Leith pet owners to win prizes for picking up dog mess

A dog owner disposing of dog dirt
A dog owner disposing of dog dirt
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DOG walkers are to be rewarded for picking up droppings as part of a new trial being carried out in Leith.

Environmental wardens and members of the public will be able to nominate responsible owners for prizes including cream teas, free tickets and pet products.

Nominations can be made online and the group behind the scheme has already made a video of the project in action.

Campaigners from Greener Leith launched the project after securing funding from Edinburgh City Council. Council chiefs have pledged their support and the efforts of environmental staff.

Leith has consistently scored lowest on the Cleanliness of the City reports for Keep Scotland Beautiful, and campaigners and residents are keen to improve its reputation.

The practice could be rolled out more widely if it can be demonstrated that it works.

Campaigners say there needs to be recognition for those who are particularly considerate.

Charlotte Encombe, chair of Greener Leith, said: “This project only works because of the support we’ve received from local businesses as well as the City of Edinburgh Council.

“The project won funding through last year’s Leith Decides event, so we’d also like to thank everyone who voted for Greener Leith to receive the money to deliver this project.

“Partnership is an overused word – but this really is a problem-solving partnership between local businesses, the council and a charity.

“If there any other organisations in Leith who’d like to donate a gift voucher or two to allow the project to run for a longer period of time, then we’d love to hear from them. It’s probably a much better use of your advertising budget if you want to connect with potential local customers!”

A number of local traders have signed up to the scheme.

Among those taking part is Natalie Kwek, 26, owner of the Haven Cafe, on Anchorfield, which saw off competition from Michelin Star restaurants to be the rated the best place to eat in Edinburgh.

She urged other business to donate, if they could. Ms Kwek said: “We certainly believe this is good thing. If people are going to get rewards for making Leith a better place then we’re happy to support that. If other Leith businesses can offer prizes we would urged them to do so. It’s good for promoting their business along with supporting the area.”

Councillor Gordon Munro, who represents Leith, said: “I’m in favour of anything that helps make Leith cleaner. Leith is bottom of the list in terms of environmental cleanliness in Edinburgh. “We have to make use of any means at our disposal to try to change things.”

A spokesman for the city council said: “Our environmental wardens are assisting with this project.”

Dog walkers who allow their pet to foul in public have been given £40 fixed penalty notices since 2003, when legislation was brought in giving councils the power to fine anyone
who does not immediately clean up. Last year, the council approved a scheme which saw postcards bearing pictures of dog poop posted to residents in a bid to tackle the problem.