A WARREN of grimy alleyways in the heart of the Capital is set to be brought into use as hidden trails after Rose Street backstreets were cleared of rancid trade bins.
Pedestrians have long abandoned the bin-clogged lanes of the city centre street which became the sole preserve of delivery vans and waste collection trucks.
But in January traders and restaurateurs agreed to leave containers for collection in tight one-hour windows three times a week, creating an expanse of cobble stoned pathways instead of rubbish-strewn alleys.
The pilot project has been deemed so successful that it has been rolled out to High Street and Leith Walk in a bid to boost the image of these bin-heavy districts.
Business owners on Rose Street have previously spoken of their frustration at trying to stick to the strict timetable imposed by council chiefs and also the difficulties accommodating trade waste within their premises.
Fines of £50 can be meted out to firms who flout the rules.
Today, environment chief Councillor Lesley Hinds praised traders and waste collection firms for making the trial a success.
“There’s no doubt that the Rose Street and Rose Street Lanes trade waste pilot has greatly improved the look and feel of this part of the city centre,” she said. “It gives us scope to explore different ways of using the lanes to make them more attractive to people and businesses.
“For this to happen, however, we need to make sure the trade waste companies keep up the good work and comply with the new collection windows so we can keep Rose Street and its lanes looking their best for everyone who uses them, whether residents or businesses.
“It’s not rocket science – if you make sure your environment is as clean, safe and attractive as possible, then more people will want to come and spend time and money in the area.”
It comes just days after the News revealed how smart bins which muffle the sound of breaking glass bottles and ask to be emptied are being considered by the council for tenement flats.
The intelligent dustbins could replace the current black street carts and are fitted with sensors which alert bin men when they are full.
They are similar to smart card-operated trade waste bins in use on Rose Street.
Andy Neal, chairman of Essential Edinburgh, which represents city centre traders, says that despite some “teething problems” the scheme made a “big difference” to the street’s appearance.
He said: “All the businesses are agreed that if we can make the streets look better then it’s better for everyone. We will get more people coming into the city centre and that’s great but you have to give traders time to find the right solutions.
“The main thing is that when you walk along Rose Street you would see a huge difference.”