Monday, February 29, 2016

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward

DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL - WEEKLY ROAD REPORT

REPORT FOR WEST END WARD FOR WEEK COMMENCING MONDAY 29 FEBRUARY 2016

Perth Road (at West Park Road) – off-peak temporary traffic lights on Tuesday 1 March for Scottish Water iron work repair.

Tay Square – closed for one week for BT duct laying works.

You can read the weekly road report for the whole of the city here.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Dundee Women’s Festival 2016

Dundee Women’s Festival is celebrating it’s 10th year and will run from 1st to 20th March 2016.

On 8th March, International Women’s Day is celebrated all over the world, to recognise women’s rights, their qualities and their achievements.    Twenty seven countries have a public holiday.   Here in Dundee, its even better – there’s a  20-day festival!

In this 10th year of the Dundee Women’s Festival, the theme this year is “Women Making a Difference ...” 
   
You can download the full brochure here.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Dundee Airport Consultative Committee

Yesterday, I took part in a very positive and productive Dundee Airport Consultative Committee meeting at the Invercarse Hotel.

All members are delighted at this week’s announcement about the Amsterdam Schiphol flights from Dundee.    We discussed the detail and were pleased to learn that on Thursday alone, there were 1200 bookings.     The aircraft will be 78 seater and flights to Amsterdam will operate every weekday from 23rd May, with the Sunday flights starting from 17th August.    This is simply due to aircraft availability on Sundays, although we were assured that if aircraft become available on Sundays before August, the Sunday flights will be brought forward of 17th August.

The other news that is very positive is the growth in usage of the Dundee-London Stansted flights.   January 2016 had 25.2% more passenger movements than the month of January 2015 and over the whole year, an overall 4.9% increase in passenger movements was noted.    Additionally, the Dundee-London Stansted flights have excellent reliability and punctuality.

There is a really positive future ahead for our local airport, which is really good news for the city and Dundee’s economic growth.

Please help Friends of Riverside Nature Park!

From the Friends of Riverside Nature Park :

Friends of Riverside Nature Park has successfully applied for money to build accessible composting toilets at the park for the comfort of the park`s many visitors.  The toilets will be open all year round, need very little maintenance and will be eco-friendly and sustainable as well as providing compost. We know that we have won at least £8000 but we may improve our lot with your help. 

Along with two other local projects we are competing for £8000, £10,000 or £12,000 because larger Tesco stores in the Dundee area are giving out tokens to shoppers during the period from Saturday 27th February to Sunday 6th March and customers can choose which project to support with their tokens. The project with the most tokens at the end gets the biggest amount of funding.

Please support us in this venture and share this information as widely as you can, at work and through friends using whatever social media or other means you can.    Look at us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/riversidenatureparkdundee and see how we intend helping build toilets in the developing world through www.toilettwinning.org.    There will be photos and information in the local press too.  

PLEASE VOTE FOR FRIENDS OF RIVERSIDE NATURE PARK 
- ACCESSIBLE COMPOSTING TOILETS.

Friday, February 26, 2016

City Council Revenue Budget 2016/17

Yesterday, I submitted my amendments to the Dundee City Council budget meeting, aimed at tackling some of the worst effects of the SNP’s austerity cuts.

Had I won the vote, my amendment would have scrapped the proposed large increases in car parking charges across the city, garden maintenance charges for elderly and disabled people would not have imposed this year and frozen until a fair charging system based on ability to pay is put in place, and there would have been a less severe cut in roads maintenance and street lighting than the SNP is imposing.

My additional expenditure to stop car park charges and cuts in garden maintenance for the elderly and disabled and roads and street lighting maintenance would have been paid for by modest cuts in non-controversial areas such as equipment, furniture, contract care hire, catering and hospitality – these reductions being spread right across the council to lessen the impact in each department.

