How Edinburgh's Waterfront can shape city's green future

An exciting vision of a business campus delivering thousands of good quality, green jobs on Edinburgh’s waterfront was delivered at the launch of a website designed to help the Capital achieve its ambitious sustainability targets.

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 10:53 am
Charles Hammond, group chief executive at Forth Ports. Picture: Peter Devlin

The Edinburgh Supporting Cop26 – Towards Net Zero website at www.netzeroedinburgh.org has been launched by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the city council to promote the city’s target to be net zero carbon by 2030.

More than 80 organisations attended the digital event “Positioning the City; Acting Together to be Net Zero by 2030.”

Speakers from business, Edinburgh Univerity, the city council and the Edinburgh International Festival shared the work they have underway and their key priorities in helping to meet the target.

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Amongst the speakers, Forth Ports Chief Executive Charles Hammond highlighted the recently launched proposal to create Leith Renewables Hub within the docks, an entirely privately funded £40 million project to create Scotland’s largest and best located renewable energy hub on a 175-acre site at the Port.

The hub would provide the infrastructure essential to accommodate offshore wind development, and a significant part of the site, around 150 acres, had been earmarked to support businesses in the renewables sector - with major player BP Alternative Energy already registering interest in taking part of the site.

Forth Ports is also involved in sustainable housing development on the waterfront, reducing resident dependency on car travel and instead encouraging active and public transport use.

Mr Hammond said: “I would ask you to visualise this: We are talking about industrial scale green jobs, potentially for thousands of people who can live and work on the waterfront.”

BP has said that, via its proposed investments in Aberdeen and Leith, it intends to make Scotland its global centre of excellence in offshore wind, bringing multi-billion pound investment and thousands of jobs.

Liz McAreavey, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Chamber, chaired the event and told participants: “Up until 2019 emissions were reducing at around 2.6% per year. In 2020, due to the economic inactivity caused by Covid, emissions fell by 8.9% but accompanied by a 9.9% drop in GDP.

“Doing nothing to tackle the climate emergency is not an option, but we also need a fair economic recovery. We need to manage and align some conflicting pressures and demands, and as 25% of global emissions are caused by business activity, we certainly have a big role to play.

“That is why a bold and ambitious project, like the Leith Renewables Hub, must be lauded for providing a transition to support businesses and communities to a more sustainable future.”

Speakers also included Graeme Hannah, Head of Sustainability, Robertson Group; Sandy Tudhope, University of Edinburgh Lead on Climate Responsibility and Sustainability; James Close, Head of Climate Change, The Royal Bank of Scotland; and Roy Luxford, Programme Director, Edinburgh International Festival.