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The City of Edinburgh Council has taken decisive action to tackle a build-up of flotsam and litter in the Water of Leith at the Shore which was made worse by high rainfall last month.

Despite leading efforts to persuade the basin’s owners, Water of Leith 2000, to organise the clean-up, the unsightly and unhygienic debris is still in place.

Earlier this week, a fox become stranded on the debris and had to be rescued by the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service and the Scottish SPCA, leading to increasingly loud calls from the local community for the matter to be resolved swiftly.

Work gets underway to clean up the Water of Leith

After discussions with Forth Ports, who own the docks, the Council has appointed a contractor to remove the flotsam from the water. This work – funded jointly by both the Council and Forth Ports – began today [Friday 19 July] and will be completed next week.

Council Leader Adam McVey said: “I’m sure I speak for the community when I say it’s a massive relief to see the clean-up under way and I’m very glad we and Forth Ports were able to agree a plan to clear away the debris. The community and the local wildlife should not have had to put up with this eyesore and potential health hazard for so long, especially at the height of the summer season when this fantastic, iconic area is such a draw.

“The Council has been willing to facilitate the clean-up of the basins but all stakeholders have responsibilities to address the situation. We are disappointed that despite being responsible for managing the basin, the owners Water of Leith 2000 have not helped to support our joint efforts to resolve the situation following recent high rainfall.

A cherry picker helps to clear up the build-up of flotsam

“We will bring all parties together urgently to agree a permanent solution to this longstanding problem and ensure they meet their environmental responsibilities to the community.”