City environment leader: Council working fast to tackle weeds

Weeds on Leith Walk. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Weeds on Leith Walk. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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The council’s environment leader Lesley Macinnes has said officials are dealing with Edinburgh’s weed problem “as quickly and effectively as they can”.

A number of city centre streets, including Drummond Place and Great King Street, Queen Street and Dean Bridge, have been plagued by unsightly weeds sprouting up through pavements in recent weeks.

Weeds on Princes Street. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Weeds on Princes Street. Picture: Ian Georgeson

One opposition councillor even suggested to the Evening News that the “issue of weeds across Edinburgh is reaching Day of the Triffids proportions”.

But writing to the Evening News today, Councillor Macinnes insisted there had actually been “substantially fewer complaints” for the period to the end of June than in the previous two years.

She said the problem was linked to a decision to stop using high-strength weed killer.

She wrote: “Far from complacent, our council teams are working very hard to deal with the problem.

Lesley Macinnes'SNP candidate fir Liberton/Gilmerton

Lesley Macinnes'SNP candidate fir Liberton/Gilmerton

“The sight of weeds is never a welcome one. It understandably troubles many residents. However, in November 2016, the council agreed to phase out use of glyphosate-based herbicides in our city. Many other cities worldwide are following the same path as us.

“We agreed to develop, by November 2017, an integrated weed control programme, combining techniques such as greater use of mulch and strimming; mechanised weed rippers; use of electricity for resistant weeds such as Japanese knotweed; and application of citric acids.

“This ongoing development work requires time and effort to arrive at a workable, effective solution, which will be delivered within the original 12 months’ timetable.”

And she added: “I can reassure readers that I am working closely with council officials to ensure that we have an appropriate response to this problem this year and in the future.”

Vince Scott, business development manager at The Persian Trader on Drummond Place, previously told the Evening News that weeds were a “big issue” in the area. He said: “The main affected area is in the middle of the pavement around the island of gardens – on the south-west side it’s almost like grass, there are no cobbles left. It’s totally overgrown.”

And Karen Findlay, assistant manager of the Cumberland Bar, added: “As we have the beer garden we tend to look after the pavement outside us anyway.

“On Scotland Street it’s really slippery because of the grass and cobbles. If it’s wet it’s an ice rink because of the moss and grass on the cobbles there.”

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