The ‘noise in the night’ explained…

Last Wednesday night / Thursday morning (15/16 May) was the night from hell, with both a loud high pitched continuous whining noise, PLUS a constant ear-splitting siren from Seafield sewage works keeping people awake all night from Bonnington to Craigentinny and all points in between (i.e. mainly, the Leith Links area!). This was a record high for noise complaints, and people in our community are angry and frustrated (and tired!).

Naturally Leith Links Community Council reported the matter, as did many individual residents. We have received this report from City of Edinburgh Environmental Protection Dept.

Veolia have investigated and advised me (Council officer) that they had an alarm activation. Their Sludge Import Tank reached its high level and this triggered an audible alarm.  The tank level is higher than normal in order to minimise the overall odour risk within the Seafield site.  It is rare for this alarm to trigger during the night shift as most tanker imports are limited to the day shift – however an overnight import delivery seems to have triggered the alarm.  The alarm stays on until the sludge level within the import tank is reduced (by the processing of sludge through the sludge treatment centre on site).

Veolia shall be reviewing the arrangements for this alarm further today, and will advise me on progress or future actions.  Scottish Water shall also reduce their road tanker imports to Seafield in the short term, which will reduce the rate of level rise within the Sludge Import Tank.

Veolia have apologised for the inconvenience and disturbance caused within the community, which I agreed to pass on to residents who complained.

To add insult to injury, sleepless people have had to stay indoors and keep their windows closed all day yesterday (hottest day of the year so far) due to the overwhelming smell of sewage pervading the local area. What does Seafield have to say about that? They say – we did warn you we were cleaning the tanks…

We think that while it is good to get warnings and explanations, that is not enough. Action is needed. Change is overdue. This community wants to see our Council standing up to Scottish Water / Veolia, and enforcing its own laws and ‘Code of Practice’, to protect our community’s basic quality of life from the endless nuisances caused by Seafield.

Noise Nuisance from Seafield Sewage Works – Update

For over a month now, local residents have been plagued (on and off, but mostly ON) by a distressingly loud, continuous noise, 24/7. It is driving people crazy, and making them angry. Many residents are especially distraught because they cannot sleep, even with earplugs. It is usually a continuous high pitched whine, although it can on occasion be accompanied by, or replaced by, a low pitched rumbling/pulsing.

Leith Links Community Council has been following this up vigorously, and has had (albeit slow to get started) good support so far from City of Edinburgh Council Environment Protection Dept.. Luckily noise – unlike smells – can be measured objectively, so they could not pretend it does not exist. It has been established definitively that the noise is emanating from Seafield Sewage Treatment Works, from a defective compressor on Primary Settlement Tank (PST)1, and to a lesser extent from PST Compressor 8, possibly with other ‘potential contributing factors which are being considered by the operator’.

Environmental Protection say (over a month after the first complaints)  ‘I can confirm that this matter is already under investigation. We are in dialogue with Veolia at the Seafield Waste Water Treatment works in relation to the noise. … I can advise you that Veolia are treating this as a priority and are actively looking to put short term and longer term measures in place in order to address this concern.’

The Council has requested a full report from Veolia, who run the Seafield plant, detailing what exactly is wrong and what actions they will take to ‘minimise’ (hhmmm..) the noise in the community. They expect this soon and of course we (LLCC) are urging that pressure is kept up on Veolia, for swift action!

This is just one more sign that Seafield is not fit for purpose. Since January, via this LLCC website form, there have been 76 reports of bad smells (70 of which came in between 24 February and 31 March). It is still smelling, today. Reports of the noise have been coming in since 5th March, continuing steadily until now, from at least 20 different people.

John Telfer, Head of PFI, Scottish Water, says “In the first instance I apologise for the fact that …members of the community have been inconvenienced by recent odour and noise issues….Can I assure you that Veolia are working to address the noise related issues that you and other stakeholders have made reference to. Veolia are fully aware of the inconvenience this is causing and are looking at what could be done in the immediate short and longer term to deal with these noise emissions…. Again please accept my apologies for the inconvenience these issues have caused and be assured that Scottish Water is taking steps to address your concerns.”

Is this good enough?

How come Veolia / Scottish Water didn’t start dealing with the noise problem much earlier? Would anything have been done at all if the community had not kept on reporting this? How come the Council does not seem to treat this noise nuisance as non-compliance with the Code of Practice they are supposed to ‘police’ and hold Seafield to account on?

What can residents do?

