Council blames weather as weeds take over Capital

Weeds growing on Magdala Crescent, Edinburgh. Picture: Toby Williams
Weeds growing on Magdala Crescent, Edinburgh. Picture: Toby Williams
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OVERGROWN weeds have turned avenues, lanes and pavements across the Capital into a “shabby mess”, it was claimed today as the council blamed the problem on the weather.

Residents across the city said they had never seen so many weeds springing up and revealed they had resorted to pulling them out themselves.

Everything should look as good as possible if we’re in competition with other cities

Murray Ogilvie

And there have been warnings that “unkempt and neglected” streets will discourage tourists in town for festival season from returning.

Claremont Road, Douglas Gardens and Regent Terrace are among the badly hit areas, although complaints have come in from households and businesses across Edinburgh.

City leaders insisted there had been no cuts to maintenance teams and blamed weed-infested roads on wet weather and rising temperatures. They said it was not always possible to kill thick weeds with spray, and accelerated growth made manual removal necessary.

But frustrated residents today said the appearance of neighbourhoods had been allowed to deteriorate.

Fran Auburn-McKenzie, 56, who lives in Lansdowne Crescent, said: “I myself have gone out and pulled up weeds – it matters to me that the street looks nice. What they’re doing now [to keep the weeds under control] is not quite working. As a taxpayer, you would hope that would be addressed and that they would come up with some way of rectifying that.

“It’s also sad to see the street neglected. We have this amazing architecture around us and [the weeds] detract from that. I have lived here for three years and I would say the weeds look worse [than in previous years].”

Vivienne Brown, 54, a West End resident, said the combination of weeds and cracked pavements had made local streets dangerous to walk on. “It’s an absolute disgrace – it’s like an assault course,” she said. “It breaches health and safety regulations.”

One Regent Terrace resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I have done a whole lot of weeding just along the gutters because it just hasn’t been done.

“It’s looking a bit shabby. I would say the place is looking a bit worse than usual and I don’t think it’s acceptable.”

Small business owners have also expressed concern and said the problem could have an impact on how Edinburgh is viewed by visitors.

Murray Ogilvie, assistant manager at Elder York guest house, next to Edinburgh Bus Station, said weeds had made the transport hub’s rear entrance look “a bit of a mess”.

He said: “It’s starting to get out of hand. For visitors, first impressions count. And when rubbish such as cigarettes and bottles starts to collect in the weeds, that’s when it becomes a major problem. Everything should look as good as possible, especially if we’re in competition with different cities.”

A city council spokeswoman said: “Weeds are a seasonal problem in Scotland, particularly following warmer and wetter weather. In each of Edinburgh’s neighbourhoods, council staff operate a schedule of ground maintenance. The spraying of weeds with a strictly regulated pesticide suitable for public areas is a core part of this maintenance, and is stepped up in the growing season [June-August]. Residents should be aware that during very wet weather, the spray is less efficient and weeds are manually removed, which can take longer to complete.”