Take pride in your city – June 2020 newsletter #takepridedundee #dundee

 
The Take Pride in your city newsletter gives an update on the great work undertaken by Dundee’s environmental and horticultural groups.
 
The June 2020 newsletter includes updates about the Gate Church Carbon Saving Project, the Bonnie Dundee Group and Ninewells Community Garden.
 
You can read the newsletter here

Biodiversity initiatives for the West End and across the city

Numerous constituents have contacted me and the City Council’s environment team in Neighbourhood Services about trying to keep biodiversity gains as the maintenance of parks and other open-spaces re-starts.   Residents will shortly notice the maintenance in parks and open space areas starts up again as there has been good progress with the re-start of ‘phase one’ of the resumption of services – for example in cemeteries and sheltered housing areas.
 
The Head of Environment has advised :
 
“… over the last 3 months, I have received substantial correspondence from residents requesting that the council actively considers not defaulting to previous grounds maintenance programmes, particularly in relation to reinstating grass cutting and herbicide usage. That, instead, the council takes this opportunity to consider a reset within our parks and green spaces which allows the further rapid development and expansion of bio-diverse and naturalised areas.
 
As the service emerges out of lockdown, in managing our environment there is also a requirement to balance active promotion of conservation practices and the desires of many within our communities with the need to maintain high environmental standards which also respects the wishes of our many other residents who wish to see a priority towards returning parks and green spaces to a high level of maintenance, preferably being restored at the earliest opportunity. 
 
Recently, residents within the city’s West End, through discussion with local members, their Community Council and the Friends of Magdalen Green, have been working with council officers to undertake a community consultation. This actively seeks the views of residents to determine the appetite for a number of naturalised zones to be created; and for their potential future development as biodiversity areas which actively promotes the preservation of species and development of wider ecosystems. 
 
Please see the link here.
 
It is hoped that the Magdalen Green consultation will provide a useful benchmark from which similar community initiatives, where required, can be replicated across the city to ensure that local spaces are managed to meet the aspirations of the wider communities, which they serve. 
 
In the meantime, however, there is a requirement, prior to commencing with the wider reinstatement of grass cutting operations,  to consider the immediate opportunity for additional locations throughout the city to be re-evaluated to support the wider introduction of biodiversity and naturalised areas at a quicker pace. This window is only available at this time due to the unique circumstances that have arisen over the last couple of months through routine maintenance having ceased, due to the pandemic. 
 
In preparation, officers have undertaken an extensive citywide survey which has initially identified over 700,000m2 of parks and green spaces (around 17.5% of the overall grass that is currently maintained within Dundee’s parks and green spaces), which can be immediately designated as provisional Biodiversity or Naturalised Zones. These areas have been carefully selected from within each ward in the city. 
 
The proposal initially is that as wider grounds maintenance activities resume citywide, these zones will be clearly defined and no further grass cutting or herbicide treatment will take place forthwith. It should also be noted that, through careful selection, these zones are being created within wider areas where a full range of grounds and parks maintenance activities will resume. It is therefore anticipated that these will not impact in any significant way to the overall appearance of the park or green space which they contribute towards. Indeed, it is likely in many cases, through the development of biodiversity zones and wildflower areas, these areas will actively enhance the beauty of our parks and green spaces.
 
It is also worth noting that careful attention has been taken, in identifying these proposed zones, that they will not impinge on existing pathways, sight lines, or within close proximity of residents homes. Similarly, care has been taken to ensure that the existing natural desire lines used by park users and particularly dog walkers will be unaffected by these proposals. There may also need for similar community engagement, to that currently underway at Magdalen Green, where required, however it is anticipated that there equally may be broad acceptance of these proposals, given the current collective support towards the protection and enhancement of our environment.
 
In summary, I believe that the above represents a significant and positive shift towards delivering upon actions that have been identified both within the city’s Biodiversity Plan and underlines a renewed focus towards our wider responsibility to the environment and reinvigorating our parks.”
 
In the West End, the actual proposals for naturalised areas are below.   They cover part of the area on Riverside Drive near the playing fields and sections of Lochee Park, Victoria Park and at Elliot Road.  There’s also Magdalen Green as the Head of Environment has alluded to above and you can see the areas consulted upon there at the link in his above comments.
 
I have spoken with the Head of Environment about this and given him some feedback.    For example, the Elliot Road proposals, in my view, have the potential to look untidy and some residents on Eton Street look right out onto this.   However, what is important is that, once open space and parks maintenance is fully back up to date, residents see what these actually look like, give their views and the council listens to any concerns and is responsive to them.

