Edinburgh's streets are getting dirtier and more littered, latest figures reveal

Edinburgh's streets are dirtier and more littered than they were four years ago, according to latest figures.
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And the north-east of the city, which includes Leith and Portobello, has seen the biggest fall in its cleanliness rating.

Annual surveys by Keep Scotland Beautiful show that Edinburgh s overall cleanliness has fallen from 89 per cent in 2017 to 82 per cent now.

Kevin Lang says the number of bins in the city has been reduced in recent yearsKevin Lang says the number of bins in the city has been reduced in recent years
Kevin Lang says the number of bins in the city has been reduced in recent years
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But Liberal Democrats have now obtained a breakdown of the figures which reveals the scale of the problem in each of Edinburgh's four localities.

It shows the proportion of streets meeting an acceptable standard of cleanliness in North East Edinburgh – including Leith, Leith Walk, Portobello/Craigmillar and Craigentinny/Duddingston wards – plummeted from 92.6 per cent in 2017/18 to just 64.3 per cent in 2020/21.

In North West – which includes Almond, Forth, Inverleith, Corstorphine/Murrayfield and Drum Brae/Gyle wards – the cleanliness rating dropped from 96.5 per cent to 88.5 per cent.

South West – including Pentland Hills, Sighthill/Gorgie, Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart and Colinton/Fairmilehead – saw a decline from 89.8 per cent to 81.7 per cent.

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And in South East – including City Centre, Liberton/Gilmerton, Morningside and Southside/Newington – the figure fell from 90.5 per cent to 87.6 per cent.

Lib Dem councillor Kevin Lang said the SNP-Labour coalition had promised when it came to power in 2017 to increase Edinburgh’s citywide cleanliness score to 95 per cent, but the figure had gone in the opposite direction.

He said: “It is a disgrace that, under this SNP and Labour administration, so many of Edinburgh’s streets are dirty and getting dirtier.

“When the coalition was formed four years ago, residents were promised cleaner streets. Rather than things getting better, SNP and Labour councillors have allowed the situation to get worse. Even in the council leader’s own area of Leith, street cleanliness has plummeted over the last four years.”

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Cllr Lang said over the past few years the council had cut back on the number of litter bins, which he described as a “backwards step”.

“Ultimately the proper provision of bins and effective street cleaning are the obvious ways to keep areas litter-free, tidy and clean. This should not be rocket science – this is one of the most basic services a council provides for the council tax people pay.

“The situation needs turned around urgently with more bins for people to use and improved street cleaning.”

Environment vice-convener Karen Doran said the figures on street litter cleanliness had been stable for the last decade and were improving.

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“Unfortunately, due to the health pandemic, since last March many people have quite rightly been staying local and working at home which has led to a large increase in the amount of domestic waste being produced.”

She claimed other local authorities had experienced the same issues.

"Added to this, our teams have being under enormous pressure doing a fantastic job, and like all other organisations we have experienced staff shortages due to absences and changes to the way we work to meet health protection guidance such as social distancing.

“We would urge the public to dispose of their waste responsibly and ask everyone when out and about enjoying our beautiful city to bin their litter or take it home with them.”

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