Scottish Water issue [another] apology for ongoing Seafield stench

Towards the end of last week our Community Council received many reports of foul odour emissions affecting residents quality of life, not just in the Leith Links are but also as far afield as Easter Road stadium and Pilrig. We posted an article about this on our website – Leithers despair as Seafield stench continues.

Over the weekend, in response to these complaints, and upon being challenged by Leith Links Community Council, Scottish Water have issued an apology to our community. In an email to Community Council Chairperson Jim Scanlon on Sunday Scottish Waters PFI Performance Manager (based in Dundee) said –

 I apologise to the community for us not being able to counteract the odours witnessed in recent days.

Commenting on the latest apology, Secretary of Leith Links Community Council Sally Millar said;

Community Councillor Sally Millar

The local community in the Leith Links area is frustrated, angry and sick –yes, literally, the smell makes people feel sick – of the disgusting odours of sewage emanating from the Seafield sewage plant. There has been a massive spike in complaints in the past two weeks. The weather is hot; we need to open our windows. Due to Covid19 lockdown rules, we are only allowed to go outside to exercise, play or relax near our own homes. Yet our entire area has been suffused with the foul smell of human excrement, for days on end.

These smells have been with us for decades, but none of the agents involved – the City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Water and Veolia and SEPA – seem to be able or willing to deal with this problem effectively. We are told that lots of rain causes the smells. Then we are told that lack of rain causes the smells. We are told that the wind causes the smell problem. Do they take us for idiots?

We have recently received yet another apology from Scottish Water for “not being able to counteract the odours witnessed in recent days”. But this is simply the latest in a very long line of similar apologies (a cut and paste job?). It is an insult to the local community. What we need is action and results, not continual apologies.

 

The latest apology, one of many issued over recent years has not been well received by local residents affected by foul odours from the site, as the comments below from residents who used our online reporting tool show;

Apologies like this might mean something if they related to genuine one-off, or at least extremely rare, occurrences. Given that we live with the stench of sewage as a backdrop for our lives roughly two days out of seven, sometimes more, an apology is pointless. The site needs to be thoroughly updated to make it fit for purpose. Frankly, I would like the people who write those apologies to live within smelling distance of Seafield for six months and see how they like it.

 

I know there are longer term plans to carry out works but the apology is fairly meaningless in the context of the many many years that this smell has been an issue. Only hope that with many more people exercising and utilising the space around Leith Links and the quickly increasing population growth in the area that Scottish Water and the Scottish Government recognise that this is an unacceptable situation. Safe to say such a situation wouldn’t be tolerated in certain other areas of Edinburgh so agree that pressure needs to continue and grow if anything is going to change in the shorter term.

 

I’ve lived in this area for 7 years now and to be honest, apologies are meaningless- I think the community deserves action.

 

I’m pretty bored with their meaningless apologies by now to be honest. Nothing ever changes and saying sorry doesn’t help, only putting a roof on the place will! Not sure why the Scottish Government are so reluctant to act and force their hand, especially considering the extensive local housebuilding going on that will only increase the problem on site.

 

 

So they have apologised, but are they going to make sure it won’t happen again? They have been saying “sorry” for years. I have lived near Leith Links for almost 20 years and my daughter has grown up associating good weather with bad smells. When we want to open the windows, play or eat in the garden, we have to ‘test the air’ first for appalling aromas. We have lost count of the number of family events that have been spoiled by the Seafield stench or the number of stifling summer nights with the windows shut. Memorably, my grandfather’s funeral at Seafield crematorium where my London relatives were appalled at the smell.

There is a solution to this but they don’t want to pay for it, so ‘sorry’ is meaningless. I’d much prefer covered tanks to ‘sorry’. This ‘sorry’ means ‘it’s a shame your garden smells of sewage but we don’t want to spend our profits on covering the tanks, so it will continue to smell of sewage’.

Leith Links Community Council encourages our community to continue to report any foul odour emissions from Seafield which negatively impact upon their quality of life and / or anyones health & well being.

