All posts by Kati Rawlins

High speed rail discussions continue

Edinburgh centre, credit: members.virtualtourist.com

By, Kati Rawlins

Edinburgh City Council is continuing with their agenda to include the city in the plans for a UK high speed rail network.

City council leader, Cllr Jenny Dawe met with the Secretary of State Rt Hon Michael Moore MP at the City Chambers this Thursday. The topic will be high on the agenda in addition to discussions about other important issues. The discussion will also include budget cuts in the public sector, welfare reform and energy, in particular renewables.

Cllr Dawe further added: “This meeting is recognition of Edinburgh’s importance not just to Scotland but to the UK as a whole. I am grateful to the Secretary of State for taking the time to meet with me tomorrow.”

Last week at Holyrood Cllr Dawe and the leader of the Glasgow council, Cllr Gordon Matheson talked to MSPs about the importance of adding Scotland to the High Speed Rail plans. They explained what would be needed to bring the rail link to Scotland and stated the importance of maintaining the pressure on the Scottish Government to co-operate with their Westminster counterparts in ensuring that Scotland becomes a part of the network from the outset.

The meeting this week was a good opportunity in general for council leader Dawe to bring the Secretary of States attention to timely issues in Edinburgh.

Cllr Dawe continued: “The meeting will provide me with a great opportunity to promote Edinburgh’s priorities to ensure that we remain a world class city to live and visit as well as one which is attractive for investment.”

Secretary of State, Rt Hon Michael Moore MP, said: “I am keen to discuss the High-speed rail link with Edinburgh Council. I am particularly looking forward to hearing about the way it will fit into their plans for strengthening the city’s economy and the investment opportunities that it will create.”

High Speed Rail Network to include Scotland

By Katariina Rawlins

The 5th of November

London High Speed Rail

The Coalition Government at Westminster are currently considering how to best take forward plans for a UK High Speed Rail Network.

Council leaders from Glasgow and Edinburgh explained this Thursday to MSPs why it would be beneficial to include Scotland in the high speed rail plans.

Council members Jenny Dawe and Gordon Matherson spoke at an event in Holyrood that was hosted by MSP Charlie Gordon. Many people turned up for said event.

Edinburgh council leader Cllr Jenny Dawe, said: “The presence of the Leaders of Scotland’s two main cities at today’s event is a clear demonstration of our willingness to work together in the national interest and of the importance that we attach to bringing high speed rail to Scotland.”

The Council members pointed out how adding Scotland would deliver maximum economic and environmental benefits whilst ensuring that Scotland is not economically disadvantaged in relation to UK and international competitors.

Cllr Dawe added: “Failure to do so from the outset will damage not just our ability to compete internationally but also our ability to compete with those other regions of the UK that will be included in the network.”

A rail expert has warned ministers that Scotland must spend £10 million on its own blueprint for a high-speed rail route north of the Border because the UK is only serious about building lines from London as far as northern England.

Cllr Gordon Matheson added: “In fact, it’s estimated that bringing the line to Scotland could take at least 20 years – so long-term thinking and planning is absolutely crucial and we believe we have a strong case for building this rail network from both ends.”

The event was organized to make sure that the Scottish Government would work with Westminster to ensure that Scotland is included in the network from the outset.

Cllr Matheson said: “Edinburgh and Glasgow both agree that rejecting any commitment to high-speed rail for Scotland would be short-term thinking of the worst kind.”

It took place on the same day as Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond addressed the Transport Times Conference in London outlining the government’s commitment to HSR.

Safety fears could force Edinburgh nursery to move

By Kati Rawlins

An Edinburgh nursery housed on the top floor of a seven-storey block faces being moved as councillors debate safety concerns over its fire evacuation routes.

Westfield Court Nursery, in the west end of Edinburgh, has already been scrutinised by Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service, along with health and safety staff. City councillors will decide on Tuesday whether to transfer its 25 pupils to two alternative nurseries by next month. If councillors agree to the move, officers will prepare a report on options for the nursery’s longer term future.

City education leader Councillor Marilyne MacLaren said: “Because of its situation, Westfield Court Nursery has been subject to special health and safety reviews for some time now.  After each review we make adaptations and improvements to the building and to its safety procedures.”

Concerns remain even after modifications to the building and the nursery’s evacuation procedures.

MacLaren added: “There is nothing more we can do at this stage to address the fire risk associated with getting a large number of small children down seven flights of stairs from the top floor of the block. The only option open to our health and safety officers has been to recommend a decant to other nursery facilities.”

Places are available at Tynecastle and Calderglen nurseries for the pupils of Westfield Court Nursery, whose carers would move with them.

Cllr MacLaren  described Tynecastle and Calderglen nurseries as “of the highest quality – children can expect a warm welcome and an excellent early years education”.