Now that the Council is finally ‘on the case’, there is no point in reporting the same noise repeatedly. That just means that the Environmental Protection Officer’s time is taken up replying to individuals, when we actually need him to spend his time  keeping up the pressure on Veolia and Scottish Water. BUT we (LLCC) would like to ask you to report it anyway – only via the form on this website. We suggest that you report the noise when first you hear it, and at daily intervals if you can be bothered. Currently the form is really only set up for smell reporting (we ARE updating it asap) but there are boxes that you can complete anyway saying something like ‘Along with the smell’ (or, ‘Not smell but’)  ‘continuous high pitched whining noise nuisance experienced’ & how loud, what effect it has on your quality of life.

Reporting via the form (see top of this page, or sidebar) means we can keep an accurate record of all complaints and compile these at intervals to keep the Council updated, without wasting their time on an hourly/daily basis.

However, just in case you want a personal response, or want an officer to visit your house, these are the correct contact points for Environment Protection:

Email – asknoise@edinburgh.gov.uk

Or use the general help lines on Tel: 0131 200 2000 or Twitter – @edinhelp

Leith Links Community Council Meeting, 25 March, 6:30pm, Leith Community Centre

The next meeting of the Leith Links Community Council will be on Monday 25th March, at 6:30pm in the Leith Community Education Centre, New Kirkgate.

If you live in the area, you are warmly welcomed to attend.

Please find here the Agenda for the meeting and the Minutes of the last meeting (draft until adopted). Earlier papers are stored in our library.

Invitation to Polish Professionals working in Support Services

Leith info

Feniks is organising a networking meeting for Polish professionals working in support services in Edinburgh. 15th November, 10 am, St. Margarets House, Room g5

Language and lack of confidence can be barriers to accessing services for our clients. How to access to Polish speaking officers and learning about referral systems are essential to maintain good quality care and recovery for our service users. Especially in this changing and hostile environment, it is important to be up to date with the services in Edinburgh.

Please share this information with Polish workers/ colleagues. More details in attached leaflet (Polish language also)

Magda Czarnecka, Project Development Manager (part time, Monday- Friday)

m: 0788 544 2589
e: magda.czarnecka@feniks.org.uk

Feniks. Counselling, Personal Development and Support Services Ltd.
Charity no. SC039041

St Margaret’s House | 151 London Rd | Edinburgh | EH7 6AE

www.feniks.org.uk
www.facebook.com/Feniks.Support.Services
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Feniks is a charity providing psychological support to Central-East European Community (mainly Polish) in Edinburgh. We provide counselling and community development projects aiming to tackle social isolation within migrant community in Edinburgh.

Trams to Newhaven – extra time – please respond!

Breaking News! Leith Links Community Council is pleased to announce that the Tram Design 2 Consultation has been extended from 28th October to 11 November. This gives everyone time to respond with their views –PLEASE FILL IN THE SURVEY if you live near the tram route, because it WILL affect you. This extension was requested by the coalition of community councils along the proposed tram route in Leith.

We also welcome that the final decision by the Council to go ahead with the tram extension, or not, has been put back to March 2019 (instead of 13 December 2018). This will allow for much-needed time to work on the many detailed questions that remain – not least, in our area, regarding Constitution Street. And all the arrangements needed during a 2 year construction period.

Trams Update – 23 October 2018

Councillors will make the decision on whether or not to proceed with the Trams to Newhaven project in March 2019.

Tenders for the project were received in early September and evaluations are ongoing.

The final stage in this process is to seek best and final offers from the bidders which will then be used to complete the Final Business Case for consideration by elected members.

It is important for the Council to have sufficient time to undertake due diligence and comprehensive evaluation of the final submissions and the Council has therefore decided to take extra time to allow this process to take place.

The Council has undertaken extensive consultation with residents and businesses in Leith and Newhaven to inform the final design of the proposed route and has proposed a £2.4m Support for Business package during the construction period.

You can view the Trams to Newhaven project designs and plans, which have been updated thanks to public feedback from consultation earlier in the summer, until Sunday 11 November on the Council’s Consultation Hub.

Leith Links Community Council Meeting, Monday 29.10.18, 6:30pm, Leith Community Centre

The next meeting of Leith Links Community Council will be on Monday, 29th October, in Leith Community Centre (Shore Room). Please remember the new start time is 6.30pm.

If you live in the Leith Links area, and have questions or concerns to discuss, we would be pleased to welcome you.

