Solution must be found to bin hubs disaster - Miles Briggs

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Like many Edinburgh Evening News readers I am proud to call Edinburgh home. However, something I am sure almost all residents of this great city will agree on is that our bin situation is, to coin a term, rubbish.

For a long time, the people of Edinburgh have suffered from overflowing bins, bin strikes, and the like. Perhaps the greatest change residents are now seeing is the rolling out of the council’s bin hubs across the Capital. The manner in which City of Edinburgh Council has rolled out this policy, however, has been nothing short of a disaster.

Residents across the city have slammed the bin hubs, with concerns centring on the smell (particularly in warm weather) and the unsightliness of the bins themselves, as well as the unbearable noise made by the glass bins.

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For some, the sheer volume of bins that have been randomly allocated have troubled them, with the negative impacts being foisted onto an unlucky few. For the really unlucky, this has resulted in the value of their homes being depreciated. This was the case for Mr and Mrs. Ramage in Portobello, which we covered back in 2022.

Around 5,000 complaints have been registered about bin hubs to the councilAround 5,000 complaints have been registered about bin hubs to the council
Around 5,000 complaints have been registered about bin hubs to the council

I have been shocked by the lack of flexibility or understanding from the council. For the residents and businesses who contacted me and who I tried to assist have seen a council-knows-best attitude and no willingness to create a more flexible approach. To say the current situation has or is about to destroy the quality of life of many residents in the Capital is an understatement.

Most of us will agree that more needs to be done in the city to effectively recycle and deal with our rubbish, and the council is correct to try and highlight this and find new solutions.

But on top of the aforementioned concerns, we have already seen what many of us feared would happen which is fly tipping. These communal bins encourage people from other areas to simply leave their waste in these bins. The main issue here isn’t the bin hub policy at all. It’s the council’s lack of respect for the very people that make Edinburgh what it is. The council is pushing through an unpopular policy whilst sticking its fingers in its ears and ignoring the legitimate concerns of the public.

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For many people, these bins are located right outside their front door. It is unacceptable that some people will be subject to an eyesore directly outside their property – not to mention the fact that they are likely to be victim of noise in the form of glass drops at unsociable hours. In total, 5,000 complaints have been registered about bin hubs to the council.

These bin hubs are also making it increasingly difficult for drivers as they are taking up valuable parking spaces. The fundamental problem is that the framework for siting the bins is too inflexible and is preventing officers from working with residents to find a suitable solution that all parties can agree on. This hasn’t been helped by Labour, SNP and Green councillors blocking reasonable proposals to create some additional flexibility in the rules which would support residents and businesses.

It is crucial that fresh dialogue between residents and businesses and the council is urgently developed so that we can find a more appropriate solution; one which respects both our residents’ way of life and our local environment. I believe the council must pause the current roll-out and work with residents to ensure a suitable alternative is found and the council takes communities with them – not tells them what they will have to accept.

Miles Briggs is a Conservative MSP for Lothian