 

Leithers in despair as Seafield stench continues

As of 7pm this evening Leith Links Community Council has received eleven reports of foul odours from Seafield. Today is the fourth day in a row that we have received odour complaints, with 29 being submitted to us since Wednesday. Complaints have been submited by residents from the Leith Links area extending as far as Easter Road stadium & Pilrig.

Leith Links Community Council established its online reporting tool due to frustrations felt within our community around existing reporting mechanisms. The online reporting tool allows members of our community to fill in one web form which is automatically submitted to Leith Links Community Council and a number interested parties & organisations;

Community Councillor Eileen Simpson, who leads on Seafield related matters alongside Community Councillor Jim Scanlon, continues to press the authorities for action to reduce foul odour emissions. She said today;

This spring, as every year, Seafield Sewage Treatment Works have exposed local Leithers to a series of appalling odour leaks.

Community Councillor Eileen Simpson

 

But this year it feels much worse, because our time out in the open air is so precious. And as we venture out for our walk, jog or cycle, our lungs are regularly assaulted by the appalling sewage stench we’ve come to know only too well.

 

The stench from Seafield has been sickening over the last few days. Lockdown is depressing for all, and our daily time in the fresh air is precious, especially in such beautiful weather. It’s dreadful that we are forced inside by this sickening smell. It damages our physical and mental health. Veolia don’t seem to care.

Comments from residents reporting odour issues have really highlighted how the ongoing odour issues are impacting upon their quality of life, their comments include;

‘Obviously in lockdown we can’t go further afield to escape this scourge’.
 
‘It is particularly galling at this time of lockdown when we need to walk in the fresh air for our physical and mental health’
‘I had to rush home and close all my windows, despite the lovely weather. It’s so depressing’.
‘Upset and difficult to keep the newborn baby asleep without being able to open the window . Just fix it.’
‘Strong enough to think our cat had defecated in the room we were in.’
‘It is extremely unpleasant. It’s a warm day today, and shutting the windows is not an option, so we are having to eat dinner sitting in the smell of sewage.’
Members of our community are assured that Community Councillors Jim Scanlon & Eilieen Simpson continue to challenge authorities on the ongoing odour issues and encourage people to continue reporting any odour occurrences via the Leith Links Community Council website.

Dangerous motorbike riding over Leith Links

Earlier this month we let you know that concerns were being raised about dangerous motorbike riding in the Leith Links area, you can view the original post here.

Sadly this evening two motorbikes were seen being rode through a packed Leith Links. One of the motorbike riders even doing a wheelie as they traversed the Links between park users at around 9pm this evening.

        

Leith Links Community Council encourages members of our community to report any incidents to Police Scotland by calling 101 (non emergency) or 999 (emergency). You should do this whilst the incident is in progress, or as soon as possible afterwards. You should also report every incident to the Police. If possible please give the Police a description of the riders such as what they are wearing, what they look like, how old they appear to be, and any registration plates that can be seen.

 

 

 

 

Places for Everyone shared off-road network/paths campaign in Edinburgh

The City of Edinburgh Council have made Leith Links Community Council aware of its new Places for Everyone campaign.

We have become aware of a few concerns raised by our community about difficulties being encouraged through inconsiderate use of shared spaces such as Leith Links and the Restalrig Railway Path hopefully, this new guidance will support our community to use shared spaces in a way which avoids conflict.

» Read more

City of Edinburgh Council review of the 2019 Edinburgh Community Councils elections

City of Edinburgh Council have shared with us a briefing note on their review of the Edinburgh Community Councils elections held in Autumn 2019.

Leith Links Community Council will discuss the briefing note at its next meeting on Monday 25 May 2010, from 18:30, on Zoom.

 

 

 

Housing Rights in Practice: Lessons learned from Leith

In 2015 the Scottish Human Rights Commission began working with a group of people who were living in poor housing conditions in Citadel Court, Persevere Court & West Cromwell Street. People were experiencing problems with damp, mould, ineffective or broken heating, pigeon, rodent and insect infestations, and maintenance issues.

