Students’ solar house is the only UK entry in a global eco competition

Credit: EN4 News

A fully sustainable house will be built by Heriot-Watt students as they take part in the Solar Decathlon Middle East (SDME) and World Expo 2020.

A test house will be constructed in Edinburgh over the next few months, and the final version will be set up in Dubai to compete later in the year.

The digital lead of Team Esteem, Cameron Wishart, who oversees the house’s software and electronics, spoke to EN4 News how the prototype will work: “Team Esteem is essentially building a living, breathing house that works exclusively on solar power and is completely sustainable, using a collection of mechanical and digital components.”

Concept art for the solar house (Credit: Team Esteem)

Wishart went on to say how the team feels about solely representing the UK.

“We are representing our country and if no one else is, and we win, we get the claim of saying we won the world championship of something for Britain which is pretty cool.”

Scott Calder, sponsorship lead, told EN4 News how he was feeling ahead of the competition and his hopes for the project’s future.

“I feel really proud,” he said, “The idea is that the effort, time and money into the project isn’t wasted after a year and it’s something that can carry on going. We are just really excited.”

Sturgeon calls for patience in delivering Indyref2 after Brexit

Nicola Sturgeon has firmly stated that the path to Indyref2 “must be legal and legitimate” while urging her party to fight and win the political case for a vote.

The First Minister spoke in Edinburgh this morning, reinforcing her position on holding a referendum on Scottish independence in 2020.

The Leader of the SNP said today would be a day of “real and profound sadness” for the many Scots that voted to remain in the EU as Britain leaves at 11pm tonight.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s main points from Friday’s speech (Credit: EN4 News)

Using her final keynote speech before the Brexit deadline, she enforced that she wanted to “focus on hope of a different and better future for Scotland.”

Urging for patience from supporters and party members, the First Minister warned that she will be pressing ahead with plans for a “consultative” referendum without the UK Government, but this is not her preferred strategy.

Commenting on the constitutional reservation in the Scotland Act that puts any form of independence referendum outside the powers of the Scottish Parliament, she explained that this, “has never been tested in court.

This means it cannot be said definitely that is would not be legal, but equally it cannot be described as being beyond legal doubt.”
Stressing that if the court ruled it legal it wouldn’t be a “wild-cat referendum”. However, the First Minister, concerned about damaging the existing progress of the Yes movement, expressed her concern:

“It could move us forward – but equally it could set us back.”

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Laying out the next steps for the SNP’s path to independence, she said the party will double their budget for advertising the potential vote.

The increase in budget will mainly be used for advertising, creating new independence material and a new film aimed at people unsure of voting yes.

The Scottish Government will release the “New Scotland” series of papers, aimed at ensuring that the people of Scotland have the information to make an informed choice on Scotland’s future.

The First Minister will also ask the Electoral Commission to re-test the question – “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

This is a reaction to the passage of the Referendum Bill in late 2019 and the vote in favor of a second referendum at Holyrood on Wednesday.

The creation of a Constitutional Convention will also be part of the strategy. Similar to the convention set up in the campaign to build the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999, the new group will be made of MP’s, MSP’s, former MEP’s and councillors and will look to create a larger unified group in support of the vote.

Sturgeon highlighted that the “the work of the SNP’s Social Justice Commission is a vital part of this and is well underway, engaging with organisations across Scotland.” She hopes that the findings of the Commission will allow “the powers of independence to make Scotland the fairer country we all want it to be.”

Expressing her regret at the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, the First Minister lambasted Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Government on several occasions, saying “they have shown no interest at all in finding ways to accommodate our distinctive views and interests.”

Interim Leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Jackson Carlaw, hit back at Nicola Sturgeon’s comments,

“On the day we leave the EU they want a government which focuses on Scotland’s economy and jobs.”

“This was a downbeat statement from the First Minister faced with the reality that will be no referendum anytime soon. People across Scotland are sick and tired of her relentless pursuit of a referendum they simply don’t want.

Carlaw’s comments come a few days after YouGov published a poll that had 51% of Scots in favour of a yes vote in an independence referendum, the first time since 2015 the yes vote has been in the lead.

