Views from the Edge of Edinburgh.

Tag: leith

Consulting With Leith

Well, I’ve been following this story for almost a year and even now – not all of Leith seems to be in the know regarding the application to build a biomass power plant at the docks by Forth Energy.

When I camped out at the Leith Community Centre pre-Christmas in order to record some audio vox-pops on the subject – I was met with blank looks or at best an acceptance of a fait accompli. However, the fat lady is only warming up and if her musical trillings have not yet been heard then there is still debate and decision to be made on both sides of the argument.

Indeed, Forth Energy have only just made their application and there is a 28 day consulting period in which the public have an opportunity to make its’ opinion known to the Scottish Government in writing or by email. Obviously, it is in the interest of Forth Energy to engage with the people of Leith as a legal requirement and to that end will hold further exhibitions around the port for the 28 day period. I shall include both the exhibition venues and dates, along with the government contact details at the end of this piece.

Just before disappearing into the swirling blizzards of north-east Scotland for Yuletide – I was fortunate enough to secure and record audio interviews with Calum Wilson, the Managing Director of Forth Energy along with Labour’s Malcolm Chisholm and Shirley-Anne Somerville of the SNP. Mr Chisholm and Ms Somerville are leading a cross-party effort to stymie the application on environmental concerns and hold a moritorium in order to fully scrutinize the green credentials of the proposals.

The interviews will be posted here on Firehorse Findings in the next week. Interested parties have until the 11th of March to write to the government with their views on the proposals. Be reminded that you can still access my original articles on this subject, here on the blog.

If you wish to see the exhibitions by Forth Energy regarding the plant you can view them at the following locations: –

Monday 31st January – Monday 7th February: – Leith Library, 28-30 Ferry Road, Edinburgh EH6 4AE (Mon to Thurs: 10am to 8pm; Fri: 10am to 5pm; Sat: 9am to 1pm).

Tuesday 8th February to Monday 21st February: – Ocean Terminal, Ocean Drive, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6JJ  (Mon to Fri: 10am to 8pm; Sat: 10am to 7pm; Sun: 11am to 6pm).

Tuesday 22nd February to Friday 11th March: – City of Edinburgh Council, Urban Room, Waverley Court, Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BG (Mon to Thurs: 8.30 am to 5 pm; Fri: 8.30 am to 3.40 pm).

Any comments you wish to make will be taken into consideration when the Scottish Government makes the decision on whether to grant permission to Forth Energy or not. These comments should be forwarded to: –

The Scottish Government, Energy Consents and Deployment Unit, 4th Floor, 5 Atlantic Quay, 150 Broomielaw, GLASGOW G2 8LU

Or by email to leithbiomass@scotland.gsi.gov.uk

Vox Pop

If you want to add your voice to the debate about the proposed biomass plant in Leith – pop along to Leith Community Centre on Thursday 16th December between 1100 and 1300, when I will be waiting to hear from you.

For a couple of hours I shall be on hand to record your comments for posterity and for the Firehorse Findings blog. Any particular relevent, erudite and clean(!) musings could end up in a short audio documentary that I am currently producing.

We await your words of wisdom.

Energy Plant Consultation #2

Forth Ports

Forth Energy have released details of their second round of public consultations, with exhibitions of amended proposals due at different venues throughout the week commencing Monday 8th November.

If you want a chance to view said proposals then make your way to any one, or all, of the events listed below. In January, Forth Energy will submit their application to the Scottish Parliament, whereupon the public have the right to make their views of the plans known. If you want to make an informed opinion, then it is advisable to take the opportunity to engage with the company and their representatives.

Any information gleaned from these events, or indeed your opinion, would be received with interest here at Firehorse Findings, so please feel free to comment.

We hope to catch up with the MD of Forth Energy, Calum Wilson, in the next week and any subsequent interview should be forthcoming  on the blog soon after.

Wednesday 10th November: 1000 – 1800 at St James Shopping Centre

Friday 12th November: 0930 – 1845 at South Leith Parish Halls (Leask Hall), Henderson Street

Saturday 13th November: 1000 – 1600 at Ocean Terminal (ground floor next to the central escalators), Ocean Drive

In The Domain Of The Lizard Queen Redux..

