Leader comment: Why is Edinburgh so bad at bin collections?

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No issue dominates the Evening News letters pages like bin collections.

The collection (or lack) of our waste is consistently held as the barometer of council performance. It may be just one department of the local authority but if things go wrong there then cries of ‘the council is failing’ will soon follow along with demands for heads to roll.

That’s because it is the one issue which affects everyone - young or old, rich or poor, homeowner or tenant, driver or pedestrian - we all need our bins collected.

And, to be fair, we pay our council tax and it’s not unreasonable to expect this basic service is provided on time and with minimum of fuss.

So why is it that Edinburgh just can’t seem to get it right and collections are thrown into chaos so often?

The answer comes today from one of the city’s top officials; we don’t have enough bin lorries. Cost-cutting over the years means that if a vehicle goes off the road, there isn’t a back-up.

Labour councillor Scott Arthur calls the admission “alarming” and we tend to agree. “We should not forget that waste collection is a statutory service,” he says. Indeed. And the council should not forget it is what they will be judged upon by many residents.