Following on from this work the Commission has produced a report which it is now sharing with our community.

To download a copy of the report click here.

 

 

 

 

 

Police witness appeal following a woman being assaulted on Restalrig Railway Path

Police Scotland have appealed for witnesses following a woman being assaulted by a male on the Restalrig Railway Path earlier this week.

The incident is understood to have occurred towards the Easter Road end of the path on Monday 18 May 2020 however, no timescale is provided.

Following door to door enquiries of nearby properties, Police have been displaying notices in the local community asking for those with any information to get in touch with them.

If you have any information please contact Police Scotland by calling 101, quoting reference numbers PS-20200518-2291 and / or CR/030948/20.

If you have information but are reluctant to liaise directly with Police Officers you may provide information via Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.

 

Trams to Newhaven: Notice of works in Baltic Street & Constitution Street

The City of Edinburgh Councils Trams to Newhaven team have given our community notice of works due to begin on their work sites in the Baltic Street & Constitution Street areas.

In an email to Councillors Booth, McVey & Munro, a spokeswoman said;

I wanted to let you know that Morrison Utility Services will be carrying out essential gas maintenance works at the following locations within the Trams to Newhaven construction sites:

 

  • Baltic Street junction with Constitution Street
  • Constitution Street (Baltic Street Junction – Tower Street

Works will also take place to install ducting to support the BT Openreach project and maintain their digital network. Thereafter, BT Openreach will have a presence on site for the following six weeks.

 

 

The essential gas maintenance works will start on 13 May 2020 and last approximately seven days. There will be no interruption to resident and business gas supplies as a result of these works.

 

 

The project is committed to keeping our workforce and the public safe and to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID 19 virus. We will be working in line with the current Scottish Government guidelines of two metre social/physical distancing with extra safety measures in place to make sure that our teams and the public are protected.  These additional measures will include face masks, visors, glasses and gloves for use in any instance where two metres social/physical distancing cannot be maintained. Detailed briefings will be given to workers and we will be continuously monitoring working practices.

 

 

The works will be carried out during the normal working hours for the project which are 7am – 7pm Monday to Friday and 8am – 1pm on Saturdays.

 

Questions & feedback can be submitted to any of the Leith Ward Councillors, or directly to the Trams to Newhaven team.  

Great Junction Street, Easter Road and Shore being considered as locations for temporary pavement widening by City of Edinburgh Council due to Covid-19

The City of Edinburgh Council has published papers making known it is considering adapting Great Junction Street, Easter Road & Shore as part of its response to Covid-19.  The plans being considered would see a widening of pavements to allow more space for pedestrians to observe social distancing measures. The adaptations being considered follow on from the recent closure of Links Gardens.

Click here to view the thirty three page report.The information relating to Leith is on page 10.

The report will be considered by Councillors at the Councils Policy and Sustainability Committee on Thursday 14 May 2020 at 10am. Members of our community can watch the meeting live on the Council website, click here to view the broadcast on the day.

If any members of our community have views on the plans under consideration there is still time to let your local City of Edinburgh Councillors know.

You can make your opinion know by commenting on this post, we’ll let local Councillors know where to look to see your comments. Or, you can email any of the Councillors using their email addresses as listed here;

Leith Councillors (Great Junction Street, Shore & part of Easter Road):

Leith Walk Councillors (part of Easter Road)

Update 14/5/20: Please note that commenting on this post closed at 18:00 on 14/5/20 as the relevant City of Edinburgh Council meeting had concluded.

Trams to Newhaven newsletter | 7 May 2020

Click on the image to view the newsletter

City of Edinburgh Councils Trams to Newhaven team have published their latest community newsletter which provides a community update on the status of the Trams to Newhaven project in relation to the current Covid-19 national health emergency.

Interestingly, the Trams to Newhaven team are still advising the community that the project is ‘scheduled to be completed and carrying passengers by Spring 2023’ as of 7/5/20, despite the works shutdown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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