Anger at drop in Leith fines for littering

Littering continues to be a problem in Leith, claim residents. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Littering continues to be a problem in Leith, claim residents. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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FED-UP residents have slammed new data showing the number of fines issued to litterbugs in Leith is plummeting.

The number of fixed penalty notices handed out across the Leith and Leith Walk wards over the financial year to March was just 44 – a 19 per cent drop on the previous year.

In 2010, the figure was 145 – meaning enforcement levels are less than a third of what they were in an area which is usually rated amongst the Capital’s dirtiest.

The city-wide trend, meanwhile, has moved in the opposite direction, with the number of penalties issued between 2010 and this year nearly tripling from 657 to 1834.

Residents have branded the data “astonishing” and insisted the problem in some parts of Leith was as bad as ever.

Activist Pip Wallen-Priestley, 59, who was nominated for a Neighbour of the Year award after locals noticed his dedication to combating litter in Leith Links, said enforcement in the worst-affected areas was inadequate.

He said: “I haven’t seen a single warden down here – at £80 a pop that would be very lucrative.

“Littering offences aren’t being picked up. I pick litter up every day with the dog. I pick up stacks of it and there’s a real attitude problem towards litter in general.

“In Leith Links, there’s an attitude that if you are in the park, they assume that there’s someone who will patrol and pick up litter, at a cost to the taxpayer.”

He added: “I really think the wardens should have a lot more presence.

“I’ve seen the Dirty Little Secret ads, but that’s just not getting through.”

Leith historian John Arthur, who takes visitors on tours through the area, said the new figures were “incredible”.

“I would like to know why the gap between fines here and in the rest of the city is so big,” he said.

“Leith isn’t exactly the tidiest place in the world. I’ve taken tourists around and felt embarrassed because the streets were so mucky.”

However, city environment chiefs insisted overall levels of cleanliness across Leith are improving.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, environment leader, said: “It has been encouraging the see the Cleanliness scores for Leith increase over the last year, but we can’t be complacent. We have to divide resources between street-cleansing, enforcement and awareness raising, and we count on residents and visitors to do their bit too by behaving responsibly, disposing of rubbish and reporting litter problems to the Council.”