Today the Evening News commits to publishing the picture – online and in print – of every person who is issued with a fine for littering in our Capital.
It comes after bags of dog mess left hanging from trees and litter “mountains” have turned the Capital’s streets and parks into a “minefield”.
Rat infestations, abandoned piles of Christmas trees and overflowing bins all feature in a litany of complaints received after a survey of Evening News readers.
Calls have also been made for the city to boost the number of wardens on patrol and ensure tougher enforcement of litter regulations.
Kirkliston, Easter Road and Nicolson Street are among the worst-affected areas – but our survey has found districts across Edinburgh are being hit.
The amount of pet waste in public spaces has emerged as a major bugbear, with residents taking to social media to blast soiled pavements and parks.
Fresh complaints come after residents in more than half of the city council’s wards listed dog mess as their number one gripe in the latest Edinburgh People Survey.
Neil Davidson, correspondence secretary at Kirkliston Community Council, said dog dirt and litter problems were becoming worse amid a deterioration in local cleansing services.
He said: “There are quite a few around here who discard rubbish and dog mess by hanging [plastic bags] from trees.
“Over the winter, I’ve seen that quite often, when the trees are bare. It’s harder to see during the summer. But I would say you see it on most days – it’s disgusting.
“Every month I get the figures for how many fines the wardens have issued and over the last couple of months there have been very few.”
He added: “It’s possible that the budget is not sufficient for there to be enough wardens on the ground.
“Allison Park is quite bad – people let their dogs run around where they want. It’s very unhygienic for youngsters playing football in there. I think the wardens should be out a lot more often.”
His concerns have been echoed by survey respondents across Edinburgh.
Clermiston resident Vicky Biggar said: [The area] is a disgrace for dog poo along the pavements.
“I reported this years ago and it had improved slightly, or so I thought. It’s absolutely disgusting. Where are the fines? There are plenty notices but no–one monitoring.”
Fiona Porter said there was a “bad infestation” of rats and other vermin in foliage around a bus stop next to Hailesland bridge.
She said: “They don’t run from you – they just stop and look at you, disgusting germ-carriers. Council needs to start emptying bins weekly again.
“Same with foxes – I’ve never seen so many of those. They are not scared of people. Edinburgh needs to get a grip.”
Mum Gillian Thomson said: “Kids have to dodge dogs’ dirt on the way to school [at Lochend Road].
“Only option if you have a buggy sometimes is to go through the middle of it or risk going onto the road as pavements [are] so narrow.”
According to the Edinburgh People Survey, the percentage of residents satisfied with measures to deal with dog fouling has more than halved in six years – down from 62 per cent between 2009-11 to 30 per cent in 2014.
A campaign to Dish the Dirt – run by the council and backed by the Evening News – saw the number of fines issued for dog fouling fall, with 272 handed out in 2012, 291 in 2013 and just 232 in 2014.
Residents have also given changes to bin collections the thumbs down, with ratings falling from 86 per cent in 2009-11 to 62 per cent last year and recycling satisfaction dropping from 80 per cent to 65 per cent.
Opposition figures have called on the council to produce a detailed plan outlining how rubbish collection and cleansing will be improved.
Councillor Joanna Mowat, Conservative member for the city centre, said: “In parts of the city centre, people are still having problems with the capacity of rubbish disposal – there are other ways we could do it.
“We’ve moved from black sacks to on-street bins but if you look at St James’s Park in London, you can see that sometimes a low-tech solution works. There they use black plastic bags that fill up and they have people who go round, constantly picking them up.
“I don’t think we’ve been improving in line with other cities, certainly over the last seven years – we need to be upping our game on this.”
Councillor Nigel Bagshaw, Green member for Inverleith, said litter and dog mess were “ongoing problems” which the Capital “could not seem to quite get a handle on”.
“You need more wardens and more resources [but] budgets are heavily squeezed and it’s only going to get worse, especially as you have the council tax freeze,” he said.
But city bosses said a wide range of litter enforcement, prevention and education measures were making a difference.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, environment leader, said: “We’re aware that the issues of dog fouling and litter are important to people and communities.
“We have reports that come to every single meeting of the council’s transport and environment committee. And we look at all of the stats and complaints, for every single neighbourhood partnership, and we challenge officers if areas are not up to scratch.”
She added: “It’s our intention to keep our streets s clean, no matter where you live. But at the end of the day, it’s the individual’s responsibility as well.”
Platform – Page 21