Tag Archives: Greener Leith

Community Fund – Greener Leith – May Update

On 5 May, Scotland went to the polls for the 2016 Scottish Parliamentary Elections.  Greener Leith, as part of its remit to make Leith greener in every sense of the word, asked the various candidates standing in the Edinburgh Northern and Leith Constituency  their views on environmental and social issues that affect our constituency.        All of the candidates responded and most did so in a comprehensive manner; Cleaner transport and better air quality were mentioned again and again.  Leith is now the most densely populated place in  Scotland and the air quality some of its poorest; about 2000 deaths a year are caused by it.  Almost without exception the politicians wanted to invest in cycling, walking and public transport, although some of them didn’t like the tram..

Responding to the question ‘How will you use your role to inspire and encourage greater pride and civic engagement in our public spaces?’ candidates offered some interesting options: more allotments, more green spaces and play spaces, outdoor gyms, new taxes to pay for all of the above.   When asked about the the issue of global climate change most candidates responded that they would work their hardest to combat this.  One candidate however did not think that global warming was a problem and asserted that we need more reliable nuclear power stations and scrap unreliable wind turbines.  Not something Greener Leith would agree with, but it does prove that we let everyone have their say!

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Community Fund – Greener Leith – April Update

UnknownGreener Leith Open Data Map

One of Greener Leith’s Board members, Jeremy Darot, recently created a very clever interactive online map which brings together essential data about Leith in one place.  With the help of this map you can easily find all kinds of information; on local infrastructure such as doctors’ surgeries, schools, allotments, recycling facilities etc, but also on planning, air pollution and where housing is planned.  Furthermore, it incorporates area statistics  such as population density, Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation and Vacant and the Derelict Land Survey.  It shows the boundaries of electoral and community council wards and much more.  For the time being you can find it here: http://edinburghopendata.info/story/edinburgh-open-data-map/.  Please try it out.

We will be launching this map on the Greener Leith website in the next few weeks and use it to facilitate our 1000 Trees for Leith Project as it will be possible for anyone to register online and suggest suitable locations.  

Community Fund – Greener Leith – March Update

UnknownLeith Decides awards funding to Greener Leith to plant 1000 trees in Leith!  

Greener Leith recently came up with a proposal for a Leith-wide initiative to encourage people to plant 1,000 new trees in Leith. Greener Leith know has the funding to provide the trees and local people, once we’ve completed a series of mapping exercise of North Edinburgh, will decide where to plant them. 

We heard the good news at the beginning of March and there’s been already a really positive response on social media – Facebook post on the 1,00 trees award got nearly 2,000 views – with many suggestions of locations and even offers to help plant.  We going to need volunteers to help decide where they are most needed and then plant them.  To make this easier we are in the process of preparing an interactive map of North Edinburgh which will be available on the Greener Leith website in the next few weeks.

Community Fund – Greener Leith – February Update

UnknownPruning Day at the Children’s Orchard

The best time to prune fruit trees is at the beginning of February.  It is always cold and miserable and in some years we have experienced horizontal sleet and snow.  It is therefore not surprising that the Greener Leith volunteers who do turn up for the Children’s Orchard tree pruning event are really dedicated individuals who are not afraid of a little weather.  It is great to see that the majority of the trees planted are now above man’s height and this will hopefully have a positive impact on next Autumn’s harvest.  Apart from pruning we also planted 6 new trees – all of them Scottish varieties – Ashmeads Kernel, Thomas Jeffrey and Discovery – replacing some that had not survived for a variety of reasons.  It was another good day for the trees.  They are really starting to look like a proper orchard.  Many thanks to Ben Dell from the Botanic Gardens and to the Out of the Blue Café who, as always, turned up with hot soup and sandwiches after which we all scuttled home to warm up again.

Community Fund – Greener Leith – January Update

Unknown-1Although Leith’s parks are much better loved than they used to be, there is a huge amount of unloved patches of greenspace in the Leith area that could be improved.

Greener Leith wants to make a difference here and has come up with a project.  It is a community-wide initiative to inspire and help Leithers to plant 1,000 new trees in Leith. Greener Leith will provide the trees and Leithers will decide where to plant them.  The project consists of a mapping project– using a set of maps we’ve developed that cover all of Leith that will identify greenspaces where trees and other plants need to be planted, and a planting  project– as spaces are identified we will purchase trees (native to the Scotland or the UK) in batches and get them planted by volunteers.