The SNP’s Alyn Smith, spoke damningly about Scotland’s influence in the UK under Tory leadership.

“The constitutional reality in Scotland is that we are not a partner in the UK we are a part of it, and it’s now run by a tory administration that talks about one nation but is really about one nation: England.

“They’re saying that we should shut up and know our place and it’s not good enough.”

Sturgeon will invite Scotland’s elected representatives in Scottish, British and European Parliament to take part in a new Constitutional Convention that endorses a modern Claim of Right for Scotland.
Carlaw remains staunchly opposed to the SNP’s continued push for independence.

“People across Scotland are sick and tired of her relentless pursuit of a referendum they simply don’t want.

“They want Nicola Sturgeon to put her referendum plans where they belong – firmly on the backburner.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be broadcasting a message to the nation an hour before the 11 o’clock deadline, when the UK officially leaves the EU.

 

Sturgeon speech “a safe message in the moment”

Analysis by Iain Leggat

A few feathers will have been ruffled following Nicola Sturgeon’s speech.

On ‘Brexit Day’ the First Minister committed to playing the waiting game and has cautiously moved away from the ‘wildcat’ referendum label. A safe speech in a moment where supporters may have wanted fire.

Unwilling to settle with Boris Johnson’s government decision to rule out the option of a second vote in Scotland, Ms Sturgeon’s comments on a ‘consultative referendum not being her preferred strategy, is a sure sign she will play the long game.

In a week where we saw young SNP favourite MP Mhari Black says “don’t rule out wildcat referendum”, Sturgeon has opted to appease the many and not the few.

A new message for independence doubters. Instead of delivering a message that hard-line IndyRef2 supporters would have liked it sent a new message for independence doubters.

The “cast-iron democratic mandate” that the leader has argued over several times remains a key soundbite for the party, but to attract a greater Yes majority, sitting at 51% released in the YouGov poll yesterday afternoon, Sturgeon’s calls for the process to be “legal and legitimate” may help.

After a calamitous Brexit referendum process reduced trust in the democratic process, the SNP will not want to follow suit.

Even more pragmatic than usual, the unity that Ms Sturgeon calls for could be a winning formula.

A new Constitutional Convention of MP’s, MSP’s, former MEP’s and councillors, is a move that worked ahead of the creation of the devolved Scottish Parliament in 1999.

Announcing the release of the “New Scotland”papers will be aiming to be more thorough than 2014 White Papers. From here the path is still unknown, but on the eve of Brexit, Sturgeon looks content in playing the waiting game and opting for a more self-assured vote to take place.

Gorgie City farm to re-open under new name after takeover announced

Gorgie City farm is set to re-open under a new name after new owners for the community project were announced.

The centre will re-open on the same site as ‘Love Gorgie’ and will be operated by the charity ‘Love Learning’, who beat competition from the owners of East Links Family Park.

The farm went into liquidation in November 2019, resulting in the loss of 18 jobs, but was able to continue operating after a crowd-funding campaign raised over £100,000.

‘Love Learning’, a mental health charity, propose to turn the farm into a therapy petting zoo.

In a statement from LOVE Learning, CEO Lynn Bell said: “We are incredibly excited to be taking on such a treasured resource as Gorgie City Farm.

“At LOVE learning we seek to improve the education and life chances of vulnerable children, young people and adults, as well as their families.

“Not only will the farm remain open seven days a week and remain free, but we will provide a range of exciting education, environmental and social care programmes supporting vulnerable children and adults.

(Credit: EN4 News)

“This will include learning programmes within a newly-established skills academy, social prescribing, animal therapy and employability projects.
“In addition, our educational centre will engage with local communities on environmental programmes around farming and food production and our intention is to have a food bank and social enterprise café. It will be a real community hub.

“We would like to commend the massive community support and fully recognise the love there clearly is for Gorgie City Farm. We cannot wait to get in and to work with the Council and other key stakeholders to get it up and running.”

The new farm is set to open in the spring.

NHS Lothian in “crisis” following shock resignation of chairman

The resignation of the chairman of NHS Lothian shows that the organisation is in “crisis”, according to a local politician.

