Leith Links Community Council respond to Scottish Government consultation on regulation of Short Term Lets

The Scottish Governments latest consultation on Short Term Lets gathers final views on proposed new legislation for the regulation of Short Term Lets in Scotland.Scottish Government publishes Debt Advice Routemap for Scotland | Money Advice Liaison Group

Their proposals include a mandatory licensing scheme to ensure that all Short Term Lets are safe and to address issues faced by neighbours. The regulations, if passed by the Scottish Parliament, would come into force by April 2021.  These would also give councils powers to manage pressures created by the use of whole properties as short-term lets.

The consultation closes on Friday 16 October 2020. Click here to view the consultation on the Scottish Government website.

In response to the consultation Leith Links Community Council has now submitted its response, which is available below for citizens to view. We would recommend reading our response alongside the consultation papers (available via the link detailed above) otherwise it may not make much sense!

We have went went a bit deeper that the three simple questions apparently ask. This was a very conscious decision in order to make sure the Scottish Government are clear of our position in expectation that the Short Term Let industry will be working to challenge the strength of any new regulation.

There are two principles which run throughout the consultation response;

  1. The regulation should be clear and simple to understand by public authorities, citizens and the Short Term Let industry. The legislation should not afford opportunities for it to be open to interpretation. This is problematic for everyone involved.
  2. The cost of the regulation should be entirely borne by the Short Term Let industry.  This legislation is required because the industry has failed to self regulate. Application charges should be set at a level which takes account of all costs incurred by local authorities (and other public bodies such as Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service). The public purse is under significant pressure and none of it should be diverted to regulation of Short Term Lets.

Leith Links Community Council is encouraging citizens to submit their own responses to the consultation via the Scottish Governments website. The consultation closes on Friday 16 October 2020. Click here to view the consultation on the Scottish Government website.

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Short Term Lets: Consultation on a licensing scheme and planning control areas in Scotland. A consultation by Scottish Government

The Scottish Governments latest consultation on Short Term Lets gathers final views on proposed new legislation for the regulation of Short Term Lets in Scotland.Scottish Government publishes Debt Advice Routemap for Scotland | Money Advice Liaison Group

Their proposals include a mandatory licensing scheme to ensure that all Short Term Lets are safe and to address issues faced by neighbours. The regulations, if passed by the Scottish Parliament, would come into force by April 2021.  These would also give councils powers to manage pressures created by the use of whole properties as short-term lets.

Leith Links Community Council is encouraging citizens to submit their own responses to the consultation via the Scottish Governments website. The consultation closes on Friday 16 October 2020. Click here to view the consultation on the Scottish Government website.

We are currently working on our response, which we will publish on this website next week. If you have any comments in relation to the consultation, which you feel we should take into consideration please submit them to us commenting below no later than 6pm on Tuesday 13 October 2020.

 

Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary responds to foul odour emission complaints

Due to ongoing foul odour emissions from Seafield our local MSP Ben MacPherson wrote to the Scottish Governments Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.

The Scottish Governments response has now been shared with Leith Links Community Council and we are sharing it here so that our community to read the Cabinet Secretarys views regarding the ongoing foul odour emissions.

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Coronavirus updates

As a Community Council we have taken the decision not to provide, or attempt to provide, rolling updates on the current Coronavirus situation.

As a group of volunteers we lack the time to be able to gather & share the numerous updates published each day by a variety of organisations. We are very keen to avoid circulating information that may be incomplete or no longer applicable.

Instead, we will provide very local updates as usual such as Leith Festival being postponed, or our meetings being cancelled.

But, for regular updates on the wider Coronavirus situation in our city or country we would direct you to the following sources of information, which are updated regularly;

 

You may also wish to view the following websites, although they do not have dedicated Coronarivus pages / sections, may provide useful information such as travel arrangements etc;

 

Scottish Water announces major improvement works at Seafield

Scottish Water have today announced  a multi million pound improvement programme at Seafield. Scottish Water logo

Leith Links Community Council for a number of years has been working hard to represent the views & concerns of our local community as a solution was sought to ongoing odour nuisance from the site.

The press release from Scottish Water is copied below:

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Scottish Government dismiss appeal by Steads Place developers

Today the Scottish Government has announced that it has dismissed the appeal by Drum Image result for scottish government(Steads Place) Ltd against the decision by City of Edinburgh Council not to grant them the required consents to demolish buildings at Steads Place, and replace with a new development.

 

 

 

You can download and read both decision notices here:

 

 

Reporting noise nuisance from Seafield Waste Water Treatment Plant

A number of months ago we introduced one handy web from on our website which allowed members of our community to report nuisance & intrusive odours from Seafield Waste Water Treatment Plan to City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Water, Veolia, Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament.

As we have recently received a significant number of complaints relating to nuisance noise from the plant, we have updated our form, allowing you to report smell and / or noise from the plant.

The form can be accessed by clicking here, and can be used any time, any day.

 

 

Public consultation on fireworks

A public consultation on the use and regulation of fireworks in Scotland is now live, running until Monday 13th May.

The Scottish Government seeks views on how people use and enjoy fireworks, the impact they have on people and communities across Scotland, as well as their impact on animals. It also seeks views on the sale of fireworks to the general public, and ideas on what action can be taken to ensure fireworks continue to be enjoyed safely and responsibly.

While much of the current legislation on the sale of fireworks is reserved to Westminster the consultation will help to identify gaps, issues or unintended consequences with the current regulatory framework.

