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Parent councils raise 'deep concerns' over Edinburgh's back-to-school plan

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

Lewis and Alex Scott
Stef Scott

Parent council leaders in Edinburgh have raised "deep concerns" about plans for children to return to schools on a part-time basis.

Pupils in the city could attend schools as little as one day a week under plans to reopen schools in August.

In a letter to Edinburgh city council, 11 parent councils warn the proposals will affect the "education, social and emotional wellbeing" of children.

And they said parents' ability to work would be "severely hindered".

Read more here

Swinney: Pupils should be back in class for half of the school week

Good Morning Scotland

BBC Radio Scotland

Mr Swinney is asked about the amount of time he expects children to eventually spend in schools. The education secretary says trying to get to 50% of time spent in class "should be our objective". He says the suggestion by Edinburgh city council that pupils may only return for one day a week "is not strong enough".

We have to use schools but also leisure facilities, public halls, church halls, town halls and vacant accommodation that is safe to maximise the opportunities.

John SwinneyEducation Secretary

Severe disruption: A9000 City Of Edinburgh both ways

BBC News Travel

A9000 City Of Edinburgh both ways severe disruption, between A904 Builyeon Road and M90 J1B.

A9000 City Of Edinburgh - A9000 Forth Road Bridge in Queensferry closed in both directions between Echline Roundabout and Ferrytoll, because of a police investigation.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Lockdown: Council tax ‘won’t be waived’ on empty flats

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

Dalry in Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s council leader has refused to waive council tax on landlords’ flats that are empty due to the coronavirus lockdown in the city.

Adam McVey, said they needed to continue to collect the money to support vulnerable residents and pay for essential services like waste collections.

Small time landlords in the city with just one or two flats said paying for council tax was crippling.

Many tenants left rental property when the lockdown was announced causing landlords to be left with empty flats as they are not allowed to do viewings.

Call for council tax to be waived on empty flats

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

Dalry in Edinburgh

Edinburgh landlords are calling on council officials to waive council tax on properties which are lying empty due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Landlords are unable to conduct viewings of their flats to prospective tenants during the restrictions. Currently they only receive a 10% discount if the flat is empty.

John Davidson, 40, lost both his tenants at his two flats in Edinburgh's Dalry and Stockbridge when the lockdown was announced.

He said: "Normally they are really easy to rent out but I'm not allowed to do viewings just now so I've been left picking up the bills. I'm desperate to rent them out.

“You would think that while we are all in this together the council tax would be waived on empty flats.”

Traffic banned from three Edinburgh roads to aid distancing

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

Silverknowes Road in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Council is banning traffic from three city roads to make more space for pedestrians and cyclists during the coronavirus lockdown.

The bottom of Silverknowes Road, heading towards the Cramond foreshore promenade, has been closed, while Braid Road and Links Gardens will shut from Sunday.

It is one of the first local authorities in the UK to introduce emergency measures to help pedestrians and cyclists to travel safely while observing physical distancing guidance.

Adam McVey, City of Edinburgh Council leader, said: "The way we move around the city has changed significantly over recent weeks and it's clear that we need to respond to this.

"We've been working closely with the Scottish government to develop measures to help pedestrians and cyclists travel safely while remaining socially distant."

Garden waste bin collection to resume in Edinburgh

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

Brown bin

Garden waste brown bin collections are to restart in Edinburgh from 11 May.

The service was suspended in April as part of the city’s response to the coronavirus crisis.

It follows the return of workers from self isolation, as well as the bedding in of new collection arrangements.

Anyone with a garden waste permit will be compensated for the break in service.

Adam McVey, City of Edinburgh Council’s leader, said: “We’ve made every effort to continue to run core services, including waste collections, and I’m grateful to residents for their understanding of why we’ve had to make some temporary changes under these extraordinary circumstances.”

Coronavirus: Edinburgh kerbside glass collection resumes

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

Kerbside glass recycling collections in Edinburgh will resume next week after being suspended under changes to help the city respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

Blue box collection for glass recycling will start again from Tuesday.

The service was stopped in March to help prioritise resources for other essential bin collections while enabling waste collection crews to observe social distancing guidelines.

Adam McVey, City of Edinburgh Council leader, said: “Following the return of several team members from absence, as well as the bedding in of new collection arrangements, we will be able to reintroduce kerbside glass recycling collections.”

Coronavirus: Thousands seek alternative garden waste service

Angie Brown

BBC Scotland news reporter

John Steven
John Steven

A landscape gardener has been receiving thousands of calls from people asking for their garden waste to be removed after the council stopped its brown bin uplift during the coronavirus lockdown.

John Steven, director of Woodland Maintenance Services in Edinburgh, said he had been missing up to 600 calls a day after offering the service in a post on Facebook.

The 32-year-old said he had even received calls from Glasgow, North Berwick and Falkirk.

He has been uplifting brown wheelie bins for £4 and black bin bags for £1 since City of Edinburgh Council stopped its service on Tuesday.

The local authority said it was looking into reimbursing people who had signed up to its annual £25 scheme.

Read more

Coronavirus: Bonfires banned at allotments

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

Bonfires have been banned at allotments across Edinburgh during the coronavirus lockdown in a bid to keep the air clear for people who are self-isolating.

All 1,724 plot holders at 30 sites in the capital have been told to compost rather than burn vegetation during this period.

Stuart McKenzie, president of the Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotments and Gardens Association told BBC Scotland: “I have put this in place because during the current lockdown people are isolating in their homes. They rely on fresh air from windows as they are unable to leave.

“We must help them by not creating any pollution that could make their condition worse.

“Build a compost heap instead and put all those nutrients back into the soil.”


Coronavirus: Gorgie Farm appeals for vets

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

An Edinburgh city farm is looking for volunteers with vet and animal caring experience to help during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Although Love Gorgie Farm is currently operating as a foodbank and is closed to visitors their team is still working behind closed doors to take care of the animals

The owner is now looking to build a database of volunteers who would be able to step in if any members of the team fell sick or needed to self-isolate.

The farm opened its doors to the public last month after the previous farm on the site went into liquidation in November.

Love Gorgie Farm
Kinga Bellan

ScotRail passsenger numbers down 75%

Ene Maria
Edinburgh’s normally busy Waverley Station is almost empty

Scotland's main rail operator has seen a dramatic fall in passenger numbers because of the coronavirus outbreak.

ScotRail said there has been about a 75% reduction in passenger numbers, year-on-year.

Trains were busy at the start of the week despite advice to limit travel to essential journeys only.

However, most people are now staying away from rail services it appears.

Edinburgh’s normally busy Waverley Station has become almost empty, with staff out-numbering the passengers left trying to catch the few trains that are still running.

Coronavirus: Plan to protect people from homelessness

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

Plans have been put in place to protect people facing homelessness during the coronavirus outbreak in Edinburgh.

• Dedicated team set up to co-ordinate city's support for homeless• Hotels, self-contained flats and halls of residence could be used• Care packages including food to be delivered

Cowgate in Edinburgh