I was not fooling myself that it is in any way possible to stop the worst effects of the SNP austerity cuts.  The bottom line is that John Swinney has taken an axe to local government this year and Dundee faces terrible cuts of £23 million this year.   However, I think my budget amendment did help in a number of vital areas.    It is not in the city’s economic interests to see car parking hiked this year.   Nor should elderly and disabled people on low incomes be charged for garden maintenance as the SNP is doing.   I also tried to stop the worst of the roads maintenance and street lighting cuts.

Although I lost the vote, I was at least the only opposition councillor to propose an alternative budget.   Labour - with ten councillors - failed to propose any alternative budget whatsoever.

The administration did at least agree to a working group I had proposed to look at garden maintenance charges being based on ability to pay.

However, the overall budget outcome is bad news for Dundee's local services without any shadow of a doubt.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Good news on Amsterdam Schiphol flights from Dundee

From Dundee Airport's Manager this morning - good news :

I am writing to confirm an exciting development for Dundee Airport. Today Flybe, Europe’s largest regional airline, has confirmed that it intends to launch a new service from Dundee to Amsterdam Schiphol.

I am sure you will agree that this is a significant milestone for the airport and city. A considerable amount of work has gone into securing this route, with Flybe, HIAL, Dundee City Council and Transport Scotland working in partnership to deliver the new service, Dundee’s first ever international route. We are delighted that this hard work has now paid off.

With access to one of Europe’s biggest and best connected hub airports, this new route offers business and leisure travellers fast, convenient links to hundreds of destinations worldwide and, crucially, creates new opportunities for inward investment and inbound tourism at an exciting time for the city.

Flights will operate six days a week from 23 May and tickets are now on sale, priced from £24.99 one way plus taxes. The schedule allows for seamless connections to destinations across Europe and Asia, including Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore. The full schedule is as follows:

Monday to Friday
Dep AMS 1050 Arr DND 1155     Dep DND 1225 Arr AMS 1525

Sunday
Dep AMS 1030 Arr DND 1135     Dep DND 1215 Arr AMS 1515

I hope you will support this new route and encourage other stakeholders to do so. With the support of the people of Dundee and Tayside, I believe this route could be transformational for the city and its airport.

Yours sincerely


Derrick Lang
Airport Manager

Dundee Airport Ltd.

Seed swap - and bee talk!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

On Wave 102 News - Dundee passport office proposed closure concern

I spoke yesterday on Wave 102 News about the proposed closure of the Dundee Passport Office in Greenmarket that is scheduled for 18th March.

When Dundee's former passport office in Nethergate was closed in autumn 2011, the then Identity and Passport Service gave an assurance that local passport interview facilities would still be available in Dundee.    The recent announcement of the closure of the Dundee facility is a clear breach of promise.

It now means that local people in Dundee and also people across Tayside, Fife and Aberdeenshire will have to travel to Glasgow or Edinburgh for passport interview services and it breaks long-standing links to the communities staff serve.

It appears HM Passport Office think its all right for the public travelling long distances for interviews at extra cost – something that is simply not acceptable.   There is also concern for the hard-working, long-serving passport office staff affected by the proposed closure.  

This closure represents the loss of a well-used facility for Dundee and the winder region and I am asking HM Passport Office to reconsider their decision.

You can listen to the interview by clicking 'play' below :

Tuesday meetings

Yesterday, I had a number of meetings including :

* A site visit with council officers at Blackness Library to look at the best way of improving safety at the entrance steps when it is dark.   Officers are considering the options and I will be discussing them with West End Community Council and residents to get views on the best way of achieving the best outcome.

* The AGM of of the Bonnie Dundee group, at the City Chambers.   Bonnie Dundee encourages improvements to the Dundee environment and helps local groups who keep Dundee's parks, open areas, streets and gardens in good shape.   In addition to discussing the city's involvement in the Beautiful Scotland Awards and the It's Your Neighbourhood Campaign for 2016, there was also an excellent presentation on community garden initiatives across Dundee.

