Traders face fines in limit for bin collections

City leaders want fewer rubbish spectacles like this in Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean
City leaders want fewer rubbish spectacles like this in Edinburgh. Picture: Greg Macvean
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MISBEHAVING traders will be slapped with multiple fines under plans to limit trade waste collections to strict times.

A nine-month pilot scheme will see timed collections introduced at three hot spots from the new year – Leith Walk, Rose Street and the High Street.

Businesses along these main roads will only be allowed to put their rubbish out up to half an hour before their pick-up time. Those caught dumping waste in the street outside the time window will be hit with a £50 fines.

Enforcement officers will patrol all three key shopping areas daily and will hand out penalty notices whenever 
rubbish is found outside of permitted times.

City chiefs hope the hardline approach will lead to a “culture change” and stop traders from cluttering Edinburgh’s streets with unsightly litter and food waste. They want shop owners to instead store bags or containers within their properties.

The council has estimated it spends more than £600,000 a year cleaning up burst bin bags.

City environment convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said a similar system had been run successfully in Westminster and Manchester.

“There has been an increasing number of trade waste containers being kept on the city’s streets, which is having an adverse impact on the city appearance,” she said.

“There are also problems with litter escaping from trade waste bins that are overfull because they are not being serviced frequently enough or because businesses are leaving sacks of waste on the street overnight, which makes them vulnerable to being ripped open by gulls and other animals.”

Times for collections on certain streets are yet to be decided, although quiet periods such as early morning are favoured.

Business owners, however, are likely to be up in arms given it will mean storing waste on their premises. Despite this the pilot is expected to be given the green light at Tuesday’s environment committee meeting.

Cllr Hinds said the change has been flagged to traders, adding Historic Scotland and Unesco World Heritage have both thrown their support behind the tougher approach.

At present, the council is able to issue fines to traders if waste is presented incorrectly, but fines have been handed out on an ad-hoc basis.

Fixed penalties can be dished out if rubbish is found spilled over the road. Burst bags, overflowing bins and businesses caught putting waste into domestic bins can also result in fines.

More than 800 fines have been issued in the past year but the number is expected to rise under the new scheme, which will see progress updates issued before and after the festival period.