It is ironic that as we tentatively gathered in the bright, September sun to press the flesh and introduce ourselves to each other in a neighbourly fashion, sharing our hopes for a progressive sense of community, togetherness and finding out who brought beer; that we were blissfully ignorant of the armed robbery at one of the flats in Salamander Court some five hours earlier.

It wasn’t until I randomly checked the BBC wesite the next day that I tripped over the fact. There was no further online word until Tuesday, by which time the Scotsman had caught up. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries and a description of the offenders was given to the local police.

The BBQ itself went rather well; numerous residents dropped by for a chat, a drink and a burger. If fact, it was still going strong after four hours and the light was fading. There are plans to try and mobilise the area again for a small event in November and no doubt, there will be discussions about local security and vigilence.

Personally, I would like to thank Rob, Ilona, Erin and Alvin for being the stalwarts of the party and welcoming all subsequent attendees. Let’s hope the area sees more of the congenial interaction and less of the opportunistic thuggery…

In The Domain Of The Lizard Queen…

No, it has nothing to do with Jim Morrison’s missus, but a rather brave (considering the recent weather) decision to hold a street, or more accurately, terrace party for the budding community at Salamander Court. Oh, and Her Majesty happens to be yours truly, as this is my burgeoning home territory, no need to genuflect…

The poster tells all and all residents and tenants are welcome – I have not been told of a Plan B, lest the cooling September temperatures decide to plummet, but you can always wear a jumper, take a brolly, lifeboat, wellies…

Making the Community Sexy

Okay, I know it’s a cheap tactic, but you have to admit that the attention is drawn by the adjective, if not the noun? Perhaps it is problem of modern society that we are just not terribly interested in anything without a hint of spice, salaciousness, money or glamour and
let’s face it, what could be less sexy than the notion of community?

Any local wit might argue that Leith at least can lay claim to a little of that – in the shape of the local entrepreneurs that still nightly trawl Leith Links or Salamander Street in search of custom. However, these tenacious street traders are on the list of complaints that has seen
locals relegate Leith to the bottom of a recent resident satisfaction survey in the capital.

Excluding the ongoing matter of street prostitution and the apparent lack of zeal in dealing with it on the part of the local police, the litany of negative factors cited included: the general crime rate, drug use and users, the Seafield stench and the proposed biomass power-plant by Forth Energy. Of course, most areas are affected by crime and related modern social woes, but many feel that Leith is often dealt a rotten hand in terms of environmental and community expectation and support.

If the local “consultations” regarding the power-plant in February slipped under the radar, the numerous news reports and articles on the matter have drawn local and centralised attention and criticism to the scheme, both from residents and the political establishment alike. Only the Scottish government however, can rule on whether the planning application to be lodged in June is passed or not.

Whatever happens, Forth Ports shares are currently buoyant – after rejecting three recent takeover bids by Northstream, a consortium of it’s own shareholders, the company can be very confident that it’s portfolio of residential and commercial developments along with it’s interests in sustainable energy makes it an attractive investment prospect – money IS sexy. Power-plants and their associated environs on the other hand – are not.

Despite boasting bustling bars, restaurants and shopping in the area and providing a home to a diverse, multi-cultural populace – some Leithers still feel overlooked, neglected and unheard because of such commercially driven high-handedness. Where is the area’s famous sense of identity and community? Surely Leith’s biggest asset should now be primed for reactivation in the face of corporate disdain?

People have always been the greatest commodity of the area and if somehow the innate pride and energy of the local community can be metaphorically kicked up the backside and motivated to collectively make itself heard then the time is right to be passionate about the place and the people again. Perhaps it’s time to make the community sexy.

Interview with Euan McMeeken of The Kays Lavelle

Three wonderful tracks and a chat with vocalist Euan – first broadcast on Leith Talk (13th April).

Track 1 – The Hours

Track 2 – Ten Times

Track 3 – Aftermath

Euan M – The Kays Lavelle

Interview: The Last Battle

The Last Battle – Full Interview and Session

A great wee session and chat that I’ve been promising to post for about a month – better late, than never!

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