* A meeting of the Balgay Stakeholders' Group, which brings together local councillors, council parks/environment department staff and community representatives - in particular Friends of Balgay - to look at issues related to Balgay Park and its surrounds.   We had a good discussion on a number of initiatives including planned roads resurfacing in the cemetery, improved drainage in Lochee Park and tackling speeding issues and better signage across Greater Balgay.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Riverside composting operation - an action plan

As residents are aware, I recently undertook a visit to the composting operation at the Riverside Civic Amenity site, following complaints from residents to the north of the site last year about bad odours emanating from the area.    

I have now been given a useful update on the actions the City Council is taking to hopefully ensure the issue is not repeated this year – as follows:

"... following on from our site visit we have had an on site visit from a technical consultant from the accreditation body regarding our composting process.   Following that meeting we are proposing the following actions to our standard operating procedures:

1 - Reducing the composting process from 26 weeks to either 14 or 16 weeks;
2 - Reducing windrow turning from 5-7 turns down to 3-5 turns. (less agitation of material);
3 - Increasing frequency of shredding to reduce the amount of time green waste sits at the green waste reception area (less time to decompose and begin composting); and
4 - Only screening 0-20ml compost, 0-10ml compost will no longer be produced (less screening)

All of the above are subject to our windrows passing the validation tests at either 14 or 16 weeks for:

- Pathogens;
- Potentially toxic elements;
- Stability/maturity;
- Physical contaminants and stones;
- Plant response; and
- Weed seeds and propagulesas.

We shall be taking samples in the next few weeks once existing windrows have matured to the 14 and 16 week age.    These will be tested by an approved lab. If we can meet the minimum thresholds in the tests we will re-validate the whole process with the accreditation body at either 14 or 16 weeks.   We are quite confident this will be achievable.   This should hopefully assist in minimising any odours migrating off site."

Monday, February 22, 2016

Bin collection - Step Row

I have, in recent weeks, received residents' concerns about the bin collection in Step Row taking place late due to difficulties getting access for the bin lorry.  

I raised this matter with both environment management and City Development.    The Director of City Development has advised :

"A site inspection has been carried out in Step Row and it was observed that where the lower narrow section is, the existing lighting column is placed just behind the kerb line at the front of the footway and this is causing a pinchpoint which could be the reason why bin lorries are unable to pass.

As an alternative to extending the waiting restrictions which would reduce on street parking provision for residents, I have arranged to relocate the lighting column to the rear of the footway and this is currently programmed for February 2016." 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dundee Independent Advocacy Support - looking for volunteers

Dundee Independent Advocacy Support (DIAS) provides services for older people in Dundee including a telephone information line called DIAL-OP (Dundee Information and Advocacy Line for Older People).   The team are looking for volunteer befrienders – more information below :

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Ancrum Place/Morven Terrace sheltered housing - stairwells repainting

A number of the sheltered tenants at the Morven Terrace and Ancrum Place sheltered housing (see right) have mentioned to me that the external stairwells are badly needing painted.

I asked the Housing Department when the external cyclical maintenance programme that covers such repainting will next take place.

I am pleased to advise that I have now been informed that :

"Please be advised that the sheltered housing at Morven Place/Ancrum Place will be included in the 2016/2017 ECM Programme." 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Jericho House Support Group

Yesterday, I attended the latest meeting of the Jericho House support group, a regular meeting at which a number of us discuss fundraising and other projects to support this important facility in the West End Ward, that assists those recovering from alcoholism.

We had a further discussion on a number of matters including the April Open Day at Jericho House aimed at local organisations working in the alcohol and addiction fields, to showcase the work of Jericho House.     We also had a very positive update on the work of the Jericho House Social Committee and also discussed funding for gardening projects.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Notification from Scottish Hydro Electric : underground cable replacement

From Scottish Hydro Electric (SHE) Transmission :


Cllr Fraser Macpherson
Dundee City Council
City Chambers

Dundee City Transmission Cable Replacement

I am writing to advise you of engineering works that Scottish Hydro Electric (SHE) Transmission are required to undertake to replace a high voltage underground cable.   I have included a map which highlights the route of the cable that will be replaced.

