£2,500 quote sinks kids’ anti-litter campaign

Evening News columnist and litter campaigner Gerry Farrell. Picture: Jane Barlow
Evening News columnist and litter campaigner Gerry Farrell. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A SCHOOL’S bid to promote an anti-litter campaign was quashed after a contractor quoted an eye-watering £2500 to put up and take away a Christmas tree.

Pupils at Leith Academy had worked hard to recycle rubbish they had collected on a litter pick and wanted to use the items as decorations.

We’ve had to abandon our schoolchildren’s stroke of creative genius. Maybe we’ll try again next year.

Gerry Farrell

They planned to put them on a Christmas tree in the Kirkgate shopping area and asked the council for help.

It was agreed they could use a tree already in place, but after it emerged a cherry-picker was not available, the team was offered another three-metre tree.

However, they were left stunned after learning it would cost £2550 to be delivered and removed after the festive season.

The quote was given to Leithers Don’t Litter campaign volunteers by an unnamed external contractor which provides trees to the city council.

Gerry Farrell, who runs the campaign, said council representatives had been “enthusiastic” about the idea before receiving the external quote.

Writing in his Evening News column today, he said: “We’ve had to abandon our schoolchildren’s stroke of creative 
genius. Maybe we’ll try again next year.”

Chas Booth, Green councillor for Leith, said: “This is a shocking cost and it’s surely not reasonable to ask of a community project which is aiming to encourage awareness and knowledge about litter.

“I would hope that the council would look again at how they can work constructively with Leithers Don’t Litter to facilitate the project.”

A council spokesman said: “We’re really disappointed that we weren’t able to help Gerry with this fantastic idea but the quote from the contractor was extremely unrealistic and we were unwilling to pay it.

“The council is always looking to encourage residents to recycle more.

“We did liaise with Gerry over alternative options but due to the short timescale we both agreed we weren’t able to help him out which is a real shame.

“We are continuing to work with him on various campaigns tackling littering, dog fouling and flytipping, and promoting recycling.”

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com

Gerry Farrell – Page 19