New figures released from a Freedom of Information request show that enforcement action in Leith has nearly halved over the last three years, despite a massive increase in the number of fines issued across the city.
We’ve graphed the figures to show these trends below.
The first chart shows the number of fines issued for dog fouling, fly-tipping and littering in the Leith and Leith Walk wards over the least three financial years. As you can see there has been a decline from nearly 290 fines in 2010 to just 143 in the last financial year. There has been a decline across all the environmental tickets – dog fouling, fly-tipping and litter tickets have all dropped.
The second chart shows the city-wide trend:
The trend city-wide is almost the opposite, with the total number of tickets nearly doubling. Indeed, in some other parts of the city there has been a huge increase in the number of fines issued.
During the three years, the number of staff authorised to issue tickets has remained roughly steady – dropping from 51 to 49 over the same time period. This means that the remaining staff have almost doubled the number of tickets they’ve issued.
So despite this city-wide success story – it seems that somehow Leith has failed to benefit from it.
Earlier this year, independent surveys put Leith at the bottom of the city litter league table, in a city which comes bottom of the national league tables for litter. And the Leith and Leith Walk wards were the only wards which failed to meet Keep Scotland Beautiful minimum cleanliness standards in the city.
Since then council managers have pledged to put more resources into street cleaning – but these figures indicate that more can be done at no extra cost.
In the Southside and Newington Ward of the city, the ward exceeded both national and city-wide street cleanliness targets in the last survey of the city and came in second only to Balerno in the league table of cleanest neighbourhoods. There the number of litter tickets issued has increased by 680% over the time period above.
It’s the same story in Inverleith Ward. In the last litter survey it came fourth in the litter league table, and exceeded targets. Over the last three years the number of litter fines has increased by a whopping 1281%.
And it isn’t just a case of well heeled wards improving at the expense of poorer wards. In the Forth Ward the figures show that there has been a 142% upturn in the number of tickets issued to irresponsible dog owners who don’t pick up their dog’s poo. In Leith Walk ward the number of tickets issued declined by 79% over the same time period.
These figures suggest that it must surely be time to take enforcement staff out of neighbourhoods which consistently exceed the environmental standards set by the council for litter with the aim of bringing the more litter strewn neighbourhoods up to scratch?
Not only would this help to give Leithers the same standard of living that everyone else enjoys in the city but it might also help the city as a whole to do better in those Audit Scotland performance tables.
And it isn’t as if Leithers are unwilling to play their part in sorting their neighbourhood.
The Friends of the Water of Leith basin are planning another community clean-up event on Sunday October 7th. If you would like to help clean-up the Water of Leith Walkway then you can meet other volunteers at 10am at the Coalie Park.
Do you think that more people should be fined for dropping litter and not clearing up after their dog in Leith? Let us know what you think in the comment below.