The existing cable was installed in 1965 and has been essential in supplying power to local residents and businesses.  SHE Transmission engineers have maintained the 51 year old 132kV circuit however a decision has been made to invest £3m and construct a modern equivalent.

The engineering works will require five excavations within the public realm:  each excavation will be in the region of 11m x 4m but will require a working area of 20m x 5m for equipment and staff to work safely.  Two new cables, each over 1 mile long, will be threaded between the open excavations in sections then joined together.   The cables will be threaded through existing conduits to avoid large lengths of public highway or pavements.

The highly technical and challenging project will commence on 4 April 2016 and is programmed to take seven months to be completed.

Traffic management systems and diversion of footpaths will be required to protect the public and also our workforce.   A brief summary of the requirements as follows:

A923 Lochee Road, JB 1/2 –  An excavation  will be located mostly in the public footpath.   A traffic management system will see the A923 road slimmed down in two locations to accommodate a diverted footpath.   The road will remain open to traffic which will be able to pass with care.   The works are programmed to be undertaken between 25 April and 1 September 2016 and to take 20 weeks to complete.

A923 Lochee Road, JB 2/3 – The excavation is located in the road and will impact traffic turning left into Polepark Road from the City Centre, a traffic management system will see the sequencing of traffic lights staggered to accommodate single direction traffic.   The works are programmed to be undertaken between 18 April and 8 September 2016 and to take 23 weeks to complete.

Fleuchar Street, JB 3/4 – A road closure will be required as the excavation will take up a large section of the narrow public road.   The diversion around the excavation is 0.3 miles and would take approximately 1 minute by car.   Local access for residents, pedestrians, cyclists etc will be maintained whilst the excavation is open.   The road closure and associated works will be in operation from 11 April to 12 September 2016 and will last for 26 weeks.

Scott Street, JB 4/5 – The road is wide enough that traffic will be able to pass the works with care.   A Traffic Management System will be used to protect the public and workforce during the works.   The works are programmed to be undertaken between 4 April and 14 September 2016 and will take 26 weeks to complete.

Logie Avenue, Transmission Joint Bay – The final excavation will be mainly located on the grass area of the avenue, only minimal traffic management will be required.   Unfortunately an Elm tree has established a root system around the existing cable and also the next cable it links to.   We are concerned that our works will affect the root system and affect the tree’s stability in the future.   The works are programmed to be undertaken between 4 April and 16 September 2016 and will take 26 weeks to complete.

Following the review of options and discussions with Dundee City Council, we are proposing to remove the tree to avoid it falling unexpectedly in the future as a result of our works.

SHE Transmission will be engaging the specialist services of Balfour Beatty Utility Services (BBUS) and Nexans to undertake the project.   BBUS and Nexans are regarded as industry leaders in this filed of work and have recently completed two similar projects in Aberdeen, on behalf of SHE Transmission, to a high standard.

The works are being performed through our Permitted Development rights for underground electricity cables and are programmed to be undertaken between 0730 – 1900, Monday to Friday and 0730 – 1300 on Saturdays.    We do not anticipate the need to operate on Sundays unless an emergency situation arises.   Where works are in a residential zone, Fleuchar Street as an example, we will aim to begin the working day from 0800.

I will be preparing a letter to be delivered to residents in the vicinity of the works and also arranging the placement of a public notice in the Dundee Courier to advise residents of the pending engineering works.  I will make a point of contacting St Joseph’s Primary School and the Scottish Fire Brigade Station on Blackness Road given the potential effect to associated vehicle movements.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Weekly Road Report - West End Ward

DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL - WEEKLY ROAD REPORT

REPORT FOR WEST END WARD FOR WEEK COMMENCING MONDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2016

Perth Road (West Park Road to Grosvenor Road) – 2 temporary pedestrian crossing points for up to 3 weeks for footway construction works.

