Locals hit out at Edinburgh’s weed problem

An overgrown weed... or is it a Triffid sprouting from Leith Walk pavement. Picture: Ian Georgeson
An overgrown weed... or is it a Triffid sprouting from Leith Walk pavement. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Have your say

ONE is a post-apocalyptic world plagued by terrifying carnivorous plants – the other is one of the most beautiful cities on the planet.

But the Capital could in fact have more in common with sci-fi hit The Day of the Triffids than you might think, a councillor has claimed.

Now city leaders are facing renewed calls to tackle weeds just weeks before thousands of visitors arrive for the start of the busy festival season.

Conservative councillor Callum Laidlaw said that in addition to creating an air of neglect, weeds were damaging the very fabric of the city.

He said: “The issue of weeds across Edinburgh is reaching Day of the Triffids proportions and is not only an eyesore but fundamentally damaging to our historic buildings and already-damaged streets.

“Currently only eight gardeners are employed across the city to tackle weeds, with an unclear split in responsibility between Waste and Cleansing and Parks and Greenspace. Clearly more strategic support is required and the council needs to grasp the nettle quite literally and realise that this is a problem that needs to be tackled at its roots.”

Cllr Laidlaw pointed out a number of city centre hotspots, including Drummond Place and Great King Street, Queen Street and Dean Bridge.

He added: “I support the decision to reduce and phase out the use of high-strength glyphosate weed killer but the alternatives have not been effectively implemented.”

It comes after the council previously pledged to phase out the use of glyphosate weedkiller after it was condemned as potentially carcinogenic.

Vince Scott, business development manager at The Persian Trader on Drummond Place, said weeds were a “big issue” in the area. He said: “The main affected area is in the middle of the pavement around the island of gardens – on the south-west side it’s almost like grass, there’s no cobbles left. It’s totally overgrown.”

Karen Findlay, assistant manager of the Cumberland Bar, said: “As we have the beer garden we tend to look after the pavement outside us anyway.

“On Scotland Street it’s really slippery because of the grass and cobbles. I wear grip shoes because of the cellar but I still have to be very careful.

“If it’s wet it’s an ice rink because of the moss and grass on the cobbles there.”

Transport and environment convener Lesley MacInnes said she accepted weeds were a “significant” problem, saying talks were already under way over tackling the issue. She said: “We believe the issue would be better served by having the opportunity to question officers at the transport and environment committee and therefore creating a much more effective road map to a solution.”

A council spokesman said the eight workers referenced were parks staff and that they were supported by the street cleansing team. They said recent rain had made glyphosate-based weedkillers less effective.