A corner of the hall at the Green Fair in Penicuik 14th April 2018
It wasn’t as quiet as this all the time!
“We do need far more creative use of the powers we do have, but far from undermining the case for independence, a bold approach to the day job will demonstrate how confining those limits are, and will only strengthen the case for breaking beyond them”
THE phoney war that is the annual GERS debate has broken out again. It’s all too predictable, but with Scotland’s public finances under scrutiny I make no apology for once again challenging the dominant assumptions about oil and gas. In 2014 the Green Yes campaign published figures showing that the multinationals operating in the North Sea were receiving about £1 billion worth of tax breaks from the UK Government every year – despite making huge profits.
“The comments were made in response to the call by the GMB Union for the UK Government to scrap the national energy regulator Ofgem after disappointment in what the GMB called “ineffectual reforms”.
What now for the greenbelt and for greenbelt communities? How will Midlothian be effected by this ongoing expansion of housing and associated infrastructure in Edinburgh and this continuing nibbling away of the greenbelt?
Will the thousands of empty homes and commercial premises across the city ever be developed? Will the existing acres of brownfield sites and land banked by developers ever be brought into sustainable use? When will we actually start building sustainable livable homes that are affordable, accessible and connected to good quality local services, transport and greenspace?
What is the value of all LDPs and their housing targets, including Midlothian’s post-Brexit? There’s a question! Perhaps a time fro a rapid reassessment?
At present, I’m not sure that there’s a satisfactory answer to any of these questions? Or indeed any sign that the voice or concerns of local communities on either side of the greenbelt will be heard any time soon by either local or central government.
Well if independence is put to the test again, nobody will be able to claim that the status quo is even an option; to remain in the UK would be to leap together into an uncertain future outside the family of European nations.
I was immensely reassured this week to see thousands of people gather together outside Holyrood – and I know this has been happening elsewhere too – to say boldly that we are not resigned to that fate. Europe is part of our history, our culture and our identity. We voted to stay, and that’s what we’re going to do.
Ian Baxter, Midlothian Green Councillor writes about his concerns that a hotel has been given planning approval in the Pentland Hills Special Landscape Area.
At Tuesday’s Planning committee meeting of Midlothian Council, the contentious item was supposed to be the proposal for two small wind turbines at Springfield Farm near Leadburn (voted down, in the main by SNP councillors, despite my pleas for Midlothian to step up to the plate on our – and the SNP government’s – carbon reduction targets).
However, it was an application for a hotel in the Pentland Hills Regional Park which troubled me more. Within the boundary of Hillend Country Park and in an area designated as an Area of Great Landscape Value, the site is also in the Pentland Hills Special Landscape Area in the proposed MLDP, “assessed as being of high value in terms of scenic quality, enjoyment and naturalness”. The site includes a large number of mature trees and shrubs.
Midlothian Greens have condemned the Proposed Midlothian Local Development Plan (MLDP) as totally lacking in sustainability, and risking turning Midlothian into a suburb of Edinburgh.
The MLDP was approved by councillors on 16th December 2014 and is described by Midlothian Council as representing the council’s settled view as to what the final adopted content of the plan should be. The statutory period for representation/expression of opinion runs from 14th May to 26th June and comments can be submitted on the Council’s web site during that period.
At the meeting on 16th December, Midlothian’s Green councillor Ian Baxter voted against approval on the basis that it did not offer a sustainable future. The response now published and submitted by Midlothian Green Party to the consultation spells out in detail why we believe this to be the case.
Our submission can be downloaded from our Publications page, or here
Co-convener of Midlothian Greens, Malcolm Spaven said, “The council’s proposals run the risk of turning Midlothian into little more than an extension of suburban Edinburgh, with more roads, more cars and more commuting. Our vision is to work with the council and local communities to develop a sustainable Midlothian with comprehensive transport solutions linking cohesive communities while protecting our green spaces and farm land and creating jobs that will last.”