Residents say Seafield review doesn’t go far enough

Residents have called for more action than just a review
Residents have called for more action than just a review
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RESIDENTS who have campaigned for years over the “Seafield stench” say they will not take part in a new strategic review until its remit is changed.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham announced the review after meeting residents and others to hear about the problem.

But Rob Kirkwood, of Leith Links Residents Association, said its draft terms of reference focused on the operation of the Seafield sewage works rather than the need for new investment in the infrastructure.

And he argued the review should look at the entire waste water industry in Scotland, not just Seafield.

Mr Kirkwood said: “We’re not prepared to work with these terms of reference. They focus just on housekeeping.

“That’s exactly what previous reviews have done, with little effect. They don’t want to admit there is something wrong with the infrastructure, that money has got to be spent.

“They want to rearrange the chairs and hope we will be taken in by that.”

He said at the last stakeholders’ meeting Veolia Water, which operates the plant, and the city council had acknowledged that “managing” the plant should no longer be the main focus and the debate should look at infrastructure.

He said: “We want a direct focus on capital investment, how much needs to be invested and over what period of time.”

Jim Scanlon, of Leith Links community council, echoed many of Mr Kirkwood’s concerns. He said: “The proposed terms of reference specify looking at the operation, design and management of Seafield, focusing on how they manage odours. But at the last stakeholder meeting both Veolia and council public health officials acknowledged that not only management improvements but also investment and changes in infrastructure are needed.

“The terms of reference should therefore include assessing the costs of covering the sewage tanks at Seafield and similar plants throughout Scotland to eliminate odours for good, rather than just to minimise them.”

Ms Cunningham said the review was already under way. She added: “I have made clear that all relevant stakeholders, including community representatives, should have the chance to input to this appropriately wide-ranging review, including to contribute their views on the terms of reference which are still to be finalised.

“We will consider carefully all the findings of the review to determine our next steps.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We will continue to engage with the Scottish Government.”