Stinky Seafield stakeholders meeting 24/9/21
This twice-yearly meeting is held to update the community on work at the problematic and often stinky Seafield Plant, and allow us to air our complaints and seek improvements.
It is chaired by our MSP and attended by SEPA, Scottish Water, Veolia (the site operator), and Councillors and Council employees, along with Reps from our Community Council and the Leith LInks Residents’ Association.
We have had some success in enabling the Community Council to set up a better complaints system and get commitments from the Scottish Government to spend £10 million between now and 2024, (short-term improvement funding) and £100 million from 2029 for a ‘State of the Art’ Plant.
At this meeting we found that everyone but the community representatives believed that the lack of smells in the first few months of the year had continued, so we had to make it clear that there had been huge smell problems in the area throughout August and early September-all through the good weather in fact.
I read excerpts from people’s complaints to illustrate how far-reaching and how distressing smells were in their effect of people’s quality of life. Here are a few:
· Can’t wash my clothes and dry them without the smell clinging to them
· Had to close all the windows again on a very hot night
· Smells like hot sewage
· Its 15 degrees at 8am and I’ve had to shut all my windows already and stay in on what is going to be a beautiful hot day
· The smell getting into the house is the worst part
· Makes me boke
· It was absolutely stinking across the whole area when I left at 7.30am and still stinking when I got home at 4pm
· I’m recovering from illness, I need to take short walks, and I can’t
· It’s all exacerbated by hot weather
How it makes people feel?
· Sick, nauseous, headache, depressed
· Embarrassing to have family visiting leith
· Due to health issues, I’m still on lockdown, so my mental health is affected
· angry and upset that people can’t enjoy the open space of the links on a beautiful afternoon
Scottish water outlined the continuing plans for the short-term funding; they are currently in the design and procurement phase. The actual work will not be carried out until 2023-4. So we can’t expect much improvement before then.
We complained about the fact that it took our wee Community Council to set up a complaints system that people can use, in preference to the Council’s slow and clunky one.
These big organisations have the resources and should be doing this as a duty to local people. It was eventually agreed that Scottish Water should meet with us to look at improving it the systems for complaining. The real purpose of such a system is to put continuous pressure on Veolia and Scottish Water, and this has certainly worked in that much greater efforts are being made to control smells from this old and unfit-for-purpose site.
So it’s really important that everyone who experiences smells should use the complaints system. It’s easy to do so, just go to www.leithlinkscc.org.uk, and click on the bright yellow box at the top right of the page.