Labour councillor brands Edinburgh weed problem ‘a disgrace’

Weeds on Princes Street. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Weeds on Princes Street. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A Labour councillor has hit out at the city’s new administration over how it is tackling weeds, calling the problem a “disgrace” to the Capital.

The criticism was dished out by new Colinton and Fairmilehead councillor Scott Arthur, who said residents were right to be concerned about the issue.

In an online blog, Cllr Arthur said it was a disgrace that visitors arriving in the Capital would be greeted with weeds reaching “several feet” in height.

He said: “Several people in my Ward tell me that they themselves have been tackling the problem on their own street. Whilst this is laudable, residents should not have to even consider doing this.

“Furthermore, based on complaints from people living in my ward, I have worked with council staff to have the whole of Buckstone treated alongside parts of Oxgangs and Colinton.”

Cllr Arthur said the issue needed to be dealt with “as soon as possible”, pouring cold water on the decision to hold off until relevant officers could be questioned next month.

He went on: “Despite the need to tackle the problem as soon as possible, Councillor Lesley MacInnes [chair of the transport and environment committee] appears content to focus on having a robust plan for next year – all she is offering is “talks” with Council Officers and a chance to question them at the mid-August transport and environment committee.

“Meanwhile the weeds grow under our feed.

• READ MORE: Locals hit out at Edinburgh’s weed problem

“Of course, the underlying problem here is one that the SNP’s Councillor MacInnes does not want to address.

“Our capital is struggling to cope with weeds, potholes and overflowing bins because her party (together with their Green chums) in Holyrood voted to cut Edinburgh’s budget.

“Whilst she will probably solve the weed problem by robbing some other budget, the right thing to do would be to ask her Holyrood masters for the funding Edinburgh deserves.

“It’s time to put Edinburgh first.”

Cllr Arthur’s comments come just days after one of his Tory counterparts, Portobello/Craigmillar councillor Callum Laidlaw, said weeds in the Capital had reached Day of the Triffids proportions.

The 1951 post-apocalyptic novel – later adapted for the big screen – features terrifying, carnivorous plants capable of locomotion and communication.

Cllr Macinnes said the new administration was working hard to address the issue and was committed to finding the “most effective [and] safest” solutions for the city.

She said: “We acknowledge that the problem of weeds has been more noticeable this year, as many of the Capital’s residents will have seen in their own gardens and driveways.

“This is in part due to the fact herbicides are not as effective or able to be applied in wet conditions.

“While we are working hard to address the current situation, we are also exploring the most appropriate measures to target roadsides, pavements, parks and other green spaces, focusing on the best method of treatment for each surface.

“This is partly as a result of necessary changes to our use of particular weed killers in our parks and on our streets.

“It is our intention to find the most effective, safest solutions for tackling weeds in Edinburgh.”

The council noted enquiries about weeds had decreased, with 107 logged from January to June this years compared to 162 in the same period in 2016.