Forth Ports has asked The City of Edinburgh Council to allow them to make alterations to the plans for Western Harbour so that the development will become greener.

The new plans will include a Go Green Hub, an education centre and a reduction in the number of parking spaces. The car parking was to be provided on carbon intensive parking decks but these would now give way to landscaped areas saving an estimated 4,555 tonnes of CO2.

The developer wants to ensure that this development will help residents reduce car usage and their carbon footprint while assisting the council in its net zero carbon goal.

The amended outline planning application for the 2,000 home development aims to drive green energy adoption and reduce carbon emissions. The plans in place were approved in June 2020, but Forth Ports no longer believe they are wide enough to achieve its own goals to reduce carbon emissions, or the council’s.

The plans include 2,000 homes, a 4.4 hectare park and a new 540 pupil primary school and nursery which will open later this year.

The main changes are:

  • Reducing on-site parking to 326 spaces from 570 – down 43%
  • Parking levels will be significantly reduced from 61% as consented to 35%
  • Replacing carbon intensive structures with centralised, electric vehicle enabled spaces
  • Significantly increasing car club provision
  • A unique “Go Green” Hub, a first in Scotland and an important new Leith attraction with a CO2 emissions clock. This would be a visual reminder to all of the cuts in carbon emissions. It would be available to schools in the city to promote sustainability.
  • The Education Centre will:
    • Encourage residents to join the green revolution
    • Persuade car users to adopt other, greener forms of transport
    • Facilitate E-cycle hire
    • Support E-car sharing
    • Publicise bus and tram options

Forth Ports is speaking with e-car sharing companies to find a package which will work at Western Harbour, and some of the car parking which will be created may be converted into E-car spaces in the future.

Charles Hammond, Chief Executive Officer 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.”

Western Harbour will be one of the most sustainably connected developments in Scotland, with direct links to the extended Edinburgh tram system and the Lothian Buses network, while offering easy access to E-car clubs, E-bikes and the city’s bike path network.