Alongside the consultation, there will be a series of engagement events to create opportunities for members of the public, alongside local partners, to deliberate on the key issues and discuss with others what could be done going forward. Details of events alongside access to the consultation on Citizen Space can be found via the following link https://consult.gov.scot/safer-communities/fireworks/

The consultation events that have been organised so far:

  1. Wednesday 13thFebruary, 6- 8 pm at Craigroyston Community High School, Edinburgh
  2. Monday 18thFebruary, 5 – 7 pm at Pollokshields Community Centre, Glasgow
  3. Thursday 28thFebruary, 1-3 pm and 5-7 pm at The Attic, Tolbooth, Stirling
  4. Tuesday 5thMarch, 2-4 pm at New Register House, Edinburgh
  5. Tuesday 19thMarch, 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm at Perth Leisure Pool, Perth
  6. Thursday 21stMarch, 2-4 pm at Spectrum Community Centre, Inverness
  7. Thursday 21stMarch, 6-8 pm at Jurys Inn, Inverness
  8. Monday 29thApril, 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm at Civic Rooms, Town Hall, Aberdeen

Events are also being planned in Elgin, Paisley, Dumfries and Galloway and the Islands.

Scottish Water Apology to Community

Scottish Water finally put out an apology today after receiving several emails from me on behalf of the community council and those who live in the community.Scottish Water should we aware that there is an ongoing issue with odour emissions from Seafield due to the high number of complaints forwarded to them, local elected members, SEPA and City Of Edinburgh Council by you, the public.

The apology reads

Scottish Water is aware of an elevated level of odour related issues in the Leith Links area and would like to sincerely apologise to customers for the inconvenience this is causing. 

During the unprecedented long spell of hot and dry weather the site operator Veolia has been taking all steps to ensure the operating conditions at Seafield WWTW are optimised including management of sludge levels. Veolia has progressed and implemented the agreed network related actions contained within the Strategic Odour Review.  In addition, Scottish Water is checking operations within its wider network which connects to Seafield WwTW.

We are continuing to review what other measures may be implemented to address the situation during this period of dry weather and again we apologise for the inconvenience caused to customers.

The apology could have been copy and pasted from previous similar emails. Leith Links Community Council and Leith Links Residents Association are well aware of what causes the problem. City of Edinburgh Council sending out highly trained noses to agree or disagree with local residents over how strong and unpleasant a smell of sewage is no longer acceptable. If you as a local resident are effectively trapped in your house because of disgusting smells then that to me is totally unacceptable.

Last Tuesday there was a programme on BBC2 called Inside the Factory which showed the process of making toilet paper. During the programme they also visited the sewage works that services Brighton. What was the difference between Seafield and Brighton? All the areas that could cause odour emissions are covered.

Veolia who operate Seafield under a PFI contract from Scottish Water seem powerless to stop the stink. They are well aware of the problem because it’s not new and happens year after year.

How do we solve it? Money, lots of money to cover the settlement tanks at Seafield and reducing odour emissions by covering the areas where the sludge gathers and becomes septic. In these weather conditions sewage can become septic in the network because there’s not the usual rainfall to flush it through so it’s probably arriving at Seafield already septic and producing the honk.

I have been in contact with Ben MacPherson MSP to arrange a meeting with the community council and residents association. We will be lobbying for a move to demand that Scottish Government provide the necessary funding for work to be done on the plant.

15000 people were at Easter Road last night to watch the football and they could smell the sewage. What a wonderful advert for our capital city when visitors from Greece are greeted by the smell of excrement.

Please continue to report the Great Stink and tell your friends to do it. You can be sure that politicians do pay attention when they receive lots of emails reporting the stench especially when election time isn’t too far away.

Thanks

Jim

 

 

 

Seafield Terms of Reference agreed

On behalf of the CC I attended a meeting at the Scottish Government at Victoria Quay on 1st August. Also in attendance were Ben MacPherson MSP, Rob Kirkwood from Leith Links Residents Association (LLRA), Prof R Jackson and SG civil servants.
Scottish Water have appointed consultancy firm, Amec, Foster Wheeler to carry out the strategic review of Seafield Waste Water Treatment Plant and the sewage network which supplies Seafield. The firm have been chosen to give an independent evaluation and have no financial connection to the plant and would not benefit financially from their report by awards of contracts if work was required.
Our meeting was to agree the terms of reference so that the consultants can gather information on the state of Seafield and we hope that they will be able to present their findings within 6 months but will also be in the position to give an interim report on progress to the Seafield steering group in October. The CC and Residents Association have asked to meet separately with the consultants in late September so that we can voice any concerns.
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Roseanna Cunningham has ordered this review and at the meeting our local MSP Ben emphasised again that odour issues at Seafield have become a priority for the government.
The terms of reference instruct the consultants to undertake a detailed evidence based review of the operation, design and maintenance of the plant with a direct focus on the way odour is managed and to reduce as far as practicable odour nuisance under all operating and weather conditions .Using analysis of appropriate odour generation and dispersion statistics.

They will consult with community groups and relevant stakeholders (Scottish Water, SEPA, City Council) to gather information on our perspectives and what we want to achieve. The consultants have already met with LLRA and I plan to meet with them next week. They will also want to speak to members of the public about how odour nuisance from Seafield impacts on their lives.
When the review is completed the consultants will provide recommendations on improvements to infrastructure, repair, replacement or enhancement on the site.
In plain language this means that if capital investment is required the consultants will identify the areas where work could be carried out and how much each option may cost.
Reviews have been carried out at Seafield in the past but nuisance odours have continued because of lack of investment. Both Leith Links CC and LLRA have agreed the terms of reference for this latest review with some changes in wording.
We also gave our support to the review with some reservations and concerns that as in the past only the cheapest options will be considered. Over the following months I will keep you updated on progress as the consultation continues. Jim

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