 

 

 

Minibeast Home Hunt

 
From Dundee Rangers Service :
 
What sort of buzzing and crawling things live in your garden or local green space? Join the Dundee Rangers Service online and share what you’ve found. 
 
We might not be able to get to you, but by the magic of modern communications you can share film/pictures of your discoveries with us and we can tell you about them. We’ll be online waiting for your queries and will do our best to answer them! 
 
Remember to be careful not to hurt yourselves or the animals you’re filming. Use gloves and small paintbrushes (to brush the creatures gently into something you can film them in like a jar or white tray). 
 
Stay safe and have fun!   More details are available at www.facebook.com/events/1119556745091476 – the event takes place tomorrow – Wednesday 13th May.

Council Advice Services during the COVID-19 health emergency

Council Advice Services and the Scottish Welfare Fund continue to provide essential services throughout the COVID – 19 crisis.
 
The service will provide advice and assistance with:
 
+ Money Advice
+ Debts
+ Benefits
+ Energy Advice and much more
 

Air quality improvements must not be lost across Dundee

I have called on Dundee City Council to ensure the significant improvements in air quality that have taken place during the COVID-19 lockdown and sharp reduction as vehicle usage is not lost when normality hopefully returns in the coming months.   
 
As residents know, I have long campaigned on air quality issues, particularly in relation to Lochee Road where, as recently as January 2020, I again highlighted my concern that, yet again, leading air quality campaigners Friends of the Earth had highlighted air quality concerns in Lochee Road in its Scotland’s most polluted streets survey, with Seagate in the city also highlighted in the January national air quality survey.   
 
The current health emergency is a very challenging time for everyone and will continue to be so for some time.     However, the air quality levels across Dundee with far less vehicle usage currently taking place has significantly improved.      All air quality monitoring sites show particulates and nitrogen dioxide levels are down to low.     Mean levels of nitrogen dioxide have reduced by some 68% in recent weeks on Lochee Road and nitric oxide by 55%.     Many constituents have commented on the welcome and obvious air quality improvement and that’s not just at the streets that have a known air quality concern normally.
 
Last week, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air published research showing many likely long-term health benefits from the pollution reductions in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, including fewer children developing asthma, fewer preterm births and fewer deaths long-term from better air.  You can read the research at https://energyandcleanair.org/air-pollution-deaths-avoided-in-europe-as-coal-oil-plummet/ 
 
Of course vehicle traffic will increase as we hopefully get through the current COVID-19 health emergency and business, work and leisure traffic increases again, but I am adamant that the improvements in air quality must be maintained, particularly at the long-established areas of air quality concern in the city, including parts of Lochee Road in the West End.
 
I have written to senior council officers asking for detail of the particulates and nitrogen dioxide levels that have been monitored over the past six weeks and asked them to consider what steps are necessary to maintain the air quality improvements, particularly at what are normally the air quality hotspots in Dundee.
 
It is a very challenging time due to the COVID-19 emergency.     However, there is the possibility of one positive outcome from this challenging period as we hopefully come out of the emergency in the months ahead – cleaner air – and the council must act to ensure that cleaner air is a long-term benefit to everyone in the city.

Dundee Rainbows!



Rainbows have become a symbol of hope during this challenging time and Dundee City Council would love to share them!  
🌈   🌈


It is looking to update the side bar images you see on its website with lots and lots of pictures of your rainbows!


Please use the #DundeeRainbows hashtag on Facebook or Twitter with them!    🎨

54th Annual Photographic Competition and Exhibition

 
Entries to the city’s 54th Annual Photographic Competition are now welcome, with a closing date of 3rd February 2020
 
Open to all photographers living within the boundaries of Dundee, and to all members of Dundee Photographic Society, the competition is run every year in conjunction with Dundee City Council.
 
Full details are available here and if you have any queries, please contact Dundee City Council, Neighbourhood Services on 434781.

Temporary Traffic Order – Saturday 28th September 2019

From the City Council :
 
THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984, SECTION 14(1) 
 
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of the Dundee Pensioners Forum Parade HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in:
 
1 Johnston’s Lane
2 West Port (Johnston’s Lane to South Tay Street)
3 South Tay Street
4 Nethergate (at DCA)
 
This notice comes into effect on Saturday 28 September 2019 from 12:00hrs to 12:30hrs.
 
Closures will be enforced by Police Scotland officers.
 
No diversion routes will be available.
 
For further information contact 433275.
 
Head of Roads & Transportation
Dundee City Council

Blackness General Economic Development Area – consultation event

Later this week, City Council planners will commence consulting on their proposed Design Framework for the future development of the Blackness General Economic Development Area (GEDA).
 
The proposed framework will be subject to a six week consultation, which will start with a drop-in event at Verdant Works.
 
