Edinburgh’s dirty streets: ‘Give us time’ to sort out mess say council chiefs
Edinburgh City Council has been accused of leaving the capital’s streets in disrepair – with one MSP saying ‘the state of Edinburgh’s streets are a disgrace’ – while council chiefs ask the city’s residents to ‘please bear with us’.
Social media has been awash with complaints about rubbish in the streets, overflowing bins and blocked drains as the council struggles to juggle the fall out from the coronavirus pandemic with keeping the city’s streets clean.
Now, Conservative MSP Susan Webber has laid the blame at the feet of the council’s SNP/Labour administration, saying the leadership ‘should be embarrassed’.
However, SNP council leader Adam McVey says the council has faced a ‘particularly difficult’ set of challenges during the pandemic, and that pre-lockdown the city’s street cleansing scores were actually improving.
Ms Webber, who represents the Lothian region in Holyrood, said: “The state of Edinburgh’s streets is a disgrace and the SNP/Labour council administration should be embarrassed.
“The pavements are in disrepair. Weeds have sprung up on every street and in every drain. Bins are overflowing which is attracting vermin and causing the city to look and smell bad. Roads are falling apart.
“The workers are not to blame – the SNP/Labour council administration needs to get a grip and clean up our city.
“The SNP/Green Scottish Government needs to provide adequate funding to allow the council to do their job properly in the first place, but ultimately it comes down to priorities and keeping the city clean does not appear to be one of them.
“The state of Glasgow’s streets has been getting a lot of media attention, but the problems in Edinburgh are just as bad.
“There is always a rivalry between Edinburgh and Glasgow, but neither city should be competing to be the dirtiest.
“With COP26 around the corner what image are we projecting to the world if we cannot even clean up our own rubbish.”
The regularity of communal bin collections In Edinburgh depends on where they are – with some being collected as many as five or six times a week.
The council also says that when its officers are informed that communal bins are overflowing, they arrange for them to be picked up early.
Council leader Adam McVey, who represents Leith, said: “There’s no doubting the challenges in keeping our public space looking its best.
“This has been particularly difficult during the impact of Covid on staff capacity due to track and trace requirements but I’m sure people will understand.
“Despite this, we’re fully committed to getting these core services right, in line with our business plan priority to maintain and improve essential services.
“Before the pandemic, our street cleansing scores were actually improving, and we’re determined to get back to a high continuous standard, even while suffering the impacts of Covid.
“We have allocated additional resources with an extra £300k invested on top of our budgets for mechanical litter sweepers also capable of removing weeds.
“As well as street cleaning our roads team is already hard at work maintaining the city’s gullies on a year-round basis and we allocated an additional £6m this year on top of our core roads budgets to make progress on maintenance of infrastructure, after being hit hard by weather.
“Our message to people in the city is please bear with us. The additional resources allocated will help make inroads on issues like weeds, but while staff capacity is still affected by Covid.
“I’m sure people will understand that our hard-working teams will continue to do all they can to keep Edinburgh beautiful.”