Brian Houston had been NHS Lothian chairman for over six years, but announced late on Thursday that he was stepping down.

Reasons for Houston’s resignation have been accredited to reported issues regarding questions from the Scottish Government and NHS Lothian Staff, in relation to the new hospital for sick children.

The news comes just two weeks after the Chief Executive of NHS Lothian announced his retirement.

The Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh was due to be opened in July 2019, however construction was delayed by a litany of issues and the hospital opening date was pushed back to August 2020.

Neil Findlay, Labour MSP for Lothian, spoke to EN4 News about his concerns over the current state of NHS Lothian.

“The resignation of Brian Houston and the Government putting the NHS Lothian board into special measures both show the extent to which this organisation is in crisis,” Mr Findlay said.

“For years I have been raising very serious concerns about the way the organisation operates and how this is impacting on patient care and staff.

“We have the Sick Kids hospital chaos, the saga of St John’s children’s ward, waiting lists for some procedures of over a year, GP practices closing, understaffing and another budget deficit. The patients and staff deserve so much better than this. The SNP Government has to get a grip of our NHS.”

A public inquiry was launched over the delay after it was announced that the facility cost £52 million to construct and enable.

Rumours have also been circulating that Brian Houston’s resignation came as a result of fundamental differences between himself and the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman.

Speaking on the news of Houston’s resignation, Scottish Conservative MSP and health spokesperson Miles Briggs said: “I think what we need to establish next is what these differences between Jeanne Freeman and Mr Houston actually are and exactly what the cabinet secretary has been trying to force upon the management of NHS Lothian.”

Following Houston’s resignation, an emergency meeting of non-executive board members has been scheduled for Monday. Houston has offered to help whoever replaces him to settle into the role.

Fountainbridge garage forced to close due to ongoing sewage flooding

 

A Fountainbridge business has been forced to temporarily close its doors after being flooded with raw sewage water.

Angle Park Auto centre on Lower Gilmore place was flooded after heavy rain on Wednesday night caused a blocked drain to overflow into the garage.

Owner Kamran Jahan, 42 said the problem started two weeks ago and Scottish water promised him that the drain would be repaired as a matter of urgency. Representatives from Scottish Water have attended the scene to drain the blockage but the change in weather this week has caused the problem to escalate leaving the businessman no choice but to temporarily close the garage.

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He told EN4 News: “It’s been bad for my business.

“We’ve lost business and I’ve had to send customers away because we can’t do MOT tests. My staff can’t work because the tools are air tools, air hoses which have all been affected by the sewer water.”

The pit was completely submerged with water (Credit: Kamran Jahan)

Mr Jahan has said the garage will need professionally cleaned (Credit: Kamran Jahan)

Mr Jahan is unhappy with the way Scottish water have dealt with the problem.

“We were supposed to have a meeting this morning to try and find out what the problem is, but still nothing has been sorted.”

A Scottish Water spokeswoman said: “We are aware of an issue with the sewer network in the Lower Gilmore Place area.

“We have identified a collapsed sewer two metres underground which has led to some flooding and will carry out a repair as soon as possible.

“We are liaising closely with local customers to keep them updated and apologise for any inconvenience.”

Mr Jahan is hoping that the repair can be made soon to stop the problem reoccurring.

“The main thing is getting the problem solved because if it rains again, like it is supposed to this weekend, it’s just going to happen again,” he added.

Leith’s popular Pitt Market re-opens ahead of Six Nations buzz

(Credit: EN4 News)

One of Leith’s community attractions is returning in time for the Six Nations following its closure over the winter season.

The Pitt Market is a favourite of locals and food lovers, and it will reopen its doors on Saturday (February 1).

The popular market promises to offer an insulated heated warehouse with a bar and full surround sound system, which will be available from 12pm to 10pm on Saturdays and 12pm until 6pm on Sundays.

“We’re expecting to be really busy,” said one of the organisers.

Although the staff are all still currently setting up the warehouse and beer garden outside, they have assured people that they will be in full swing by tomorrow with enough beer to go around.

While broadcasting the games, the Pitt will offer live music, flat screen TVs, live DJs and an array of street food and drinks such as local craft beer, wine and larger.

