A CONTROVERSIAL waste collection scheme aimed at removing unsightly bins from the Capital’s streets is set to be rolled out across the city.
The new plans, which have previously been piloted on the Royal Mile, Rose Street and Leith Walk, dictate when traders can put their bins out to be emptied – with businesses flouting the rules facing £200 fines.
Council chiefs have also suggested restaurants and other traders share one bin between four in an attempt to reduce city rubbish levels.
The new proposals will see businesses restricted to one-hour collection windows taking place up to three times a day.
Outside of these times, traders will be expected to store their bins on site – with those leaving rubbish on the street facing heavy penalties from environmental wardens.
But the plans – set to hit areas of the city with a high number of smaller restaurants hardest, such as Stockbridge and Bruntsfield – have provoked a mixed reaction from businesses.
Jason Gallagher, owner of The Stockbridge Restaurant, said: “It sounds like a complete nightmare, to be honest. I just can’t see how they are going to get it to work.”
Jamie Gibson, assistant manager at Montpeliers restaurant in Bruntsfield, added: “I completely understand why they are wanting to do it but we physically can’t store them inside the premises. In terms of sharing bins with another restaurant, I don’t know if that would really work. It could do.”
Lesley Hinds, the council’s environment convenor, said: “We have a real challenge in terms of the number of trade waste bins that sit out in the streets of our city 24 hours a day, are not locked, and are sometimes overflowing.
“The trials have been successful in terms of the reactions from the public in Leith Walk and Rose Street.
“What we want to try and do is see how we can work with the trade waste industry and with traders to see how we can improve the situation. We’re taking account of what traders have said by being more flexible in terms of the window in which waste can be put out.”
She added: “People don’t realise that it’s the responsibility of businesses to dispose of their waste. It infuriates me that in Stockbridge, in my ward, you have trade waste bins all along the narrow pavements.
“They are ugly and dirty, and we want to encourage people to come shop there.
“What we’re trying to do is get the highest percentage of big waste bins off the street as possible.”
The proposals are set to be rolled out in three stages, with the city centre expected to adapt to the rules first, followed by areas such as Leith, Gorgie and Portobello.
Businesses throughout the Capital are required to fully comply with the plans by March 2016.
Andy Neal of Essential Edinburgh said the project would have the biggest impact on the city’s hospitality trade.
“I think it will affect everyone,” he said. “But from the experience of the tests, the people who have the most difficulty are the hospitality businesses.”
He added: “The objective is a good one, which everyone signs up to, but I think some of the timetables and some of the communication could have been better.”
Keith Hales, vice chairman of the Leith Business Association, also criticised the management of the pilot project, but said it had been a success on Leith Walk.
“There’s still a long way to go to get in right,” he said. “My experience in the past is that the council has a lot of good ideas but a lack of enforcement policy. But we are happy with the fact it has cleaned the place up. The streets are cleaner and there is a lot less clutter.”
Tony Crolla, owner of the Vittoria restaurant group, which runs restaurants across the Capital, also praised the project but insisted space constraints would leave some restaurants with nowhere to put their bins.
He added: “It’s a good idea in principle – the principle of keeping the streets clean is 100 per cent spot on.”