This week saw the council proclaim, on the basis of an independent litter survey undertaken last September, that the city is cleaner that it’s ever been.
The stats that underpin the press release are from a survey undertaken by Keep Scotland Beautiful four times per year in the city. They say a score of 67 is the minimum ‘acceptable’ score for litter that any area should achieve.
Regular readers of this blog will know that Greener Leith has been campaigning for some time on the fact that the Leith ward in particular has more often than not fallen below this standard.
In September however, both Leith Ward and Leith Walk made the grade, which is certainly something to be welcomed.
But a closer reading of the survey results show that the cleanliness levels in Leith have been pretty much stationary for most of this year. The chart below compares the Leith and Leith Walk ward results with the city wide score. It becomes pretty obvious that any significant improvement that happened in September last year in the city did not really happen in Leith – it happened elsewhere.
Indeed, whilst local councillors might be keen to hail improvements when Leith manages to achieve the minimum acceptable score of 67, it’s worth bearing in mind that other neighbourhoods registered much better improvements in their scores. Notably Colinton and Fairmilehead ward was graded at a virtually unprecedented 91.
So is Leith cleaner than it’s ever been?
Well, as the chart below shows, Leith Walk certainly has been cleaner. In December 2012, it achieved a score of 72. And as for Leith Ward, well it got 67 in the September survey. It also scored 67 in March, and 65 in June. So not much change over the previous two quarters really, and it’s worth noting that Leith was the dirtiest ward in the whole of the city in the September survey.
What they said
We asked our Twitter followers what they thought of the latest results. Here’s what they said:
@greenerleith it has got cleaner, but we should be up at the average or above. And Leith's one gigantic pile of dog poo at the moment
— Peter Matthews (@urbaneprofessor) January 9, 2014
@greenerleith Still the worst in Edinburgh and still very poor and mainly junk food litter. But at least it is getting better, slightly!
— derek robertson (@crieffboy) January 9, 2014
@greenerleith Not noticed any change in leith, loads of litter and even more dog poo.
— Amy Reilly (@amyloureilly) January 9, 2014
In the Evening News:
Gavin Rehfisch, 55, from Leith Links, said: “The streets around here are really badly kept. On both sides of the Walk all you see are these buckets and they look like they never get emptied. They are always full and their lids are off and overflowing with rubbish continually.
“Are the council saying it’s better? It’s definitely worse.”
Alex Wilson, chairman of Leith Business Association, said: “I haven’t seen an improvement in the last few months but I haven’t seen any further deterioration either. The place is not beautiful, especially Leith Walk which is in a fairly dilapidated state. The cleanliness report might apply to parts of Edinburgh but in other parts it’s not so true.
Meanwhile in the council press release:
Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “These are encouraging results for the city and demonstrate the dedication of our street cleaning and environmental warden staff who do such a great job keeping Edinburgh clean.
“However we need to keep this up and a change in attitude is essential to achieving this. Initiatives like Clean Up Edinburgh have shown the important role the public play in making the city a better place to live and we hope the campaign will make people think twice before dropping litter.”
Carole Noble, Head of Environmental Services at Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “The City of Edinburgh Council has been at the forefront of implementing best practise in environmental monitoring, allowing Council resources to be focused in the most effective way possible. These results are further encouragement that improvements are being delivered.
“However, there is no room for complacency, and we welcome the Council’s enthusiastic introduction of the Clean Up Edinburgh campaign which will help to further highlight the impact of those who irresponsibly dispose of litter or who allow their dogs to foul our streets and green spaces.”
Photo credit: Sophie @Feeriaunique