Leader: ‘Goodwill on both sides can find solution’

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What can be done about the rubbish-strewn state of Edinburgh’s streets?

The picture of the mess on Rose Street that appears on page 5 of today’s paper is a disgrace, but sadly all too common a sight. There seems to be little appetite at the city council for taking a tough stance with those reponsible, with the Capital’s environmental wardens handing out just one litter fine for every ten issued in Glasgow and a pathetic one dog-fouling fine every six months. That will only make it harder to clean up the streets.

Surely though the problem is big enough without adding self-inflicted damage through inefficient waste collection services. Tackling the problems on Rose Street therefore should be a priority.

The idea behind the new trade waste collection service on the street is a sound one. Getting rid of the old plastic bins was a step in the right direction. They cluttered the street and in places lent it an air of a service yard rather than a fashionable shopping street. Yet ditching them is no use at all if it means the return of seagulls ripping open black bin bags and piles of rubbish being blown across the street.

There have been some huge improvements in the city centre in recent years through the efforts of local businesses, the city council and Essential Edinburgh, the city centre Business Improvement District. We have grown used to George Street being turned into a fabulous Fringe hub and regular special events in St Andrew Square Gardens.

Finding the best way of collecting rubbish from the city centre seems to be an interminable problem. It is easy to understand why hard-pressed businesses will look to avoid higher than necessary charges for taking their rubbish away. But surely with a little goodwill on each side a way can be found to sort this out without adding to the rubbish on our streets.