Agenda Monday 29.10.18

Draft Minutes Monday 25 September 2018

All previous Minutes are available here

 

Leith Neighbourhood Partnership Meeting 27th September

Members of the local community are welcome to attend the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership meeting, to be held at 18:30, Thursday 27th September, Nelson Hall, McDonald Road Library. Meeting papers here.

What price Local Democracy?

The investigative  / fact checking online journal The Ferret recently researched just exactly how much Councils invest in its Community Councils. It seems City of Edinburgh Council invests 7p per head of local population per year, to hear views from local people. The least was Dundee – 1p – and the highest was Shetland – £6.81)  Read the full article here.

What does this mean for local democracy?

Community Councils are statutory bodies tasked by local authorities to “ascertain, co-ordinate and express to the local authority for its area…the views of the community it represents”. All Community Councillors are volunteers.

So what does your Community Council do? A fair question. One short answer is (slightly facetious, yes, sorry!) – we do our best….

LEITH LINKS COMMUNITY COUNCIL MEETING, 24 SEPTEMBER 2018

The next meeting of Leith Links Community Council  will take place on Monday, 24 September at 6:30pm in Leith Community Centre (Shore Room). Open to interested local residents.

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF START TIME

Agenda 24.9.18

Draft Minutes Monday 27 August 2018

Response to Ladyboys / La Clique event proposal for Links

Below is the response from Leith Links Community Council (LLCC) to City of Edinburgh Council (Parks and Greenspaces Dept.) on the proposal to use Leith Links as a Fringe venue between 29 July 2019 and 28 August 2019, by Lady Boys of Bangkok / La Clique Cabaret. Leith Links Community Council itself starts from an impartial position on the matter but considers its duty is represent the interests of local residents, who have raised a number of important points and concerns. Follow the links to read those points in more detail.

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The Leith Links Community Council has considered all aspects of this application very carefully. Please see attached our policy on events outlining the general terms that any applicants (and City of Edinburgh Council) need to meet in order to be acceptable.  It is clear that for a large and exceptionally long-running event such as is proposed here, there are many key issues that would need to be addressed, on which we would need to be reassured, before even considering accepting such an application. We have also carefully read and considered the many views expressed by local residents, and these have very much informed our view as a Community Council.

Views of local residents / community

Because this proposal is unusual in proposing a much longer use of the Links than previous applications for events, LLCC decided to put this proposal out to wider public consultation. From our website, FaceBook page and Twitter accounts we provided a link to an easy-to-complete ‘form’ for local residents to give their views. In the 5 days the form was available, we received 56 formal responses (plus a number of informal comments, that are not recorded here).

We have copied and pasted from those responses into the attached document public comments . Please take the time and trouble to read these comments – or you will not be ‘listening’ to our community.

We are aware that these are popular Fringe shows in need of a new venue. We have nothing against the shows in question. We can appreciate the potential value for local businesses in bringing more Festival visitors down into Leith. However, overall, we would have to question whether that is a powerful enough rationale for granting the application, when set against the opposing arguments. It is not clear that having these shows on the Links for 4+ weeks would be in the best interests of the local community. We therefore propose that City of Edinburgh Council should not approve this proposal at least until there has been wider consultation and until all the concerns raised have been adequately addressed.

On a practical basis, there are barriers to Area 9 as a potential venue, due to the John Rattray Statue due to be installed shortly exactly on the access point for that part of the Links. (See attached picture). Also, the childrens Playpark close to Area 9 is due to be upgraded in 2019, so there could be vehicles to and fro-ing, and fairly major building works still taking place there. Furthermore, it is our understanding that that part of the Links is already booked by LAFC for football (which season restarts in mid-August).

The Links is a large park, however other areas on the Links are equally ‘booked’ or in permanent use e.g. football, cricket pitches, St. Mary’s Primary school playground, PE and sports (term restarts in mid-August), informal childrens’ play, informal sports and/or relaxation, family picnics, dog walking, cycle path, formal and informal bootcamps, tennis, future development of the ex Dry Dock area etc. etc.

In short, Leith Links is not a commercial business but a green space for relaxation, health and well-being, much needed by the community in this very densely populated area of Edinburgh. It is a busy, family-friendly, public place that belongs to the local community and that should be openly accessible to them at all times, rather than blocked off in part for a long chunk of the summer for adult shows and private profit.

Wider Consultation?

We think that the Council should undertake further consultation with the community, given the scale of the event proposed, the risk of a significant precedent being created, and the sensitivity of citizens of both Leith and the whole of Edinburgh, at the moment, about Council decisions about the use of public green spaces being imposed upon them.

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