Auld Reeking: one in 10 Edinburgh streets fails cleanliness test


ONE in ten streets in Scotland’s capital has failed to meet national cleanliness standards.

Keep Scotland Beautiful (KSB) gave Edinburgh one of its lowest-ever scores as a result of its litter, cigarette ends and dog mess-infested streets.

Just 89% of the city’s streets passed the Cleanliness Index Monitoring System (CIMS) survey.

Council bosses have blamed the cold weather on, claiming workers had to drop their bin liners and grit the streets.

But that explanation has been called into question because most of the city’s road remained untreated during the recent cold snap.

In order to pass the CIMS survey Edinburgh had to meet or beat an overall pass mark of 72% – but as a whole it failed with a grade of just 69%.

Princes Street and the surrounding area were given the lowest score and the city centre scored just 60 with the report blaming “smoking related litter, trade waste and litter at bus stops”.

Leith also scored one of the worst with 63% and Inverleith, Corstorphine/Murrayfield, Sighthill/Gorgie, Leith and Craigentinny/Duddingston all failed to meet the 72% target.

The West end of the city scored the highest mark with 73% – the only area to meet the KSB standard.

Edinburgh City Council said cleaners responsible for keeping the area clean were redeployed on gritting duties.


Environment convener Lesley Hinds said: “We want to keep the streets clean and gritted and we have to balance our resources as best we can using the budget that we have.

“When we get a forecast of bad weather, to make sure snow and ice are cleared as quickly as possible, we will use staff we normally use for street cleaning.

“It would not be practical to keep staff on hand to deal with extremely cold weather all year.”

But Edinburgh traders scoffed at the council’s response.

Michael Apter, chairman of the West End Association, said: “It wouldn’t surprise me if this has more to do with the tram project than the weather.

“With so many streets closed off cleansing vehicles have great difficulty gaining access and this leads to litter building up.”

City centre councillor Joanna Mowat said: “There always seems to be an excuse regarding these figures. There has to be flexibility towards both gritting and street cleaning.

“If the figures show that this is a seasonal issue then why can’t we be prepared for it?”

Green councillor Nigel Bagshaw, whose ward of Inverleith scored 65, said: “The weather should really only be used as an excuse if it’s bad enough that it physically stops street cleaners from picking up rubbish.”

Giacomo Modica, chair of Craigentinny/Meadowbank Community Council, said: “I’m not surprised the report says dog fouling was one of the main problems here as it certainly seems to be getting worse.

“Also, the number of bins which are overflowing on to the streets is certainly growing, too.”