Dog fouling problem ‘big concern’ for residents in Capital

The Meadows did well for lack of dog fouling and good street cleaning. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
The Meadows did well for lack of dog fouling and good street cleaning. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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ONE has wide open spaces and attracts people from all over the Capital looking for a sense of the countryside in the heart of the city.

The other is said to attract foxes and has some of the least satisfied of all Edinburgh’s residents when it comes to the state of its streets, if the results of a recent city-wide survey are anything to go by.

Street cleanliness was another concern. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Street cleanliness was another concern. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

According to the latest 
Edinburgh People Survey, Liberton/Gilmerton is one of the Capital’s least satisfied wards for how litter and dog fouling are handled.

There are now calls for more to be done amid claims some streets in the ward resemble an “ashtray” due to the volume of dropped cigarettes.

On the other side of the coin is Meadows/Morningside ward, whose residents came out as some of the most satisfied in relation to dealing with bins, littering and dog mess.

Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart also came out higher than most in the satisfaction stakes, with 65 per cent of respondents saying they were satisfied with street cleaning compared to the lower Edinburgh-wide score of 58 per cent.

How does your area perform for cleanliness.

How does your area perform for cleanliness.

Gavin Corbett, Green councillor for Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart, said his ward was made up of “very different” neighbourhoods, meaning some streets were “pristine” while others still needed work.

He said: “Certainly, residents in parts of Hutchison or in Fountainbridge would be surprised to be told that street cleaning or dog fouling was not an issue.

“Also, the fact we have relatively high scores is tribute to the community effort that goes on. There is a retired woman who weekly picks up rubbish on Hutchison Crossway, for example, while a retired man does the same along the canal.

“And the schools, Water of Leith Trust and other local groups all pitch in to tackle what otherwise would be a much worse 
problem.”

Residents in Meadows/Morningside also returned higher satisfaction levels, with the survey showing three-quarters of residents (70 per cent) did not feel dog fouling was a common problem.

Heather Goodare, convener of Friends of the Meadows and Bruntsfield Links, said she had noticed some improvements but made a call for more frequent bin collections in the area.

She said: “Since I came here in 2003 the litter situation has certainly improved but it’s still got quite a way to go to make it acceptable for a capital city.

“There’s a lot of dog walking in the Links and people do pick up the dog fouling, put it in a bag and bung it in a bin. It 
certainly has improved.”

However the picture was less positive across the city as a whole, with satisfaction over street cleaning falling to just 58 per cent, back down from 64 per cent in 2015.

Leith and Leith Walk returned some of the least satisfied results, with calls for fresh action to tackle the problems.

John Hein, chairman of Leith Central Community Council, said the figures suggested the city council needed to do more, citing fly tipping as a particular problem in the area.

He said: “You get lots of big items being put out in the cover of darkness and they’ll hang around for ages.”

Liberton/Gilmerton ward proved similarly dissatisfied with the state of its streets, with just 44 per cent of respondents saying they are happy with street cleaning. Ann Sutherland, secretary of The Liberton Association, said it varied depending on the area but added: “I do think they could do more sometimes in terms of street cleansing but they haven’t got the money. The other thing they could do is get rid of the weeds that grow on the 
verges.”

Nick Cook, Tory councillor for the ward, said over the past five years his postbag had been “full of complaints” about dog fouling and street cleanliness.

He said: “Dog fouling, in particular, has been a constant theme at local community meetings. The council has simply failed to sustainably tackle these basic environmental issues effectively.”

But Tomasz Pedo, manager of Lasswade Road convenience store Margiotta, suggested Liberton’s litter problem might not be as bad as people think.

He said: “People are not always cleaning up after themselves but most of the time the area by us is clean. I’ve seen worse areas than here.”

The survey revealed across Edinburgh satisfaction with the management of dog fouling improved by three per cent but remained low at 47 per cent.

Transport and environment leader Lesley Hinds said the council recognised there was “always more to be done” to improve the state of Edinburgh’s streets.

She said: “While I’m glad that the majority of respondents to the Edinburgh People Survey are satisfied with our street cleaning service and half don’t feel dog fouling is common in their neighbourhood, we do want these figures to increase significantly. Since the survey was carried out we have been hard at work implementing the Waste and Cleansing Improvement Plan, which aims to address issues within the service, and have already achieved 46 of the plan’s 65 proposed 
actions.

“As a result, we are beginning to see its effects, including a 28 per cent drop in fly-tipping reports and 96 per cent of February’s street cleansing inquiries dealt with within timescale.”

florence.snead@jpress.co.uk