Forth Ports ensures new housing is eco-friendly

The Western Harbour housing development at the Port of Leith in Edinburgh is “going green” with a new proposal to significantly reduce the consented number of car parking spaces on-site alongside other incentives to reduce carbon emissions and plans to create an environmental education centre.

As part of its wider net zero agenda for the Port of Leith, Forth Ports submitted an amended outline planning application to City of Edinburgh Council to actively drive the adoption of green energy and reduce CO2 emissions at the £250m development of the first 938 homes at Western Harbour. Planning permission for the latest phase in this development of one, two and three bedroom homes was granted in June 2020 but Forth Ports no longer believes that these proposals are sufficient to achieve its, and the city’s, carbon reduction aspirations.

The principal features of the amended plans 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, including an Education Centre that 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

The centre will aim to integrate information on domestic and transport energy use to give residents an overview of energy usage trends and costs, encouraging them to use the alternatives on offer.

Forth Ports is in dialogue with E-car sharing companies to design a package specifically for residents of Western Harbour, to tie into the “Go Green” Hub.

Charles Hammond, Chief Executive Officer of Forth Ports Group, said:

“At Forth Ports, we are committed to supporting reducing carbon emissions, 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 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.  

“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.”

The “Go Green” Hub’s Education Centre will be the first of its kind in Scotland and an important new attraction in Leith. It will also feature a CO2 emissions clock – a constant reminder to residents of how much they are cutting carbon emissions by adopting this approach. The education centre will be made available to Edinburgh schoolchildren and teachers as a resource to learn about sustainability issues.

The development will deliver 2,000 homes over the next five years, and also includes one of the largest parks to be created in Edinburgh in 150 years – at 4.4 hectares, bigger than West Princes Street Gardens. The combination of this new park, the development’s carbon and energy efficient heating system and its “Go Green” Hub and Education Centre will make Western Harbour one of the most environmentally friendly housing developments in the City of Edinburgh.

In the currently consented plans for Western Harbour, car parking was to have been accommodated through parking decks which will now be omitted and replaced with 10,950 sq.m. of landscaped areas, directly accessible from the homes on-site and saving an estimated 4,555 tonnes of CO2e.

Western Harbour will enjoy 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.