Street cleaning pledge

Council to restore city’s image after bin shame

Edinburgh litter summer 2022
Litter in the Royal Mile became Edinburgh’s shame (pic: Terry Murden)

Edinburgh City Council is to work with local businesses and residents to improve street cleaning, tackle graffiti and encourage more recycling after the summer of bin workers’ strikes dealt a severe blow to the capital’s image.

The council fears the sight of rubbish piled up in the city as a result of a pay dispute with its refuse collectors, left a damaging impression among visitors.

Together with vandalism, weed-strewn streets and general neglect there is concern that it could hit future income if tourists choose to stay away.

A report published by the City of Edinburgh Council to be considered by the Transport and Environment Committee on Thursday highlighting improvements to the local authority’s waste collection and cleansing service to improve street cleanliness as well as the city’s recycling rates. 

It includes a number of improvements in progress and proposals which require increased investment which will be considered during the budget setting process in February.

The council will build on its ‘Our Edinburgh’ campaign which engages with groups such as community councils and residents and will focus on areas such as fly tipping and illegal disposal of waste.

More will be done to work with takeaway businesses to encourage them to help keep the streets clean.

Tourists welcomed by graffiti in King’s Stables Road (pic: Terry Murden)

Scott Arthur, the city’s environment convener, said: “Edinburgh is a fantastic city, but too often I’m ashamed by the level of mess I see on our streets.

“I know that issues such as graffiti and fly tipping need to be addressed, and Edinburgh’s new administration is committed to taking immediate action and making further improvements if funding can be found.

“We’re also going to further develop our award winning ‘Our Edinburgh’ campaign to educate members of the public on disposing of their waste responsibly.

“I am proud that Edinburgh welcomes visitors from across the globe, but too often in recent years I have been ashamed of what they have seen – I am determined to halt this decline. 

“The changes we want to make won’t just focus on tourists, however, I hope the improvements will reach every corner of our great city. We want to double the number of litter bins in the city centre, deep clean every communal bin area and make it easier for people on low incomes to dispose of bulky household items.

“During the recent strike action I welcomed the fact that many businesses kept the areas around their premises clean.

“We’re going to reach out to them, and other organisations, to further encourage them to engage with us on their corporate responsibility to keep this up.

“We do have powers we can use if businesses persist in not doing this, and we will not hesitate to use them with those which refuse to meet their legal obligations.”

Tram extension nears completion

The final sections of Trams to Newhaven track are soon to be laid as the project prepares for the electrification of the full line.

Newly-installed overhead lines will go live during November and December will allow a testing and commissioning period to begin at the start of 2023.

Two final concrete pours will take also take place this week at Rennie’s Isle and Melrose Drive. The Rennie’s Isle pour will be the longest on the project (170m) and once completed track will be laid from Picardy Place to Newhaven, leaving only a small section at York Place to link the existing line with the new track.

To date, 4.5km (96%) of track has been laid, with tram track now running continuously from Picardy Place to Tower Place, 100% of utility diversions have been completed and major civil works are finished on five of the eight new tram stops.

In the lead-up to overhead lines going live, a communications campaign will remind residents, businesses and stakeholders about the changes, including safety requirements and permits needed to carry out any work on properties along the route.

2 Comments to Council to restore city’s image after bin shame

  1. Good morning,

    where can I find the source about the report published by the City of Edinburgh Council to be considered by the Transport and Environment Committee?

    Thank you,


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