Trash starts mounting up as bin men struggle to clear backlog

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RUBBISH is continuing to mount up in parts of Edinburgh as council crews struggle to clear the backlog caused by the festive season and the big freeze.

&#149 Borthwick's Close has had no collections for a month

Old Town residents say streets have been left to resemble giant rubbish tips after going a month without a collection.

It has led to overflowing bins and, in the case of Borthwick's Close and Bell's Wynd off the Royal Mile, piles of abandoned rubbish.

Gary Carson, IT manager at tour group Rabbies Trail Burners on Borthwick's Close, said: "It was early December when the bin bags first began piling up and it's just got worse and worse. Our staff have to use this passage to access the office and I'm certainly worried for my health. There could be rats and all sorts.

"The council are certainly aware of the current situation. My colleague tried calling the council today and yesterday but all he got was a recorded message because of the holiday."

It follows reports that residents in some areas of the city have had to wait nearly two months for their bins to be emptied.

Collections have been badly disrupted in Stenhouse.

Helen McKenzie of Stenhouse Avenue West said: "Mine went for four weeks without being collected and my sister who lives in a cul-de-sac went for five and a half weeks. It was all piled up in the street, it was a mess."

Earlier this week council bosses said they were making progress in clearing the backlog.

A resident in Old Fishmarket Close whose flat overlooks the rubbish said: "It's probably been more than three weeks that these bin bags have been there and no-one has come to pick them up. I don't know who's leaving it. Maybe people think because it's a public walkway they can do what they like."

Cormac Lovett, front of house manager at Mai Thai on Old Fishmarket Close said: "I'm not surprised that people have been forced to leave their rubbish like this but it's still terrible. The two wheelie bins outside filled up in early December and then the area was hard to access once it started to snow."

A city council spokesman said private contractors were being used to help in the effort.

"Extra resources through private contractors have been brought in to help council refuse teams clear much of the backlog that has built up due to the severe weather and festive holiday period.

"They have been kept on as Christmas and New Year always sees a huge increase in the levels of waste to be collected, and all refuse teams have been working extremely hard to clear any backlog."

Seventy temporary skips which have been set up across the city are also set to remain in place for the time being.