Balgay Road – off-peak temporary traffic lights from Wednesday 17 to Friday 19 February for Virgin Media duct laying.

You can read the weekly road report for the whole of the city here.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Zig zag safety markings and yellow lines - Blackness Primary School

Residents have complained to me that the zig zag safety markings and yellow lines outside Blackness Primary School in Pennycook Lane are badly worn - see right.

I brought this to the attention of the City Council's Head of Roads and Transportation, who has responded as follows :

"I will ask the parking team to include this location in next batch of yellow lining remarking.    It will be later this year that this can be undertaken as the temperatures are too low and road surface too wet to undertake at this time of year."


Friday, February 12, 2016

Friends of Riverside Nature Park

Last night, I attended the latest meeting of the Friends of Riverside Nature Park committee that took place at the Mitchell Street Centre.   

There were useful discussions on a whole host of issues, including environmental issues (including park drainage, fencing, etc), park management during the bird nesting season and forthcoming park events.

There’s a useful Friends of Riverside Nature Park Facebook page you can access here.

Be a Good Neighbour Campaign

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a "Be a Good Neighbour Campaign" event at Dundee University Students' Association.

DUSA invited relevant organisations to come along to the event to give information and advice in order to encourage a better community spirit between residents and students.   Those invited included Dundee City Council (including Environment, Landlord Registration and Anti-Social Behaviour teams) as well as Shelter Scotland and others.

It was a great, well-attended event and here's a photo from it below :

Thursday, February 11, 2016

No ward surgery tonight

As today is an in-service day at local schools, my usual ward surgery at Blackness Primary School does not take place but I can be contacted at any time at home on 459378 or by e-mail at surgery@frasermacpherson.org.uk

My surgeries resume again next Thursday (Monday is a school holiday - mid-term).

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

West End Community Council meeting

Last night, I attended the February meeting of West End Community Council.    

The well-attended meeting heard an interesting presentation on consultation on the Dundee Local Development Plan.  You can read more about this here.

There were discussions on a number of local issues including the on-going parking problems in parts of the West End.   I updated the Community Council on recent correspondence I had from the City Council on the matter and my view that this is an issue that must be revisiting by Dundee City Council.   

The Community Council is intending to discuss the parking issue further and this is to be welcomed.  

Another excellent Community Council initiative is a feedback form that will be available locally - such as in Blackness Library - to allow residents to give their feedback on local issues.  

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

West End Community Council Update

I have today launched my February 2016 Update to West End Community Council.    

Subjects covered include:

Perth Road Branch TSB closure 
West End road safety improvements   
Glamis Road area - pedestrian safety  

The Community Council meets tonight at Logie St John's (Cross) Church Hall at 7pm - all residents welcome.      

You can download my Update here.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Union Place car park

As residents know all too well, getting parked in the Union Place car park car be a challenge (as can parking on-street nearby or in the Pennycook Lane car park) given the large demand for parking in the area.    

A resident contacted me recently to suggest the possible removal of the unattractive flower beds (see right) in the car park to create more parking spaces.

I asked the parking team at the council about the viability of this and have received the following response.

"I refer to your email to look into the possibility of removing the large and rather ugly flower bed in the Union Place car park - the quote for this work has now been received from Tayside Contracts and the price is £11,257.

Unfortunately there is no budget available for this 'project' in the current financial year and it is unlikely that this would be deemed a priority for future year spends.

I'll place it on file should budget funding be made available in future years."

Sunday, February 07, 2016

West End road safety improvements

The City Council agreed to two road safety improvements in the West End some months ago - at the Blackness Road/Blackness Avenue junction and at the Perth Road/Riverside Drive junction.

I recently asked for an update on what was being proposed and the City Development Department has advised as follows :

"Blackness Road/Blackness Avenue Junction  :   Existing give way lines at Blackness Avenue to be removed and replaced further north towards Blackness Road.   This will improve sightlines with any parked cars along Blackness Road.   A requisition has been submitted for pricing to Tayside Contracts and we are currently awaiting the cost estimate.

