The current administration has one year left of its term to meet its 56 pledges, and there are only nine years until the city is set to meet its net zero carbon target in 2030.

Some of the progress towards those goals is highlighted in the annual Edinburgh by Numbers publication produced by The City of Edinburgh Council. This is a statistical overview of the Capital and how it compares to other UK cities in terms of People, Work, Economy, Tourism, Education, Environment, Property, Travel and Connectivity. 

This is one of the most fascinating documents produced at Waverley Court and is always a goldmine of information. This latest covers the period 2019-2020 so does not include any of the statistics for this last year which we are sure will make interesting reading in twelve months time when we are contemplating electing new councillors.

With the environment high on the agenda of administrations worldwide, the local populations in selected Scottish cities were surveyed in order to establish the level of importance they placed on the topic.

The report shows that around three quarters of people living in Edinburgh are concerned about the climate emergency and that it is an immediate and urgent problem.

The goal of reaching net zero carbon at the end of the decade means that the same amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases will be removed from the air as are put into it. Edinburgh’s climate goals are set out here.

The council says that the city has recorded the fourth largest reduction in carbon dioxide emissions (per population of UK cities) between 2011 and 2018.

Cllr Adam McVey, Council Leader, said: “These figures show the opportunities that Edinburgh offers to so many of our residents, and demonstrate the attraction for so many people to move here, work here, travel here and study here. Although we’ve had a huge disruption to all areas of our lives, our communities and the city more widely during the Covid-19 pandemic, looking at these figures, to pre pandemic times, should give us a sense of optimism about how we go forward. We will take stock of the last year and by using our strengths and the resilience we’ve gained, Edinburgh will build back a fairer, stronger and greener economy for the benefit of all our citizens.

The ‘economically active’ population of Edinburgh compares favourably with other, major, UK cities.

“A greener, fairer recovery won’t be without its challenges but our approach to recovery will build a more sustainable future. Through the Edinburgh Guarantee, we’re expanding support to all ages getting back into fair work, education and training. We’re working with retail and hospitality businesses through our Forever Edinburgh campaign to help residents and visitors alike sustainably rediscover our beautiful city’s offer all year round.

“We’re welcoming back students to our world-class universities and colleges – once it is safe to do so – to continue their studies, building the skills we need for Edinburgh’s future and creating new technologies that are delivering such a bright economic future for the Capital with opportunities across our communities. We also look forward to growing centres of innovation that we invest in, such as the Edinburgh BioQuarter, that feed into the inclusive growth of our economy.”

Depute Council Leader, Cllr Cammy Day said: “Tackling inequality and sustainability issues is high on the list of our priorities. Before the pandemic, our economic strategy was focused on good growth, on tackling inequality, on well-being, and also on sustainability.

Sustainability is high on the City’s agenda

“The Edinburgh Poverty Commission, an independent group working alongside the council to alleviate poverty in the city, is throwing its full weight behind this and we are investing hundreds of millions of pounds in projects to support this agenda in areas including transport, infrastructure, electronics, pensions, etc.

“We’ll also continue to look at new ways to continue to meet our net zero carbon emissions targets through our City Mobility Plan and our ambitious 30-year housing building and capital investment programme delivering 20,000 affordable and energy efficient homes and carbon neutral neighbourhoods through developments such as the Granton Waterfront, Fountainbridge and Meadowbank.”