Waste of time on council bin complaints call line

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Iread with great interest your article ‘Waste piles up as 19 bin lorries off for repairs’ (News, June 23).

Over the last six weeks I have experienced problems in the emptying of recycling bins where I live and have reported this to the council on each occasion. On the last three occasions there has been a long waiting queue on the phone before I could report that the recycling bins in my street have not been emptied.

The waiting queue on the phone was 8, 10 and 17 people respectively, before I could speak to someone, and had to wait more than 35 minutes on each occasion.

When I eventually spoke to someone all they wanted to do was to record my details. When I asked for an explanation they said they did not know, but replied saying that the bins would be emptied within five days.

I even reported the problem to customer care, saying I would receive an e-mail within five days and I am still waiting.

As the council are asking people to re-cycle more, it would be good to know that they fulfil their obligation of providing a reliable service or at least provide an explanation when the Edinburgh residents phone in.

After reading the article in the Evening News at least I now have an explanation, although it does not make good reading when so many lorries are not available, due to maintenance problems.

So well done Evening News for making the Edinburgh public aware of the situation. In future I will be asking my councillor and MSP to resolve the issue if there is no improvement in the service.

John Martin, Swanston, Edinburgh

Refuse system will lead to more chaos

The new refuse collection system came into operation earlier this month and residents were given a timetable for which bucket is emptied on which day.

Next Tuesday, June 30, is the first date when all four refuse buckets can be emptied on the same day.

I live in a block of four flats which means that it is feasible that there will be 16 buckets of varying sizes on our pavement at the same time.

In addition to this, two flats in the next block also put their buckets out, so a total of 24 buckets could be lined up on the pavement which is a busy one due to its proximity to the local LRT bus depot. This, in addition to a council ‘road diversion’ sign which encroaches on to the same pavement. Madness or what?

Joyce Watson, address provided

Grass was greener before funding cuts

I wrote last year, concerned about our grubby city, but the place is a lot worse this year.

The public has to take its share of the blame for the mess of this once beautiful city, and I would put that at about 40%, but I put the rest squarely on the head of the council.

My biggest gripe is the grass cuttings that are left. These can be used for compost or better still, to supply energy. Apart from the rotting smell caused by the cuttings, people actually like to sit on our parks, but when they decide to leave the park they are covered in grass.

Also, try to teach youngsters to control a football when there is massive lumps of grass lying about.

Does nobody see the weeds underneath the unvarnished benches in Princes Street?

Also, why can’t the grass be trimmed round the base of trees and litter bins etc in the parks? Just look about, especially entering the Meadows by road.As for using weed killer to get rid of the edging, that is lazy and looks absolutely awful.

David Ramsay, Ashley Drive, Edinburgh

Syrian suffering needs to be faced

The European Parliament has just ruled against holding an exhibition of photographs documenting torture and abuse by the Syrian government.

The images are too disturbing to show the public.

Perhaps they could be exhibited at Westminster instead. They may help to remind a few hundred of our own MPs what their opposition to humanitarian intervention has meant for millions of Syrians who suffer Assad’s brutality.

Mr Brian Devlin, Manse Lane, Galashiels

Land Reform Bill no help to salmon anglers

Austerity does not extend to wealthy proprietors of Scotland’s salmon angling rights, as the SNP Land Reform Bill continues the Tory policy of exempting such owners from paying sporting rates.

Yet a week’s salmon fishing on the Tweed can cost up to £30,000 but no contribution is made towards council services.

The bill makes it very difficult for a community body to acquire salmon rights by creating a large number of caveats, in particular, “eligible land which consists of salmon fishings”.

The SNP is well aware that salmon fishing rights in Scotland are normally sold separately, without any land whatsoever, so such fishings cannot be acquired by a community body.

Thus the Scottish Government give the illusion of community ownership, but the reality is that the status quo will prevail with most Scots still excluded from our rivers and lochs.

When Sir John Sinclair, in 1814, stated of Scotland, that, “In no country in Europe are the rights of the proprietors so well defined and so carefully protected”, he could hardly have envisaged that 200 years later nothing much has changed.

Jim Stewart, Oxgangs Avenue, Edinburgh