Perth Road/Riverside Drive Junction :   Network Management is currently in consultation with activated signs suppliers to consider sign options.    This is to improve safety for road users travelling along Perth Road eastbound to highlight the junction and traffic merging from Perth Road westbound onto Riverside Drive north section/Perth Road."

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Glamis Road area - pedestrian safety

Back in 2014, at my request on behalf of constituents, the City Council provided a central refuge island on Glamis Road just north of the roundabout with Blackness Road/Glamis Drive to assist pedestrian safety.

Given the width of Glamis Road, I have since had requests for similar safety measures south of the roundabout and also towards the south end of the road, near its junction with Perth Road (see latter - right).

I raised this with the City Council and have been advised as follows :

"Glamis Road / Perth Road junction and Glamis Road / Blackness Road roundabout has been inspected and there is justification for central refuge traffic islands to be provided at these locations.

However due to the proposed budget cuts I am awaiting confirmation of the budgets for 2016/17 minor works.

With the likely budget cuts this scheme will have to compete with other minor works from the available budgets.

We will have to evaluate all schemes before confirming the works programme."

I will continue to press for these to be provided as soon as funding is available.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Complacent attitude over West End parking slammed

As reported in today’s Courier, I have slammed the council’s SNP administration for its wholly inadequate and complacent attitude towards tackling parking problems in the West End.

I recently called for a further consultation with residents over the area’s parking problems and am hugely unimpressed with the council’s ‘do nothing’ response to this.

As residents know, plans were previously put forward back in 2012 for residents to consider a residents’ parking scheme which would have given local residents priority for parking in the area of the West End south of Blackness Road and east of Windsor Street.    However, with permits being proposed at £80 a year, residents rejected the proposal as the planned West End scheme was 16 times more expensive than the parking scheme in Menzieshill, a price differential I consider unacceptable and discriminatory.

Since the failed consultation now some years ago, it is obvious from the level of complaints from residents that the parking situation is getting worse not better and that local people find it increasingly difficult to get parked near their homes.  

I therefore feel strongly that the council simply cannot walk away from the problem but must consider some further consultation on revised proposals – for example on a mix of different solutions each covering smaller areas, rather than the ‘wide area’ proposal suggested back in 2012.   Crucially, the council cannot expect to get public support for a parking scheme 16 times more expensive for residents than another council one in the city.   Schemes must be fair and consistent in charging policy.

I raised the matter again with the City Council and the Director of City Development has responded as follows :

“I have consulted with my convener on this issue and our position is that this issue was fully tested through a formal public consultation on a Residents Parking Scheme for the area, but this was firmly rejected by local residents.    Our resources have therefore moved onto to other priority areas.

“We will of course always try to assist with minor localised adjustments to waiting restrictions through our annual report to committee, but I am unable to revisit the issue of residents parking provision in the West End at this time.”

The SNP administration may well have “moved on” but it has done so having failed to tackle the major parking problems in this part of the West End and I view this complacency as hugely concerning.   

However, if the administration intends to sit on its hands and do nothing to help West End residents, they’ll find I take a different view and I will therefore be bringing the issue to the council’s City Development Committee so the parking problems can be properly debated and discussed and a further consultation given proper consideration.  

It is simply not good enough for the administration to have a ‘do nothing’ approach so I have formally requested a debate on the parking issue is brought before committee as soon as possible.

The administration wants to sweep this issue under the carpet but I am unprepared to let that happen.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Community Spirit Action Group

Last night, I attended the February meeting of Community Spirit Action Group - the community group for the "north" part of West End Ward, covering Pentland, Tullideph, Ancrum and the Cleghorn area.   

The meeting took place at the Mitchell Street Centre and there was an excellent presentation by Barry Farquharson of the Friends of Riverside Nature Park about the birdlife in the nature park.   Barry was really interesting, informative and entertaining and everyone really enjoyed his talk.

