‘This is not as barmy as it first appears’

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A SCHEME which offers to reward dog owners for being responsible and doing what they should 
 be doing anyway smells a little odd. When public money is involved, some may say it really starts to whiff.

But the new campaign in Leith which is offering things like tickets to the Royal Yacht Britannia and a free cream tea to dog owners who are spotted picking up their pet’s mess is not as barmy as it at first appears.

A relatively small amount of council cash has gone towards backing the scheme, with local businesses instead signing up to donate the prizes.

That is not surprising when you consider that Leith consistently tops the dirty streets league and retailers as much as anyone have a vested interest in making sure the area cleans up its act.

It was revealed last month that Edinburgh receives more complaints about dog dirt than anywhere else in the country – 5761 in the last five years as opposed 4000 in Glasgow –and so there is little doubt about the scale of the problem.

The city council has taken a hard line on fining offenders when it can, but it can’t catch everyone and this in itself won’t solve the issue.

Innovative schemes such as this Greener Leith idea aren’t going to magically wipe the streets clean 
either, but they are certainly worth a try.

At the very least, it will put dog owners on alert that they are being watched – not just by the litter 
meanies but by the public at large.

It is a great example of a small 
investment by taxpayers kickstarting a scheme which is allowing the 
community to take action for itself.

Let’s hope the wardens will soon end up handing out more prizes than fines.

Show must go on

You have to admire Douglas Robertson’s enterprising spirit.

Faced with some of his favourite bands struggling to find somewhere to perform in Edinburgh, he decided to solve the problem himself – by inviting them to play in his very own front room.

It must be murder, though, for some of his nearest neighbours in their formerly quiet residential street.

Robertson’s sitting room might not be the ideal solution to the shortage of great music venues in the Capital.

Wouldn’t it be great, though, if instead of simply closing his Sound House down the city council was able to help him find an alternative venue?

After all, isn’t “the show must go on” the entertainment industry’s greatest principle?