River tidy-up put on hold to September

Bin bags and shopping trolleys are visible on the banks of the Water of Leith. Picture: PHIL WILKINSON
Bin bags and shopping trolleys are visible on the banks of the Water of Leith. Picture: PHIL WILKINSON
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A LITTER and debris-strewn section of one of the city’s main waterside beauty spots will have to wait until September to be tackled by a clean-up team.

Walkers and residents have described the state of the Water of Leith upstream between Bonnington Bridge and the weir as “disgusting” and “shameful”, but it cannot be tackled until the current flood defence works are completed.

The condition of the stretch of river has deteriorated in recent weeks as Water of Leith Trust volunteers, who complete more than 50 clean-ups a year, have been unable to access the riverside.

Dog walker George 
Robertson, 67, from Bonnington, said in a letter to the Evening News: “The state of the river upstream from Bonnington Bridge to the weir is disgusting. Hardly ‘a silver thread in a ribbon of green’ as many describe it.

“The water is filled with all types of debris from broken bicycles to car tyres and plastic rubbish sacks trapped underwater and on the surrounding foliage.

“It is surely time the trust and Friends of the Water of Leith took some action.”

However, the trust has been hampered in its clean up efforts and the earliest it envisions being able to tackle the problem stretch is September.

Charlotte Neary, of the Water of Leith Trust, said: “The section of the river between Bonnington and Redbraes is covered by the flood protection scheme and we have been advised that it is not safe to be climbing all over the banks during the works.

“Also, clear matting has been laid containing water plants, young saplings and wildflowers. It will take some weeks for these to bed in and we do not wish to disturb them.”

A tidy-up has now been pencilled in for the end of the summer with the help of several local community groups including the Friends of Redbraes Grove, Stockbridge Community Council and Warriston Road Residents Association.

Another problem area to be tackled includes piles of garden 
waste dumped behind the 
Warriston allotments.

Full bin bags, styrofoam planters, plant pots and other garden refuse lies in a pile beside the waterside walkway.

Donald Allan, 64, from Trinity, said: “I’ve noticed this pile when I’ve walked past and wondered why anyone would dump such stuff there.

“It needs cleaning up because it doesn’t look good.”

Peter Wright, of the Federation of Edinburgh and District Allotment Garden Associations, said: “I can’t understand why any allotment holders would dump garden waste over the fence rather than compost it.

“To me this seems more to do with flytipping from outside the allotments rather than anyone within.”

Councillor Jim Orr, deputy environment leader, said: “Residents and businesses are responsible for disposing of their rubbish responsibly. 
Flytipping is unsightly and against the law. Our environmental wardens will investigate reports of waste being dumped illegally in order to maintain a clean and green city.”