The Blackness GEDA drop-in event will take place at Verdant Works this Thursday (29th August) from 12 noon to 7pm.
 
Planning officers will be on hand to outline the proposed Design Framework, discuss any issues and to gather any thoughts and ideas from those who attend.
 
Further information on the event is available here.

Swallow roundabout improvements – an update

Further to the concerns in yesterday’s “Courier” about safety at the Swallow roundabout that borders the West End Ward, Lochee Ward and the Perth and Kinross council boundary, I have had requests asking about progress with improvements to the road network here.
 
The council’s Head of Planning and Economic Development has advised me :
 
“The Swallow junction is on the A90 trunk road and is therefore the responsibility of Transport Scotland/BEAR.    The Council has been involved in the consideration of the proposals to upgrade it to accommodate the housing developments being built to the west of Dundee at Dykes of Gray Road.
 
As you will be aware, planning permission was granted for these developments subject to a condition requiring the upgrading of the Swallow junction.  Planning permission was subsequently applied for and granted for works to upgrade the existing roundabout to a signalised junction similar to that at Myrekirk.  The main developer (Springfield Properties) intend to carry out the improvement works themselves in conjunction with Transport Scotland/BEAR.
 
The developer had previously advised the Council of the intention to commence works to improve the junction in May of this year.  However, an issue over the ownership of a section of land has delayed progress.  The works will commence once this issue has been resolved.  If the land ownership issue cannot be resolved timeously, the developer has indicated that the proposals will be amended to allow them to carry out the required improvements to the junction.”

Voting – annual census canvass form

The City Council has reminded residents not to lose their democratic voice by making sure they complete and return the annual canvass form to their local Electoral Registration Office.
 
Forms, which ensure that anyone not on the Electoral Register can register to allow them to take part in future elections, were issued just over a week ago.
 
A spokesperson for the electoral registration office said :
 
“It is important that residents respond as soon as possible, so we can make sure we have the right details on the electoral register for every address in Dundee.
 
“Check the form when it arrives and respond as soon as you can, and that way you will be certain you’ll be able to have your say at elections.
 
“If you’re not registered at the moment, your name will not appear on the form. If you want to register, the easiest way is at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, or we’ll send you information in the post explaining how to do it.    In any case, you will still need to complete the form and send it back to us.”
 
People who have changed address recently are particularly encouraged to keep an eye out for the form and check the details when it arrives.
 
Any residents who have any questions can contact the electoral registration team at on 434444.

Getting things done – road safety #dundeewestend

As residents are aware, I have long campaigned for further road safety improvements in the West End including “Twenty’s Plenty” in residential areas where there is local support for this and use of vehicle activated speed limit signs.     
 
There are currently two such signs in the West End on Blackness Road (east of Balgay Park) and Perth Road (near Clovis Duveau Drive) and I have campaigned for more of these at the request of residents – for example on City Road and Perth Road east of Harris Academy.
 
I highlighted at the council’s City Development Committee recently that the council does not actually have a policy for the use of vehicle activated speed limit signs – eg new sites, priority and rotation of signs.
 
The Head of Roads and Transportation thereafter updated me as follows :
 
“I have taken on board your comments below and the matters as raised at the City Development Committee and we will be developing a procedure for recording, prioritising and rotating the Vehicle Activated speed signage.  
 
Some of the older signs are fixed (owing to their design) however we will look at the type and provision and design of a rotational programme of sights around the city.  
 
There are obviously restricted financial budgets.  However there are opportunities through funding streams such as the Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets initiative and other competitive packages that I will encourage us to follow through.”

Save the 204 bus!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Jeanetta Black for her letter in Thursday’s “Evening Telegraph” regarding the council’s axing of the 204 bus :
 
 
The campaign to save the 204 is far from being over and, like Jeanetta, I share the concern that the so-called Blether Bus “alternative” service the council is suggesting is simply not fit for purpose.    The “service” utilises council mini-buses that many older folk and people with mobility difficulties will not be able to access.
 
I have now queried the legal position with Dundee City Council’s Head of Democratic and Legal Services.    Local authorities had a responsibility in Part 5 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 that required all land-based transport vehicles to be accessible to disabled people including those who need to remain in wheelchairs.    These responsibilities transferred to the 2010 Equality Act and there is now also a public sector equality duty in Scotland.    
 
Meantime, the petition to save the 204 bus has gathered momentum with over 260 local residents signing it.    It can be signed at www.tinyurl.com/savethe204.

Temporary Traffic Order – Nethergate

From the City Council :
 
THE ROAD TRAFFIC REGULATION ACT 1984 – SECTION 14(1)
 
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of Street Lighting Column reinstatement works being carried out HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in Nethergate (eastbound between Tay Street Lane and West Marketgait), Dundee.
 
