Satisfaction with Edinburgh’s bin collections and street cleaning hits record low

PERSISTENT problems with overflowing bins and missed uplifts saw satisfaction with Edinburgh’s refuse collections, street cleaning and recycling fall significantly, according to the latest survey of residents’ views.

Wednesday, 15th May 2019, 6:00 am
Satisfaction levels are the lowest in 15 years.

Just 59 per cent of people across the city said they were happy with bin collections – the lowest satisfaction rate in the past 15 years.

And only 56 per cent city-wide were satisfied with street cleaning – another record low.

And satisfaction with recycling fell from 72 per cent to 65 per cent, the city council’s Edinburgh People Survey 2018 showed.

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The survey coincided with the introduction of the so-called “garden tax” – the new £25 annual charge for collection of garden waste – and a shake-up of all kerbside collections, which saw new routes for bin lorries and meant many people also had a change in the day their bin is supposed to be collected.

The wards with the lowest satisfaction rates for refuse collections were Pentland Hills, which includes Currie and Balerno, and Forth, which includes Granton, as well as Inverleith and Sighthill/Gorgie.

Pentland Hills Tory councillor Graeme Bruce said people had been annoyed about the charge for brown bin collections.

“They wonder why they are having to pay this when they already pay their council tax,” he said. “This is an area where there is a lot of garden waste to take away.”

And he said there had been missed bin collections, including on new housing schemes in Currie and an increase in litter at Malleny Park in Balerno.

Hal Osler, Lib Dem councillor for Inverleith, said she had been tweeting pictures of overflowing bins which were not getting emptied.

She said: “I have Dean village in my ward. They are really proud of their area and the service for bins there is particularly poor. Often resident go out and clear it up. That happens in a lot of places.”

Forth ward Tory councillor Jim Campbell said he had a “huge” number of complaints about missed bin collections and also problems with communal bins.

He said: “Residents just want the system to work. They pay their council tax and they just want the waste collected.”

Green environment spokesman Steve Burgess said it was no surprise that satisfaction with bins was in long-term decline.

But he said: “This raises serious questions about bread and butter council services that really have to improve. I hope senior council managers will find ways to turn these downward trends around.”

Some 81 per cent across the city said they were satisfied with the Capital’s parks and green spaces – down from 86 per cent in 2017, but up from 78 per cent in 2014. Morningside, Inverleith and Portobello/Craigmillar were the most satisfied. Almond ward, which includes Kirkliston and South Queensferry, and Sighthill/Gorgie were the least satisfied.

Residents were asked about dog fouling and overall 48 per cent said it was not common in their area – down from 52 per cent three years earlier.

But in Sighthill/Gorgie just 27 per cent said it was not common, with the figure in Forth ward 30 per cent and in Leith and Pentland Hills 34 per cent.

Satisfaction with the way dog fouling is dealt with was lowest in Sighthill/Gorgie (19 per cent) and Forth (25 per cent).

Environment convener Lesley Macinnes said: “We want to provide Edinburgh residents with the reliable, quality basic services they deserve, and we are always looking at ways we can improve services like bin collections and street cleansing.

“We’re well aware of some of the issues faced as a result of significant changes to waste collections last year, which I’m sure will have affected responses to the survey, but I’m confident the service is back on track, with the latest complaint figures for May down on the same period in 2018.

“We will continue to focus on a range of actions to continue this positive trend, including our roll-out of telematics technology, which will help increase the efficiency of reporting and resolving missed bins. Our communal bin redesign will also begin this summer and, along with the opening of new depots in the east and west of the city, aims to vastly enhance both kerbside and communal collections.”