The campaign to persuade the UK Government to locate the headquarters of its new Green Investment Bank in Edinburgh was a long one but to everyone’s delight it has ended in success.
The Chamber of Commerce, the city council, business leaders and politicians of all parties are to be congratulated on the united effort they mounted to secure this prestigious prize for the Capital. And we should also acknowledge the backing of Glasgow City Council and other organisations around Scotland who recognised the strength of Edinburgh’s case and gave their support.
The main contest may always have looked like a straight fight between Edinburgh and London, but with a total of 32 locations arguing their case, it was no foregone conclusion.
The unrivalled concentration of financial expertise and experience in low-carbon energy was the Capital’s unique selling point and these are the credentials which should now allow the GIB to hit the ground running.
Although Edinburgh is to be the HQ, some of the bank’s activities will be based in London, at least initially. But in making the announcement Business Secretary Vince Cable signalled that the capacity here could be expanded over time and it may well be that more work is moved north in due course.
The immediate employment impact of the new bank may not be huge, but the importance of having the bank located here is the recognition of Edinburgh as a prime centre for both finance and green technology and the prospect of future investment and jobs which that brings.
All the interests which helped win the GIB for Edinburgh now need to continue their co-operation to make sure the new bank is a success.
Care is needed
As the owners of the axed Go Ape attraction will tell you, one thing Edinburgh and the Lothians are not short of is wind.
But while it makes sense to explore the huge opportunities which renewables present, it would be somewhat ironic for this to happen at the expense of the environment.
The suggestion today that a proposed wind farm in West Lothian will affect views from the Pentland Hills should set off alarm bells. The plan needs close scrutiny to protect what is one of our natural treasures and avoid setting a dangerous precedent.
After all, enthusiasm for green power should not simply mean plonking huge turbines wherever it is a bit windy.
If it did, the traders in Castle Street would have more to worry about than the loss of an outdoor market.