Edinburgh’s Water Vision

Climate change is going to impact on our lives in more ways than we can even imagine. In response to this, new developments and existing buildings in Edinburgh will have to change in order to support the needs of people. We will also need to consider how public realm, open space, infrastructure and streets are designed, agreed, constructed and maintained.

One of the ways we are preparing Edinburgh for these changes is through our Vision for Management of Water in the City of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh’s Water Vision is;

To develop a long-term and sustainable approach to river, coastal and storm water management across the city and its environs, respecting our unique historic heritage. This will involve all stakeholders and address the flooding and water quality risks associated with our changing climate as a result of changes in rainfall and sea level rise.

One key aim of the report is the need to manage the first 5mm of rainfall within every new development plot.

This is a big change for both planning and building standards, and will require building more raingardens, green roofs and other sustainable urban drainage features.

This will help more plants and wildlife to grow and create greener places for people to live, work and visit. It will also support healthier, happier and better off communities.

A greener city will make our neighbourhoods cooler, helping them become more resilient to heatwaves. This is important as our changing climate means extreme weather events like heatwaves are expected to increase.

Improving drainage

Much of Edinburgh has a historic combined sewer network. This means it carries both sewage and surface water to treatment works.

Our Vision for Management of Water will reduce the amount of clean surface water within the sewer network. This will help cut sewer flooding during heavy rainfall.

We also have a range of  Planning Flood guidance available to help. This will help people to design landscapes which, as well as holding back water to reduce flooding, will encourage plants and wildlife to grow.

As well as making these places nicer to spend time in, plants and wildlife will help to naturally clean rainwater before it reaches our rivers and streams.

This new way of working will enable the development of a city that is adaptive and resilient to climate change, that is also beautiful and biodiverse delivering a healthier, thriving and compact city with a higher quality of life for all residents.

The idea is to deliver transformational change in the way that water is valued and managed in the city.

Leith tour with German students

Hello again everyone,

On Thursday (4/8/16), Katie and I had the pleasure of co-ordinating and hosting a tour of Leith Waterfront at the request of a group of students from Rurh University in Bochum, Germany. They are going to be doing a project comparing significant, up-and-coming waterfront locations in the UK against European examples, studying the different approaches to waterfront development, as well as the challenges of the different locations and lessons to be learned from each city.

Fellow students from Ruhr University
Fellow students from Ruhr University

When they contacted us with the request, Katie and I agreed we would rise to the challenge and take on this great opportunity. We spent time doing our ‘homework’ on the area; we went on site, read development plans, articles, and conversed with folk to get a feel for the area from a local’s perspective. We learnt a lot, and it was interesting to review plans for the waterfront and the challenges it has faced over the past decade.

Nervous is an understatement as to how we were feeling as we walked to meet the students, however, they were great – so friendly and eager to learn. The tour went really well; we took them round Western Harbour, across to Ocean Terminal and finished on the top level of the car park, you could say we finished on a ‘high note’. The group spoke very positively about Edinburgh and presented Katie and I with little gifts all the way from Bochum. We wish them all the best for their project, future studies and who knows we may meet again in the future as the upcoming generation of planners in our countries.

Tokens of appreciation from Bochum, Germany
Tokens of appreciation from Bochum, Germany

Such a joy, thank-you to the group, it was our pleasure.

Katie and Luke.