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International Women’s Day

Council meeting this week

Round up of the week’s news

Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships 

Edinburgh is best in tourism poll

Today is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. Each year has a theme and for 2015 it’s ‘Make It Happen’.

In Edinburgh we have some pretty impressive and successful women, including Professors Vicki Stone and Mercedes Maroto-Valer who were honoured with Fellowship of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) earlier this week. To date, Professors Stone and Maroto-Valer along with Professor Raffaella Ocone, a Fellow since 2006, are the only women at Heriot-Watt to have received this prestigious honour.


There will be a meeting of the full council this Thursday, the first since the 2015/16 budget was set. One of the questions put before the meeting is from Conservative Councillor Jeremy Balfour who asks how much money is spent each year on tea and biscuits at various levels of the council. Certainly there is a lovely silver tea and coffee service which the Council Leader uses in his room at meetings, but in the members dining room where councillors have coffee and eat their lunch the coffee and tea served is from a self-service machine.

Other than that the council is being asked to explain why its Local Development Plan has not yet been approved. The former plan which contains information about green belts and general planning principles for all areas of the city expired at the end of February, so the city is currently without a plan.

And the Green Group wants the city to adopt the same stance as other institutions in the city in turning its back on investments in any companies which are based on fossil fuels. They quote a study by Impax Asset Management which suggests that investment funds based on fossil fuels may not perform as well as those which exclude those investments.

Full council papers for this week’s meeting are here.


The Edinburgh Reporter produces a regular podcast of news for Black Diamond FM which they air on a Saturday. Here is this week’s round up of news:



More than 400 young pipers and drummers will be marching into Edinburgh today to compete in the world’s largest school pipe band competition.

Aimed at encouraging schools to include pipes and drums musical tuition on the school curriculum, The Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championship will include bands who travel from the four corners of Scotland to compete.

Armed with a range of categories suited to each competitors skill set, this year’s competition will also see more entrants than ever go for gold in the unique ‘freestyle’ category.

The freestyle category encourages bands to perform with other instrumentalists with schools performing everything from traditional music to a take on modern pop songs.

The prizes are to be presented at 16.15pm by the Chair of Creative Scotland, Richard Findlay.


Edinburgh scored 90% in the ‘Big Cities’ section of the survey conducted by Which? and received five stars for three out of four categories recognising the city’s quality credentials for ‘cultural sights and tourist attractions’, ‘food and drink’ and ‘ease of getting around’.

More than 4,400 Which? members took part in the survey to rate cities in the UK which they had stayed in for leisure purposes during the previous year.

Each city’s score was based on overall satisfaction and how likely members were to recommend a destination to a friend, and only cities which had been visited by at least 30 members were included.

York and Liverpool scored a total of 89 per cent, just one per cent short of the Scottish capital’s 90 per cent.

Edinburgh was considered to be in the ‘big city’ category as its population was over 200,000. Scottish cities also included were Aberdeen and Glasgow which scored 62% and 88% respectively and other UK cities included York, Cardiff, Newcastle upon Tyne, Belfast and Nottingham.

Manuela Calchini, Regional Director of VisitScotland, said she was delighted by Edinburgh’s position in the survey, because Which? prides itself on putting the consumer at the core of all of its activity;

“Edinburgh has topped the Which? survey once again cementing its position as a world class destination that offers great history and heritage, culture, shopping and ease of access. In Scotland’s year of food and drink it’s also excellent that consumers are enjoying the quality of fresh, local produce available in the city and their voting this with five stars is testament to visitors’ recognition of this”.

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