Hairdresser fined £200 after bin bag blows away

James Alexander reckons his bag was blown away in the wind. Picture: Ian Georgeson
James Alexander reckons his bag was blown away in the wind. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A CITY business owner has slammed “council jobsworths” after he was slapped with a £200 fine for fly tipping after his bin bag was blown away by the wind.

James Alexander, who owns the hair salon of the same name on Queensferry Street, was shocked to be handed the bill on Thursday morning after environmental wardens found a rubbish bag from his shop on Alva Street.

But the award-winning hairdresser – who has never been hit by a council fine before – insists he did nothing wrong.

Under rules brought into force in April, those caught fly tipping on public land are immediately slapped with a £200 fine by council officials if the rubbish can be identified as theirs. And an envelope addressed to James inside the bag took wardens to his shop.

James, 35, said: “I thought it was a £40 or £50 fine the guy was giving me, and then I read that it was £200 and I almost fainted. I’ve been open for seven years and we have never had a litter fine. I told the guy that I thought it was an absolute joke. He could see it was beyond my control. This is completely ridiculous.”

James was slapped with the fine on Thursday morning, a full week after his trade waste had been collected at 7.30pm the Thursday before.

He added: “My only explanation is that the bin bag might have blown away, or somebody maybe lifted it while they were walking past.”

The incident comes on the back of renewed criticism that the problem of dumped rubbish across the Capital is not being properly addressed by new laws – brought in by the Scottish Government in April – which have quadrupled penalties from £50 to £200.

The number of fines dished out in Edinburgh has doubled, with environmental wardens imposing 761 penalties last year. And in November, the Evening News revealed how one Davidson’s Mains family was left stunned when a council warden turned up on the doorstep to slap them with a £200 fine for placing a small cardboard box next to a full recycling bin at a Tesco store.

Councillor Jason Rust, who represents the Fairmilehead ward, has been an outspoken critic of the council’s fines.

He said: “This latest incident is just really representative of the problems with the current process. It doesn’t seem to be the least bit fair.

“Again, it would appear that it’s those people who are following the system that are being penalised. And especially just now, with the winter weather we have been having, the council need to be more aware this could be a factor.” The council confirmed James Alexander Hair was issued the fine on Thursday. A spokeswoman said: “Businesses are required to keep control of their own waste and ensure it’s not displaced before collection.

“Bin bags found to be placed on the street without authorisation are liable for fixed penalty notices. These are enforced to help reduce street clutter and keep Edinburgh clean and tidy for everyone.”