Deal agreed to clear 'sea of rubbish' at Water of Leith
After weeks of argument over who is responsible for cleaning up the mess, the city council and the dock owners will each meet half the cost, estimated at a total of around £12,000.The flotsam was swept down the Water of Leith in storms last month and has collected in the basin outside cafes, bars and restaurants at The Shore because a boom prevents it from entering the docks beyond.Residents and businesses complained the rubbish looked “appalling” but nothing had been done and it seemed no-one cared.The council claims the clean-up task should fall to Water of Leith 2000, who own the basin and collect fees from barges docked there to maintain the area. But Water of Leith 2000 is not taking part in the joint move. Forth Ports say it should really be up to the council.Forth Ports chief executive Charles Hammond said: “The increasing amount of debris gathering in the basin in Leith is causing community frustration and concern and this needs to be urgently addressed and the correct responsibility taken. “As the operator of the Port of Leith we share this frustration as we have seen a significant increase in the rubbish accumulating in the area with no management plan in place by the city council. We are clear that it is the council’s responsibility as the local authority to clear any debris from the Water of Leith.”He said any debris that entered the port had the potential to damage vessels and was therefore a danger to ships’ crews.He continued: “We take our environmental responsibilities extremely seriously and we have had discussions with the council and the Water of Leith 2000. We want to see this debris cleared urgently and as a one-off gesture to get this sorted we have said to the council we are prepared to pay for half of the clean-up costs. However the council needs to take responsibility for the ongoing management of this.”Council leader Adam McVey agreed the debris needed to be cleared urgently. He said: “The council has been willing to facilitate the clean-up of the basins but all stakeholders have responsibilities to address the situation.“We are disappointed that despite being responsible for managing the basin, the owners Water of Leith 2000 have not helped to support our joint efforts to resolve the situation. “The community and the local wildlife should not have had to put up with this eyesore and potential health hazard for so long, especially at the height of the summer season when thisfantastic, vibrant area is such a draw.“I’m glad we and Forth Ports have been able to agree a plan to clear the debris away and we need an urgent conversation with all parties to find a permanent solution to this. Enough is enough.“We will bring all parties together, including Forth Ports and the owners of the basins, to agree a permanent solution to this longstanding problem and ensure they meet their environmental responsibilities to the community.”The clean-up is expected to start tomorrow.