Major development on Edinburgh's waterfront is being revised to 'go green'

A new housing development of over 900 homes planned for Edinburgh’s waterfront is to “go green” with a cut in parking spaces and the addition of an environmental education centre.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 4:55 am

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The original plans for the £250 million Western Harbour development were given the go-ahead in June 2020, but Forth Ports said they no longer believed the proposals were sufficient to achieve its carbon reduction aspirations.

And now an amended application is being submitted to allow the changes to take place.

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The development is due to be constructed over the next five years

Forth Ports said the revisions would make it one of the most environmentally-friendly housing developments in the Capital.

On-site parking will be reduced by 43 per cent, from 570 spaces to 326. And instead of semi-underground parking decks as part of the housing blocks, there will now be open parking in a central area with infrastructure for electric charging.

A “Go Green” hub, which includes the education centre, will encourage residents to “join the green revolution” in both their domestic and transport energy use.

It will feature a CO2 emissions clock as a constant reminder to residents of how much they are helping to cut carbon emissions by adopting this approach.

The new “Go Green" hub will include an education centre

The hub will also urge car users to adopt greener forms of transport and hopes to facilitate E-cycle hire.

And talks are under way with E-car sharing companies about a special package for Western Harbour residents.

The education centre will also be made available to schoolchildren and teachers as a resource to promote education on sustainability issues.

The development will have 938 homes – a mix of one, two and three-bedroom homes – and a new 4.4 acre park.

Planning permission was given a year ago but now the proposals have been revised

Charles Hammond, chief executive of Forth Ports Group, said: “It’s becoming clearer by the day that not only do we have a responsibility to reduce carbon emissions but that there is a real appetite for this change too.

"At Forth Ports, we are committed to supporting this, not only through our major industrial projects such as the creation of a £40m renewable energy hub within the Port of Leith, but also through housing development projects such as Western Harbour.

“We want to continue the regeneration of Leith, but we believe that it needs to be done in a way that supports the move to net zero carbon.

"This is truly a transition, and we are confident that the steps we are proposing for Western Harbour will support the kind of behavioural change needed for Scotland to achieve its net zero aspirations.

“Forth Ports is proud of our role in helping create a much more vibrant and successful community and we are determined to do that in a way that is sustainable. These new homes for families will create a fantastic place to live in Leith beside one of the finest, and biggest, new parks in Scotland and, of course, our fantastic waterfront.”

Matthew Benson, from estate agents Rettie & Co, said: “It makes no sense to ‘bake in’ acres of underground concrete car parking spaces that are likely to be largely redundant by 2030 and which cannot be easily re-purposed.

“We are all becoming more aware of our carbon footprint and in particular the impact that our travel choices have on that. In such a well-connected city like Edinburgh, the opportunity is growing for making different choices, but this change takes time. Our proposals recognise the need to help people embrace this transition over the coming years.

“By amending these plans now, we can create a cleaner, more environmentally friendly place to live, providing residents at Western Harbour with homes whose green credentials will stand the test of time.”

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