With the Six Nations kicking off and the Pitt re-opening, you don’t have to look far for a pint and a telly to watch it on.

Two new city centre zones involved in Edinburgh Open Streets for first time

Blair Street will be closed to vehicles this Sunday during Edinburgh’s Open Streets. (Credit: EN4 News)

Two city centre streets will be involved for the first time as Edinburgh Open Streets returns this weekend

Blair Street and Hunter Square will be among the streets that will be closed to traffic this weekend.

The West High Street Zone (Hunter Square, Cockburn Street and Blair Street), will see some outdoor dancing, the Blair Street spring clean and music from a high energy carnival drum crew.

A host of activities and events are planned for this Sunday including Tango dancing and giant chess.

AJ Esroy, a barman at The Carnivore Bar and Restaurant on Blair Street said that the closing of the street could leave local businesses at “a loss”.

“Business wise we could be at a loss,” he said.

“If there’s no cars parking on the street then that means there’ll be less people using the bars and restaurants.”

Other events throughout the city include badminton and connect four on the Royal Mile and a Burns and Banter event at the Cannongate.

The event which takes place on Sunday will see people enjoy some of the poet’s famous work while enjoying refreshments such as Irn-Bru and traditional Scottish sweet treats such as tablet and shortbread.

 

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Woman’s body found in Livingston

EN4 News’ Darren McConachie reports on the latest from Livingston

 

A woman’s body was found Friday morning on Almondvale Stadium Road near the Toni Macaroni Arena.

As reported by various outlets, a Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Officers were called to a report of a woman’s body having been found in an area near Almondvale Stadium Road, Livingston at around 8.35 AM on Friday, 24 January.”

The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

 

Edinburgh school to have dual ‘Gaelic medium’ campus

Liberton High School (Credit: EN4 News)

Council chiefs are to push forward proposals to rebuild Liberton High School that could see a dual campus being built, which would include a dedicated Gaelic secondary school.

The council believes that the dual campus is the only deliverable option. It’s hoped that the new building could open its doors in 2024, however, the project carries a hefty £75 million price-tag.

A Liberton grandparent, Charlie Shields, said, “They should get a new school because they’re all getting new houses up there, so why not give the kids a new school building too?

“I’ve been here 48 years and it’s been here the whole time. It’s time for a new building.”

The proposal for a new building has been met with open arms by people in the area. The current school building has been in place since the school’s establishment in 1959. In 2014, a prefabricated wall fell and tragically killed Keane Wallis-Bennett, a 12-year-old pupil at the school.

The decision to make a new dedicated Gaelic school is one that has divided opinions. “I think it’s a waste of time. We all speak English here, so why would we start teaching them Gaelic,” said Charlie Shields.

However, there does seem to be more support for the Gaelic-speaking institution than there is opposition. Another local grandparent, Derek Carlin, said, “It’s too late for me to start now, but I think we should all learn Gaelic. It’s a good idea; it’s our national language. We learn French and Spanish, surely we could learn our own native language.”

There is a clear resurgence of Gaelic throughout Edinburgh, with the city’s first dedicated Gaelic school opening in 2013, Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce. Comann nam Pàrant Dùn Èideann also operates throughout the city, giving support to pupils of Gaelic schools as well as their parents.

EN4 News spoke to Sally Swanson, who was educated at a Gaelic medium school, about her outlook on the introduction of more Gaelic schools after her own experience.

“It’s great that we’re trying to strengthen our connection with our roots.” Overall, I’m 100% for Gaelic schools; they’re so important, especially at this time in politics when it feels like we need to cling to our Scottish-ness!”

“The argument that Gaelic is a dying/dead language is completely redundant. It really isn’t – it’s still thriving in a lot of places, and only moves like this (to create fully Gaelic medium spaces) will continue to help strengthen it.”

The Western Isles council recently announced that they are going to introduce a controversial ‘Gaelic first’ policy, which would mean all children would be taught Gaelic as their first language to try and encourage children to be more bilingual.

As Gaelic is being reintroduced in schools all over the country, could Liberton one of many Gaelic Medium schools to appear in Edinburgh?

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