The meeting was also a good opportunity to discuss local issues and I updated the group about a number of matters including bus services and bin collection issues.

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Friends of Riverside Nature Park - next meeting

The next meeting of the Friends of Riverside Nature Park Committee will take place on Thursday 11th February at 6pm* at the Mitchell Street Centre.

Amongst other things, the group is looking to develop a programme of events and activities for 2016.  

The meetings are open to the public so all are very welcome.

*NB : Note earlier start time of 6pm.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Finish the Tower project exhibition

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending the opening of the 'Finish the Tower' project exhibition at Logie and St John's (Cross) Church, the results of a competition involving Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design architecture students to find an imaginative solution to the church's unfinished church tower. 

The ideas proposed and the standard of work produced is excellent - really imaginative and interesting.   The exhibition is open all week (details here).

Here's a couple of photos to give a flavour of the superb work undertaken by the DJCAD students :


Riverside composting operation - site visit

Last summer and autumn, on behalf of local residents, I again raised the problem of bad odours emanating from the composting operation at the Riverside Civic Amenity site and impacting on households to the immediate north of Riverside Avenue, mainly around the western end of Perth Road and adjacent streets.

At the time, the Environment Director agreed that the council's corporate Health and Safety team review the existing arrangements and working practices.

Yesterday, I undertook a site visit to the composting operation to see what steps are being taken to tackle the smell issue - the Corporate Health and Safety team review is not yet complete (and I will be advised in due course of all the recommendations and actions) but meantime, the department is looking at ways of speeding up the windrows-turning process which would assist addressing the smell problem, which is welcome.

Here's a couple of photos from my site visit today :
Garden waste awaiting the composting process
Windrows, as part of the composting process

Dundee air quality concerns - council brings in consultants to tackle concerns

I have welcomed news that Dundee City Council has engaged expert consultants to look in-depth at the air quality problems at two locations – Lochee Road and Seagate – and recommend possible steps that could further improve the air quality in these areas.

The City Council’s Head of Community Safety and Protection has advised me that the council has commissioned two consultants- SAIS & Bureau Veritas - to undertake scenario testing of possible traffic management solutions and other mitigation options covering the Lochee Road.   The council is awaiting the outcome the assessments of the Lochee Road expert work and expects to receive the final reports by the end of March.   

In relation to Seagate, JMP Consultants has been commissioned to undertake a review of the transport issues currently being experienced by all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, bus users and operators, taxi users and operators, hauliers, cars, residents and business.   This has the aim of identifying options that would improve traffic movement and reduce air pollution concentrations.    In the case of Seagate, the council has received a draft report which recommends a traffic management solution for the area and the proposals are currently being considered. 

I welcome the work being undertaken to look at possible additional measures of improve air quality in these areas, although any proposals will have to be carefully considered.     It is vital there is a proactive approach to tackling the air quality issue.   

I have raised this on numerous occasions with the council in the past and we need to see a situation where no Dundee streets have unacceptable air quality.   A significant number of my own constituents live in the tenement flats on the south side of Lochee Road near to the junction where nitrogen dioxide are unacceptably high.   It is therefore important that the council has a clear strategy for improving air quality here.

Recent work by Friends of the Earth again highlighted concerns about air quality in the two streets in Dundee as being amongst the most polluted in Scotland.   The full details are below:

Top 10 most polluted streets for nitrogen dioxide in 2015 (figures in microgrammes per cubic meter, European standard 40): 

St. John's Road Edinburgh: 65 microgrammes
Hope Street Glasgow: 60 microgrammes
Seagate, Dundee: 50 microgrammes
Atholl Street, Perth: 48 microgrammes
Lochee Road, Dundee: 48 microgrammes
Union Street, Aberdeen: 46 microgrammes
Queensferry Road, Edinburgh: 41 microgrammes
Wellington Road, Aberdeen: 41 microgrammes