Crackdown sees dog mess halved in notorious park

Environmental wardens Russell Simpson, left, and Jonathan Read. Picture: Toby Williams
Environmental wardens Russell Simpson, left, and Jonathan Read. Picture: Toby Williams
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DOG fouling has fallen by half in one city park thanks to the Evening News Dish the Dirt campaign.

Public complaints had highlighted Colinton Mains Park as one of the worst areas for mucky pups failing to pick up after their pets with dozens of piles left every day.

But a targeted operation of increased patrols, more signage and stencils reminding owners of their responsibilities, has seen a reduction of 52 per cent.

It means visitors to the park – including football teams, children and dog walkers – can enjoy the green space with less chance of stepping in something ­unpleasant.

The success of the pilot has been measured by city council environmental wardens who counted the number of dirty deposits in a designated area every month.

Piles of dirt in the ten-metre square patch fell from 11 on the first count to six, then five at the last inspection.

Veronica Wright, city council community safety manager, said it had shown a positive response from owners.

She said: “We are really pleased with how it has gone. It’s a highly-used park with a football club attached to it, children playing and plenty of dog walkers, and the issue of dog mess had come up a few times from community groups, which is why we chose it.

“We decided to do something a wee bit different and counted the dog fouling in part of the park and then set about intervention work, including early and late patrols in addition to what we would do ­normally.

“Other measures like stencils, notices and leaflets about the implications and health risks of not cleaning up also seem to have played a big part in reminding owners to pick up after their pets.”

The Evening News joined forces with the council in June to launch Dish the Dirt and rid streets and parks of the filthy scourge.

A special hotline for people to shop lazy pet owners is still being inundated with calls by members of the public tired of the unsightly problem.

Following the success in Colinton, the approach of shaming irresponsible owners into clearing up is going to be rolled out across the Capital with Gorgie, Dalry and Dumbryden next on the hit list.

Ms Wright said: “We are really pleased with how it has gone in a green area and are now looking to use the same techniques and see how they work in a more urban setting like Gorgie.

“We’re keen to show this is not a gimmick so we will be going back to the area regularly to check the situation.”

Environment convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said she was pleased by the reductions and grateful to the public for alerting council workers.

She said: “Campaigns such as this are being carried out across the city in a bid to tackle what we know is a real pet hate for the vast majority of people. Cleaning up after dogs is both a social and legal responsibility for their owners.

“This is a beautiful city and we want to keep it that way.”

Don’t fall for the all-quiet

WARNING signs are up at all pedestrian crossings along the section of track being used for tram testing.

The “tram testing” banners are part of a public campaign designed to get people to watch out for the vehicles.

Edinburgh City Council has warned pedestrians the trams are relatively quiet. An electronic bell that can be activated by the driver is one of the few audible signs of an approaching tram.

Guidelines are advising people to treat tram crossings like any other traffic signal-controlled junction.

Power lines are live from the Gogar depot to Edinburgh Park and should be avoided.

Call our hotline to report dog fouling: 0300 4563476

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