VOLUNTEERS who help look after a park were warned they could lose their prized Green Flag status after an upsurge in litter and vandalism.
Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park won the Green Flag – the quality benchmark for parks across Scotland – in 2010, two years after a friends group was launched to help the city council maintain the area.
But a recent inspection by Keep Scotland Beautiful, which runs the scheme, raised concerns about litter and graffiti. The inspectors accepted the council’s assurances the issues would be dealt with.
Now the Friends of Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park have organised a clean-up, starting this weekend, to ensure the Green Flag is secure.
The park is the only one in Edinburgh which is in an area with high levels of deprivation and has a Friends group and a Green Flag.
The Friends say the park has recently been plagued by litter louts and even a burnt-out car.
Secretary Bruce Bennet said: “We were very disappointed that our Green Flag status is under threat because of the behaviour of a small minority of park users, but we are determined to make sure we keep it.”
The group will launch its first spring clean of the year tomorrow from its Bothy HQ in Gilmerton Dykes Street at 10am, with volunteers focusing on the east end of the park, removing litter and putting down chalk signs to warn people to clean up after their dogs.
Later in the month, the Friends have organised another clean-up, backed by the council and Standard Life.
Mr Bennet said: “We’re hoping that as many people as possible will come along to ‘rally to the flag’ and help us give the park a good spring clean.
“We have seen some great achievements in the last year with over £100,000 spent on upgrading pathways for pedestrians and cyclists, and we’ve seen tough action on people for dumping litter with four £200 fines levied against the culprits.
“However, we need to target the lower-level littering that can blight this precious green space. Park patrols have been increased and more posters and signs will be put in place in the next few weeks.
“Our parks are one of our most precious resources and Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park has seen huge improvements over the years to become one of Edinburgh’s finest green spaces. We intend to keep it that way.”
Liberton/Gilmerton Labour councillor Keith Robson praised the Friends for their work but added: “We also need people to be responsible citizens, not allowing their dogs to foul and not just throwing litter down.”