THOUSANDS of cruise ship passengers are being left with a “horrible first impression” of the Capital due to local firms illegally fly-tipping less than a mile from the city’s main port, it has been claimed.
Furious residents in Newhaven say businesses are deliberately leaving mounds of commercial waste on a patch of land next to the Lindsay Road industrial estate at North Leith Sands – a five-minute walk from where cruise liners drop anchor.
Images show a mound of abandoned car tyres among other assorted debris – including dozens of empty alcohol containers – at the site next to the Summerside Blinds warehouse.
Tour groups often travel along the road next to the waste ground on bus trips into the city.
Council environment bosses have urged members of the public to report instances of fly-tipping as soon as possible to help catch the offenders, but locals claim the authority is “fighting a losing battle”.
Newhaven resident Will Murray, 69, said the council’s waste management teams usually clear up the mess within two or three days of it being reported.
However, he said the clean-up did little to deter the culprits, who return a few days later.
He said: “It really is not great having to walk past it every day as a local, but for the tourists who come in through the port, they are getting a really poor first impression of the city.”
“We have more and more passengers coming off ships every year and when they do, they get bussed past that whole area when they go on tours into the centre or visits to the Britannia. It probably is not what they expect to see when visiting Edinburgh for the first time.”
Mr Murray added: “I have no problem with the council service at the moment, the guys are all really good, but they are struggling to cope with the constant mess.”
Around 40 ships visit the Leith port every year, bringing as many as 20,000 passengers from all over the world.
A report by environmental campaign group Zero Waste Scotland said littering and fly-tipping was costing the public purse more than £50m a year, based on the 2017 estimate, with around 15,000 tonnes of litter discarded.
If caught, fly-tippers can face a £200 penalty notice from the council’s environmental wardens.
However, certain more severe cases can be taken to court, with the penalty of up to £40,000 or a potential jail sentence.
Councillor Karen Doran, vice convener of transport and environment, said: “All residents and businesses have a duty to dispose of their waste responsibly and this includes any furniture or bulky items that don’t fit in bin containers.
“Fly-tipping is illegal and we don’t hesitate to take action against people who dispose of their waste in this irresponsible manner and can issue fixed penalties of £200.”
Cllr Doran added: “Information from the public helps us to tackle this problem, so I would urge people to report any incidents of fly-tipping to us immediately.”