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Community Fund – Greener Leith – December Update

Many of you will know that Greener Leith has been actively pursuing community-owned renewable energy projects since 2008. These proposed projects, the micro-hydro on the Water of Leith and wind turbines at Seafield and Tomfat, would have had the potential to generate clean, renewable energy as well as provide revenue for the communities involved. 

Unfortunately, despite having had the benefit of professional advice and guidance throughout the life of these projects, none of them proved viable in the end.  Despite a sustained effort over the past years hundreds of volunteer hours have been spent in vain, leaving Greener Leith supporters disappointed and disheartened.  It just shows how difficult these undertakings are with only minimal resources at hand.

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Community Fund – Greener Leith – November Update

UnknownThe latest project to be undertaken by Greener Leith is a proposal to plant 1,000 trees all over Leith.  There is a growing body of research that shows that urban trees have many benefits.  They reduce air pollution, noise levels, wind speed and provide an environment conducive to physical activities.  Over the years a lot of trees in Leith have disappeared and some of the ones still standing are looking less than healthy.  We want to improve this situation.  Using Greener Leith’s social media network and volunteers, the aim is to engage with individuals, neighbourhoods, local groups, schools as well as businesses and the Council to get one thousand trees in the ground.  The Woodland Trust in Scotland has already committed to providing the trees and we are now fund raising to buy the sundries – stakes, shelters, fertiliser and watering cans – to protect the trees while they get established.  The focus will be on civic space, but not limited to the public realm.  We’d also like to see trees planted in front gardens where they will contribute to the streetscape.  The idea is to get people involved, so the planting (and follow-up maintenance) is a social event and the people living on the streets where the trees get planted can take pride in them as they grow.  We will know in February whether we have been successful in raising the necessary funding.

Community Fund – Greener Leith – October Update

Unknown-2We recently did some more work in  the Greener Leith Children’s Orchard, where the one -year-old ‘maidens’ (basically a large twig with roots) that we planted 5 years ago are now starting to look like proper trees.  To improve our crops next year we want to attract more bees and other pollinating insects, so last Sunday  we organised a ‘mini’ workday and planted an unusual range of bulbs that will flower from February to May.  Hopefully they will not only attract the attention of flying insects but to also provide some early colour in the park.  The year will start with a beautiful very early flowering white and purple crocus by name of Crocus Chrysanthus ‘Ladykiller’.  Often viewed as the herald of spring, this variety flowers earlier than the traditional large flowering crocus and is sometimes referred to as the ‘snow crocus’.  A pure delight in early spring that, if left undisturbed, will multiply year after year.  We also got in some big fat dark purple crocuses ‘Victor Hugo’ which will flower in March.  

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Community Fund – Greener Leith – June Update

Unknown-1After months of waiting, Greener Leith and PEDAL finally received some bad news from the Inverness Planning Officer regarding our wind turbine project near Inverness in the Higlands. He has recommended not to approve turbine on grounds of visual impact.   There are also issues with interference of the local airport radar.  We are still looking into how this may be resolved.  An appeal would be costly but might still get us the desired outcome. We believe that the visual impact could be overcome, the radar interference however would be a much more complicated problem to resolve and could take years.

Another issue is that the subsidies for energy generation of this kind are set to come down, which might make the project less financially viable.  All in all it is a great disappointment to everyone, considering the hundreds of volunteer hours that have gone into this project.

In the next few weeks we will be seeking advice from our consultants how to proceed and get a sense of whether an appeal could be successful.  It will then be up to both boards to decide whether to give it one final go..

Community Fund – Greener Leith – May Update

UnknownOne of the activities that Greener Leith has been particularly active in is campaigning to make Leith Walk a more friendly place for pedestrians and cyclists.  Anyone who cycles in Edinburgh may remember that Leith Walk was named as one of the ten worst roads to cycle in 2012 and that’s no exaggeration as the potholes and lack of lines delineating the cycle paths made for a treacherous mix of hazards.

Since that time Greener Leith has been has been campaigning for improvements of this much-loved shopping street.  Three years later – tram plans shelved once more – the new road is starting to emerge.  Although still very bare, the northern part of the road is now easily navigable for cyclists.  For pedestrians things have improved as well in that the footpaths have been overhauled and widened. Motorised traffic is being slowed down by speed-reducing road design and a 20-mph limit is now in place.  The public realm however is still rather bare.  Because of the many services underneath the road surface any significant tree planting will be a challenge.  Greener Leith however is determined to have an influence there as well.