The number of litter fines issued to Leithers has fallen every year for five years, even though the area is among the dirtiest in the city.
In the last financial year to March 2014, the number of litter fines handed out by Environmental Wardens dropped by 19% compared to the previous year in the Leith and Leith Walk wards. Meanwhile, city-wide stats show that there has been a 17% year-on-year increase in the number of litter tickets issued.
Our regular readers will know that we’ve made a point of publishing performance data about the council’s environmental services in Leith, in a bid to persuade council service managers to adopt a more joined up approach towards management of litter.
Even though cleanliness standards have improved in Leith over the last twelve months, with both Leith and Leith Walk wards meeting minimum standards set-out by Keep Scotland Beautiful, the Leith and Leith Walk wards have still been consistently among the dirtiest areas in the city.
Despite this, these litter statistics suggest that city officials are still not deploying environmental wardens in the areas where they could make the most difference.
And it’s a similar story with dog fouling fines.
Last year, the Environmental Wardens managed to issue just 5 tickets for dog fouling in the Leith and Leith Walk wards combined. Indeed, in 12 months, just one dog fouling fine was issued in the Leith Walk ward, the lowest number in any ward of the city.
You’ll note from the chart above that the overall number of dog-fouling tickets issued city-wide also declined last year, which is odd, given that the council teamed up with the Evening News to run a high profile campaign where the paper claimed that “More than 1000 fines have been handed out recently,” adding “Council officials are standing by to take your calls and want to know precisely where and when repeat offenders are leaving their pets behind, so they can target them in a major new blitz.”
Judging by the actual number of dog poo tickets handed out by Environmental Wardens, clearly when the Evening News said “recently” they really meant “over the last four years,” and when the paper promised a “major new blitz” they didn’t know that the council would respond by actually cutting enforcement activity.
To add an extra frisson of irony, the paper launched their campaign last June with a case study from Pilrig Park, which is of course in the Leith Walk ward. That ward with just one fine in a year. Awkward.
Still it isn’t actually all bad news, unless you’re a small business in Leith with a habit of flouting waste disposal laws.
The number of tickets issued by Environmental Wardens for fly tipping has increased hugely in the last financial year – even in Leith. These tickets are often issued by the wardens if small businesses are caught out putting their waste in a place it isn’t supposed to be. In the 2012/2013 financial year, Greener Leith revealed that the city had seemingly stopped issuing these types of tickets.
Well in 2013/14, it would appear they made a comeback, with nearly 1000 issued in the city centre alone, and 80 tickets issued in the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership area.
To be fair to council managers we should point out that complaints received from residents in the Leith Neighbourhood Partnership area relating to dog-fouling, litter and fly-tipping have all reduced when compared the 2012/13 year with the 2013/14 year.
We’d be interested to hear what you think about the trends in these graphs. Do you think there should be more enforcement in Leith? Is there too much focus on fly-tipping and not enough done to tackle dog fouling? Or do you think the levels are about right?
About this data…
A great deal of emphasis is placed by the council on “partnership working” and community engagement in local decision making, and a key part of this is helping people to understand how services in their neighbourhood are working.
Yet sadly, even after Greener Leith volunteers have asked nicely for this data, we’ve had to use Freedom of Information legislation to access this information for three years in a row now.
How many more times will we have to use FOI to access this data before it’s published routinely by the council as part of its Open Data Strategy?