This notice comes into effect on Sunday 12 May 2019 for 1 day.
 
Pedestrian thoroughfare will be maintained.
 
Alternative routes are available via Nethergate / Perth Road / Hawkhill / West Marketgait.
 
For further information contact 433082.
 
Executive Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Temporary Traffic Order for Saturday

From the City Council :
 
THE ROADS TRAFFIC REGULATION  ACT 1984 – SECTION 14 (1b)
 
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of the TUC Annual Mayday Parade HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in:
 
1 Blackness Road (Urquhart Street to Hawkhill)
2 Hawkhill (Hawkhill to West Marketgait)
3 West Marketgait (Hawkhill to Nethergate)
4 Nethergate (West Marketgait to High Street)
5 High Street (Nethergate to Reform Street)
6 Reform Street (High Street to Albert Square)
7 Meadowside (Reform Street to Chapel Street)
 
This notice comes into effect on Saturday 4 May 2019 from 11:45hrs to 12:45hrs.
 
Closures will be enforced by Police Scotland officers.
 
No diversion routes will be available.
 
For further information contact 433275.
 
Executive Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

A welcome for traffic order improvements in Dundee

I have welcomed the decision by Dundee City Council to streamline the Traffic Regulation Order process, to speed up changes to waiting restrictions in the city in future.
 
The process of getting traffic regulations in place to improve parking and access for residents has been utterly torturous in the city in recent years – slow, bureaucratic and not customer-friendly.   
As an example, Kinloch Park in the West End, next to the entrance to Ninewells Hospital, had single yellow lining agreed, following a site visit with most of the street’s residents, Head of Roads and Transportation and myself in December 2016.   The agreed waiting restrictions to stop the street being used as a Ninewells overflow car park were finally put in place at the end of February 2019.   
 
Whilst, I am relieved the work in Kinloch Park was finally in place, two years and two months to complete the process highlighted the need to cut through the bureaucracy of the system, streamline it and speed it up.    
 
I raised the need to improve the Traffic Regulation Order process with the council’s Head of Democratic and Legal Services and am pleased that action has now been taken to tackle this issue.   We simply cannot again have relatively simple traffic alterations taking 26 months to implement.
 
The council’s Head of Roads and Transportation has now advised me :
 
“The Traffic Regulation Order process has been streamlined and, after discussions with the Director of City Development, we will undertake to look at the introduction of the Consultation Stage being undertaken in advance of going to City Development Committee.  
 
Ordinarily we would not progress with a Traffic Regulation Order if statutory consultees Police Scotland did not support a proposal.  
 
Any streamlining will involve less City Development Committee time and speed up the process with less stages.”
 
I will be monitoring future work to ensure there is a genuine speeding up of Traffic Regulation Orders to ensure that residents across the city get faster action on improved parking and tackling parking obstruction issues more efficiently.

Temporary Traffic Order – Saturday – various streets

From the City Council :
 
THE ROADS (SCOTLAND) ACT 1984 – SECTION 62
 
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of the Dundee Trades Union Council Anti-Cuts Protest Parade HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in:
 
1 Blackness Road (Urquhart Street to Hawkhill)
2 Hawkhill (Blackness Road to West Marketgait)
3 West Marketgait (Hawkhill to Nethergate)
4 Nethergate (West Marketgait to High Street)
5 High Street (Nethergate to Reform Street)
6 Reform Street (Murraygate to Meadowside)
7 Meadowside (Reform Street to Chapel Street)
 
This notice comes into effect on Saturday 16 February 2019 from 12:00 to 13:30hrs.
 
Closures will be enforced by Police Scotland officers.
 
No diversion routes will be available.
 
For further information contact 433275.
 
Executive Director of City Development
Dundee City Council

Temporary Traffic Order – Centenary of Poland’s Day of Independence Parade

From the City Council :
 
THE ROADS TRAFFIC REGULATION  ACT 1984 – SECTION 14 (1b)
 
THE DUNDEE CITY COUNCIL AS TRAFFIC AUTHORITY being satisfied that traffic on the road should be prohibited by reason of the Centenary of Poland’s Day of Independence Parade HEREBY PROHIBIT the driving of any vehicle in:
 
1 Wilkie’s Lane
2 Blackness Road
3 Glenagnes Road
 
This notice comes into effect on Sunday 11th November 2018 from 13:25 to 13:45 hours.
 
Closures will be enforced by Police Scotland officers.
 
No diversion routes will be available.
 
For further information contact 433275.
 
Executive Director of City Development
Dundee City Council