Edinburgh New Town bins row: council's only offer of compromise is on colour of bin lids

A heritage body’s compromise proposals over controversial plans for communal bin hubs in the New Town have been mostly rejected by council chiefs – except for changing the shade of green of the lids.

By Ian Swanson
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 4:55 am

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Edinburgh World Heritage (EWH) were involved in long discussions with the council on the impact the bin hubs would have on some of Edinburgh's most historic and most-photographed streets.

Residents claim the hubs – to be located every 100 metres, each with seven large bins – would ruin the famous views of the New Town.

An impression of how the bin hubs could look in the New Town.

EWH suggested various changes, such as daily collections to reduce the number of bins, placing hubs on the garden side of some streets rather than right in front of the houses and keeping the current kerbside collections for food and glass waste.

But in a business bulletin updating the transport and environment committee, council officials said daily collections were not economically viable, having bins on the other side of the street meant asking disabled residents to cross the road and a uniform approach to collections would be more efficient.

However, the bulletin said: “Changing the tone of the green lids on the recycling bins, can be accepted and implemented across the city."

Carol Nimmo, chair of New Town and Broughton Community Council, said EWH and Historic Environment Scotland had been working with the council for months. “But they have ignored all the suggestions they’ve made, for spurious reasons.

Residents want to keep the gull-proof sacks instead.

“The council seems to think all they need to do to make the bin hubs palatable in the World Heritage Site is change the shade of green on a plastic lid. That’s the only change they’re willing to make.

“We don’t think they should be on these most iconic streets at all. The last thing we’re worried about is the shade of green.”

She said residents wanted to keep the current system of gull-proof sacks and recycling boxes, which worked well.

And she said the move to bin hubs had been “completely undemocratic”.

Nobody got the opportunity to object because it didn’t go through any sort of planning process.”

Ms Nimmo said a survey by Edinburgh Central SNP MSP Angus Robertson found around 90 per cent of residents did not support the bin hubs.

“This is supported by our own community council online survey and a recent door-to-door poll on India Street.”

But she said they wanted to work with the council. “We have the same aims and objectives – we all want to go green and recycle more.

“We want the best solution for the New Town, but that is not a communal bin hub in any way.

“Communal bin hubs are being taken out all over Europe. There's no proof at all it makes people recycle more. If one bin’s full they just shove their rubbish in another one and then it’s instantly compromised, they can’t use it as recycling because it has other stuff.

“The recycling boxes we have now mean we have to take control of it and because we have to store it in our houses we do the job properly and pre-sort it.”

The council claims having waste and recycling bins at the same location will make recycling easier and more accessible and the hubs will provide increased capacity, a more reliable service and reduce overflowing bins.

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New Town residents angry over plans for communal bin hubs on neighbourhood stree...

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