'Sea of rubbish' in Water of Leith basin to finally get cleaned up this month

There have been concerns over the safety of wildlife after a fox was rescued from the built-up debris.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 7:02 am
Updated Friday, 6th December 2019, 7:04 am

THE Water of Leith is to get a massive clean-up after being blighted by discarded waste, detritus and vegetation.

The state of The Shore and basins sparked a massive outcry earlier this year after they became clogged with flotsam, raising environmental and pollution concerns and fears for the health and safety of ducks and swans.

In October, following weeks of wrangling over who was responsible for cleaning it up, Edinburgh City Council and the dock owners Forth Ports split the £12,000 cost of initial improvement works.

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The Water of Leith Basin Partnership blamed high water flow levels for the amount of debris which has built up again and said the area will be regularly monitored to keep on top of the problem.

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At the time, Water of Leith 2000, which owns the basin, was criticised for not playing its part.

But now, it has joined forces with the council, the Water of Leith Conservation Trust (WOLCT), Forth Ports, W and Friends of the Water of Leith Basin with a new joint strategy to address build-ups of debris in the basins.

As part of this, a clean-up has been arranged for 11 December by the council and Forth Ports, with prior work to be carried out by the WOLCT to remove as much litter and plastic waste as possible.

As part of this, a clean-up has been arranged for 11 December by the council and Forth Ports, with prior work to be carried out by the WOLCT to remove as much litter and plastic waste as possible.

Council Leader Adam McVey said: “The build-up of debris in the Water of Leith basin is something local residents rightly feel very strongly about – it’s not only an eyesore, it poses a risk to wildlife. I’m very pleased we’ve developed this new management plan together with our partners to tackle the issue.

“Through joint collaboration and a positive, proactive approach we’ll be able to make a real difference to the look and feel of this fantastic and much-loved space.”

The Water of Leith Basin Partnership blamed high water flow levels for the amount of debris which has built up again and said the area will be regularly monitored to keep on top of the problem.

It stated: “A clean-up has been arranged by City of Edinburgh Council and Forth Ports. This will remove the woody debris accumulated at the boom across the basin near Victoria Bridge.

Council Leader Adam McVey said: The build-up of debris in the Water of Leith basin is something local residents rightly feel very strongly about..."

“Prior to this work volunteers with the WOLCT will attempt to remove as much of the plastic waste and litter as possible, so the woody debris can be used as biomass or composted at the waste treatment site.

“The disposal and processing of the waste will be arranged by the City of Edinburgh Council’s waste team.

“Going forward the partners have drafted an agreement which will be taken to councillors, local organisations, land owners and stakeholders in the coming months to agree what will happen to the accumulations of debris in the future and in what time frame.”

The statement continues: “It is likely that WOLCT, supported by Water of Leith 2000 and City of Edinburgh Council, will regularly monitor the levels of accumulations at the boom and will arrange litter clearances as required. These are unlikely to be more frequently than once a month.

In October, following weeks of wrangling over who was responsible for cleaning it up, Edinburgh City Council and the dock owners Forth Ports split the 12,000 cost of initial improvement works.

“Should this work not be possible due to significant accumulations of woody debris then the City of Edinburgh Council and Forth Ports will be alerted and a contractor clean-up will be arranged and the boom cleared. The aim of the agreement is to agree a sustainable plan of action to tackle the ad hoc and severe accumulations.