Consultation/engagement about waste services in world heritage: NTBCC letter to CEC director of place

On 15 October, NTBCC wrote this letter to Paul Lawrence about future consultation and engagement for Edinburgh’s world heritage area about proposals for communal bins in this area: 2021_10_15 Paul Lawrence.

The text of the letter is below the ‘read more’ cut.

15 October 2021

Dear Mr Lawrence

I am writing to you on behalf of the New Town And Broughton Community Council (NTBCC) following the meeting on 7 October of the Council’s Finance and Resource Committee.

Your report to the Committee on the Communal Bin review stated, inter alia, that:

The approach to be taken in the World Heritage Site (part of phase four) will be subject to a further options appraisal, which will include consultation with Edinburgh World Heritage and engagement with residents.

This was discussed at the NTBCC meeting on 11 October. There has been an ongoing campaign by residents firmly opposed to the installation of Communal Bin Hubs on streets served by Gull-Proof Bags which is now spreading to the rest of the New Town for similar reasons. Your statement was therefore viewed as a potentially positive move. However, there was general agreement at the NTBCC meeting that further information and assurances were required. That is why I am getting in touch.

On behalf of the Community Council, I request the following:

    1. A detailed outline of what specific form of engagement/consultation is planned for the World Heritage Site.
    2. Information on what is involved in “further options appraisal” for the World Heritage Site.
    3. Assurance that the consultation is organised such that there is adequate notice and that it would allow a representative number of residents to be able to make their views known about changes to the refuse collection service. This should acknowledge the low level of current awareness in many parts of the New Town and ideally should offer adequate notice of a minimum three-week period before any event or exercise to canvass opinion.
    4. Assurance that residents will be properly informed about the proposed changes during the consultation, including:
      1. What the new bin configurations or other options will look like and how it is intended to allocate these along the streets in terms of likely locations within the New Town.
      2. The assessment of impact undertaken by the Council that the supports the statements made in your report about the “benefits” of the Council’s proposals. (Section 3.3).
      3. What arrangements are to be in place to prevent the problems of overflowing bins and fly-tipping and to encourage maximum recycling.
    5. A statement of the Council’s formal position on the impact on the World Heritage of the proposals for bin configurations which has not been set out in any of the formal Committee papers that we have been seen.

Residents are anxious to get a refuse collection system that works for them that does not damage the aesthetics of the World Heritage Site (Old and New Towns) but still meets the aim of increased recycling. Given the different circumstances in different parts of the New Town it is necessary that solutions are tailored to particular local needs.

Finally, it should be added that what is sought – except for the specifics about the World Heritage – should, in the Community Council’s view, be available to all areas of the City regarding this major service change. Councillors and residents in other areas across Edinburgh have expressed concerns about the proposed changes to refuse services.

Thank you in anticipation.

Yours sincerely

Peter Williamson
Chair, Environment Committee, New Town & Broughton Community Council

cc. Tannis Dodd, Secretary, Stockbridge & Inverleith Community Council
Tim Pogson, Chair, Southside Community Council
Liz Summerfield, Tollcross Community Council
Mike Wilson, Secretary, Old Town Community Council
Gordon Wyllie, Chair, West End Community Council
City Centre Ward Councillors: Cllr Karen Doran, Cllr Claire Miller, Cllr Joanna Mowat, Cllr Alasdair Rankin