Comment: The powers exist to make a serious impact

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the results of the latest Edinburgh residents survey will come as no surprise to anyone living in the city.

The state of our streets is fast becoming a disgrace with litter, dog dirt and potholes causing serious problems in many neighbourhoods. The dangers of our ruined roadways, as motorists swerve unexpectedly to avoid craters and cyclists risk being sent head over heels, have been well documented in this newspaper. Similarly the way dog dirt is making some streets and green spaces virtually no-go areas for families with buggies or toddlers has been told many times in the pages of the Evening News.

It is important to recognise that there are also many positives to be drawn from the latest neighbourhood survey. Yes, Edinburgh is a fantastic place to live on the whole, with a first-class public transport service, great libraries and other good services. All that is certainly true.

It is clear, though, where the big challenges lie in the months and years ahead. Mending our broken roads will be a long and expensive process. What is clear is that the Capital is crying out for investment in its most basic infrastructure. It is not just our potholed roads, and that is part of the problem, but also our ageing and over-crowded schools.

It is not the city council’s fault that people continue to throw litter and leave their pets to foul our parks and pavements. Their role in tackling the problem, however, is critical. So far there has been lots of talk about tackling the scourge of dog fouling – including using CCTV vans and naming and shaming irresponsible owners – but so far there have been precious few results to show. That needs to change.

Why are so few fines handed out for fouling despite the willingness of members of the public to report those responsible? The powers exist to make a serious impact on this age-old problem, they are just not being used.