Council plans for more bins despite crisis in emptying current ones

Susannah Morgan says hanging bags on railings works well and fears communal bins won't be emptied regularly.
Susannah Morgan says hanging bags on railings works well and fears communal bins won't be emptied regularly.
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Council chiefs are set to press ahead with introducing another 33 communal bins – despite the crisis they have over emptying the current ones.

Streets in Stockbridge, the New Town and other parts to the city centre are due get the bins in the latest roll-out of the council’s refuse collection changes.

But residents say they are worried they could be left with the same problem of overflowing rubbish already experienced in many areas.

Susannah Morgan. who runs the Stockbridge Local website promoting local independent businesses, said communal bins had the advantage of allowing people to put their rubbish out at any time, but she worried about the potential loss of parking spaces – and the risk of them not being emptied.

She said she and a neighbour in Leslie Place had encouraged people to hang their bin bags on the railings to stop seagulls tearing them open and spilling the rubbish all over the road.

“That works quite well,” she said. “But if we get communal bins and they don’t get emptied, we’ll get rubbish all over the street anyway.”

The Evening News’ Bin Watch campaign has been highlighting hotspots across the Capital where bins are overflowing.

Joanna Mowat, Conservative councillor for City Centre ward, said there were good reasons for having communal bins, but she too wondered whether the council could ensure the new ones they planned to install were emptied regularly.

She said: “Residents in London Street held a ballot when the communal bins were first mooted around 18 months ago and it came out narrowly in favour of them.

“Given the passage of time and the situation we’re in now, I would find it very difficult to go and advocate on-street bins as an improvement because they have been so poor at picking them up. Residents are understandably concerned when they walk around and seeing rubbish spilling out of bins which have not been emptied.”

Environment convener Lesley Hinds, said: “We are continuing the roll-out of the Modernising Waste project across the centre, aiming to provide new and better collection methods for residents. It is clear the use of black bags, which attract vermin and gulls and result in rubbish being strewn across pavements, is no longer adequate and communal bins have proved a much cleaner alternative.

“We have worked closely with residents and local organisations to find the most efficient and acceptable waste collection methods on a street-by-street basis. We are fully aware of our duty to balance the historic charm of the city’s World Heritage site and the need to ensure Edinburgh remains as litter-free as possible.” 
The council said parking bays were being extended to compensate for space taken up by new bins.

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com