith Community Education Centre (Newkirkgate).

Election hustings success

Our long awaited hustings event for candidates standing in the Leith Ward (Ward 13) was held yesterday evening in Leith Community Education Centre.

 

Four of the five candidates standing attended and answered twelve questions from the assembled audience of 35 members of our community.

 

 

Throughout the night we published various Twitter and Facebook postings using #LeithHustings view collated Tweets by us & others by clicking here.

 

 

 

 

Candidates who took part were;

  • Chas Booth (Scottish Green Party)
  • Adam McVey (Scottish National Party)
  • Gordon Munro (Scottish Labour Party)
  • Paul Penman (Scottish Conservative Party)

 

The twelve questions were diverse;

  • Trams – if they come to Leith do you support additional business rates relief for affected local businesses.
  • Poverty – what battles will candidates fight to lift families out of poverty.
  • Rape & womans rights – will candidates condemn rape clause and what is their position on the tendering of domestic abuse services.
  • Leith Links – what will they do to improve the Leith Links area, specific mention of refuse related issues on Leith Links and HMO properties surrounding the Links.
  • Rape – what will candidates do to ensure there is help for rape victims to come report such crimes, and quickly. Also, how will they ensure that the third sector doesn’t become politicised.
  • Planning – what will candidates do to ensure that people are brought to Leith / kept in Leith.
  • Environment – what will candidates do to tidy up Leith, including getting bins emptied.
  • Seafield smell – how do candidates see this being resolved.
  • Libraries – what will candidates do to ensure services maintained.
  • Housing – rent controls for Edinburgh, yes or no.
  • Democracy – candidates thoughts on ensuring more power for local democracy.
  • Environment – will candidates be taking part in the next Leithers Don’t Litter community clean up. Also, are they against bottled water being used on City of Edinburgh Council premises.

 

Who are the candidates?  Follow this link to find a list of candidates.

Where to vote?  Follow this link to find details of polling places.

Register to vote? Follow this link to find out how to register to vote.

How to vote?  Follow this link to find details on how to vote.

If you live within the red line – you live in Leith Ward.

NB: Leith Links Community Council is a non political organisation and is not affiliated with any political party or cause. This event has been organised on a neutral non aligned basis.

 

Quiz the candidates standing in Leith Ward

It’s election time again and we are hosting an opportunity for members of our community to quiz the candidates on local Leith matters on Wednesday 19 April 2017, from 18:30, in Leith Community Centre (Kirkgate). Questions will be taken from the floor so this is a real opportunity for members of our community attending to quiz the candidates on issues that matter to them, providing they are Leith related and within the power of an elected Councillor.

 

 

There are five candidates standing for three seats, all have been invited to take part;

  • BOOTH, Chas (Scottish Green Party)
  • DIJKSTRA-DOWNIE, Sanne (Scottish Liberal Democrats)
  • MCVEY, Adam (Scottish National Party (SNP))
  • MUNRO, Gordon John (Labour and Co-operative Party)
  • PENMAN, Paul (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)

 

Where to vote?  Follow this link to find details of polling places.

Register to vote? Follow this link to find out how to register to vote.

How to vote?  Follow this link to find details on how to vote.

If you live within the red line – you live in Leith Ward.

NB: Leith Links Community Council is a non political organisation and is not affiliated with any political party or cause. This event has been organised on a neutral non aligned basis.

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