Midlothian’s low carbon heating network almost ready

Midlothian Energy Site

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A £20 million project to provide low carbon alternatives to heat houses at the new Shawfair town will be ready to provide energy in a few months with the first homes expected to link up before the end of the year.

Vattenfall Heat UK joined with Midlothian Council to create Midlothian Energy Ltd to provide heating initially for the new Shawfair development which will have around 3,000 homes.

The initial phase of the network will supply the homes, education and retail properties at Shawfair Town using waste heat from FCC Environment’s Millerhill Recycling and Energy Recovery Centre which will burn tonnes of waste which would otherwise go to landfill to create energy.

But as the project expands heat from underground mining networks across the county will be harnessed to supply more customers.

This week Vattenfall said the construction of district heating centre will be completed by April with commissioning work continuing on the site.

And it revealed it is also in discussions over extending the network to new housing planned for Newton and Wellington Farms in the county where more than 600 homes are being built.

Three 100,000 thermal storage tanks are in place at the Millerhill site where 20 megawatts of heat will be produced.

The site is the first in Scotland and Vattenfall says it could reduce emissions in Midlothian by up to 90% in comparison to individual gas boilers fitted in every home taking away reliance on fossil fuels.

Mark Street, operations manager at the Midlothian site, said the benefit for the county and Scotland is that the company has been operating similar sites across Europe for years.

He said: “This district heating network might sound new, and is new to Scotland, but it is not new to Vattenfall and we bring our experience here so we know it works.”

The first Shawfair homes to join the network are hoped to be ready before the end of the year and Mark says he hopes more developers recognise it value.

He said: “It should be a big selling point, this is a cheap low carbon heating system available to people buying their homes. We hope to expand into Edinburgh and other parts of the Lothians and bring more households into our network as we progress.”

XL Bully – Banning the breed will not solve the underlying issue

German Shepherd

This View has been written by Midlothian Dog Trainer Nick McMechan.

I wrote last year about “Why the XL Bully shouldn’t be the next banned breed”. And, yes, it happened south of the border and now it’s happening in Scotland too. From 31st July 2024 it will be an offence to own an XL Bully without an exemption certificate in Scotland

When I wrote the article I was making a point. Banning the breed will not solve the underlying issue. The underlying issue is clearly irresponsibly bred dogs being sold to the wrong owners. XL Bully are large powerful dogs, German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Dobermans are large powerful dogs yet we don’t have the same issues.

Why? My opinion and experience tells me that most of the German Shepherd, Rottweiler and Doberman owners I meet take their responsibilities of owning a large powerful breed seriously. Indeed, I have a number of Rottweiler clients and they are the most loving, sweet, cuddle monsters you’ll meet. Wonderful dogs, with wonderful and highly responsible owners that are an excellent advert for what great dog ownership looks like.

Owning a large, powerful breed of dog is a privilege. not a right. Owning a Shotgun is a privilege, not a right and you need a licence to do so as they can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Holding an alcohol licence is privilege, and not a right and again be dangerous in the wrong, irresponsible hands. So, why, when society already has systems and laws in place, are the wrong hands allowed on large, powerful dogs?

Licensing is the way forward. For a moment, let’s consider licensing in one of our European neighbours, Spain. In September 2023 Spain introduced animal licensing which included restrictions around the sale of certain pet animals, microchipping, prohibition of violent methods of training, prohibition of ear cropping and tail docking, restrictions on the time that an animal can be left alone and completion of of an online course before a license is issued. There are more than this and that’s just a quick summary. Progression that can we can learn from in the UK. But we aren’t.

Importantly, in Spain, breeding is restricted to those on a registered list. And, you can own “dangerous dogs” in Spain. You can own a Pit Bull. Indeed, I’ve seen many on my holidays. Well taken care of and well controlled dogs. I’ve never felt our safety was at any risk whatsoever.

We must have dog licensing in the UK, we must have it enforced by using the licence fee funds to pay for more Dog Wardens with greater controls. We must start with licensing all commercial and pet breeders who must be required to make checks and balances that ensure the right dog is going to the right home. Then, we must licence those owners.

Banning breeds will not make a difference as the irresponsible XL Bully owners and breeders that have caused the problem we see now will just go on to another breed. It’s already happening now. A quick internet search was all I needed to do to find 11 Cane Corso attacks in the UK in the last six months (there may well be more). The breed is larger and more powerful than the XL Bully and, unless we have a change of government policy and approach to these issues, they will be the next banned breed. And, there will be another after that, and another…where will it stop and when will we start solving the root cause of issues rather than putting sticking plasters over the top of them for a quick vote winning fix?
Nick specialises in Loose Leash Walking and Reactivity as well as everything you would expect from a Dog Trainer. You can find out more here: eskvalleydogtraining.co.uk

Scottish Labour leader visits Bonnyrigg Rose Community Football Club

Bonnyrigg 5 Bs Scottish Laboiur Leader Anas Sarwar

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar on his visit to Bonnyrigg Rose Community Football Club.

Written by Midlothian View Editor, Phil Bowen

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar visited Bonnyrigg Rose Community Football Club this week to find out how community facilities are faring during the cost of living crisis.

He heard from people delivering mental health sessions, walking clubs for new mums, lunches for pensioners, advice with benefits and housing, support for recovery and youth sessions – and that’s even before the football.

The club put their values at the heart of everything they do and are working to ‘redefine winning’ so players care about living up to the 5 Bonnyrigg Bs (Be Honest, Be a Team Player, Be Respectful, Be Resilient, Be You) just as much as scoring goals.

Anas Sarwar said “All politicians should follow the 5 Bs of Bonnyrigg! The Bonnyrigg Rose Community Football Club is doing great work on and off the pitch, providing support on everything from mental health to the cost of living”.

Kirsty McNeill, who is the Scottish Labour and Co-operative Westminster candidate for Midlothian, said

“I’m so grateful to have had the chance to show Anas all the activities that happen at Bonnyrigg Rose Community Football Club. It’s got football in the name but it’s so much more. Whether you need debt advice or a group for new mums or a safe place to share issues with mental health, there’s someone there who can help. Like all of our community groups, people are having to do more with less and I’m so impressed and inspired by what is being achieved”.