Comment: Locals want Edinburgh to look its best

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HAS Edinburgh ever seen a year where the Festival arrives and our residents say: my, how wonderfully clean this city looks this August.

No, thought not.

Every summer the story is the same. Overflowing bins, litter blowing through our most famous streets and a local authority which is insistent they are putting even more resources into tackling the problem.

Well, this year the Capital has a new person at the helm: chief executive Andrew Kerr. Welcome, Andrew.

So, here’s a nice piece of leadership and public relations advice to our new man: sort out the mess on the streets and you will be seen as a hero in six months.

Yes, Edinburgh City Council has many competing demands for resource. Yes, there is constant pressure to save money and balance the budget.

But, local people are proud of their city and they want it to look the best all year round, and especially in August. This is the time we really get to show off.

Who wants to be guiding friends or family through the high-
spots only to see overflowing bins everywhere?

Perhaps the most apposite comment came from Napier University’s Graham Birse. “If we applied the law with the same enthusiasm for littering as we do for parking then the problem would disappear overnight,” he said.

Anyone who has had a parking ticket for having one wheel on a yellow line, or for being just over their alloted time, knows that parking is policed very tightly. If we can do it for cars, why not litter?

The Festival happens every year. At the same time.

Our challenge to our new chief executive is to find a way of solving this intractable problem. And if you do, we’ll put you on the front page and declare you a hero. In fact, you can nominate yourself for the Freedom of the City.