Frequently arising issues: where I stand

A huge number of constituents have emailed in about a plethora of issues. Some are simple with an easy fix and others much more complex or contentious. In brief, here I outline my position on a few issues that have come up recently. These are by no means the full extent of my thoughts about the subject, however, and I would be happy to engage further on the issues below.

Short-Term Lets

Addressing the issue of short-term lets in a satisfactory way is fundamental for the future success of our city and the way in which we all live together.

I am of the view that short-term lets require far greater regulation than is currently in place. Nonetheless, this issue is multifaceted and the views of residents, hospitality owners, managers & owners of short-term lets must be considered before a decision takes place.

The Scottish Government consultation on short-term lets ran from June 25th– August 13th. A stakeholder working group was developed in order to understand any concerns and suggestions, in order to get this vital legislation absolutely right for those it will have an impact on.

Furthermore, the City of Edinburgh Council Planning Committee met on the 11th of August and made a number of recommendations, including the proposal of a 6 week consultation period which is due to launch next month. I would strongly encourage all those with an interest or opinion on this matter to engage with the consultation when it goes live.

Back Off Scotland Campaign

All women in Scotland should have access to safe and legal abortion services, and should not feel harassed or intimidated when accessing these services.

In Scotland, Councils have the powers to make by-laws, so these offer local authorities a means of imposing measures suited to local circumstances – and that may include measures to restrict protests or other gatherings where that’s appropriate.

Further, the Programme for Government includes a commitment to support any local authority who wishes to use by-laws to establish buffer zones – and we would invite them to do so as the swiftest way to have such zones enacted.

GRA Reform

I am hugely aware of the strength of feeling about this issue. It is a source of considerable regret that the issue of gender recognition reform has become so polarised and plagued with misinformation. The gender recognition reform proposals simplify the process of obtaining a gender recognition certificate for trans people. This has no legal or practical implications for the established rules around access to single-sex spaces. I support the GRA reform legislation.

For further information, please see the Scottish Government’s consultation analysis which addresses the concerns you raise.

Bin Hubs

This is the issue about which I have received the greatest volume of correspondence. Needless to say, the way in which refuse is collected is of fundamental importance to our living environment and the wider city aesthetics. I know there is significant opposition to the replacement of ‘gull-proof bags’ in the new town, and concern about the size of the new bins elsewhere. I am in the process of gathering views from Edinburgh Central residents on this matter so I can make representations to the City of Edinburgh Council and other stakeholders. If you are a constituent, please do contribute to the survey.

Vaccine Certification

Coronavirus vaccine certificates are required to enter certain events and high-risk venues, such as nightclubs, music festivals, and some football grounds, as approved in Parliament recently.

Covid cases continue to rise in Scotland and to avoid disruption to the economy as far as possible, proof of vaccination will allow us to continue to progress through this next stage of the pandemic. It is common practice across Europe in a much more comprehensive way, and has helped reduce case numbers. My SNP colleagues and I do not want to reimpose any restrictions that have been in place for much of this year as we are acutely aware of the harm they have caused to businesses, education, and to people’s general wellbeing. As such I believe vaccine certification is necessary, and I support its use in helping tackle coronavirus.