Wardie Bay residents awoke to find the unusual haul of flotsam and jetsam just days before Christmas. Mystery surrounds how the tyres came to find their way into the sea and on to the beach but flytipping is thought to be the most likely explanation.
Several of the tyres were covered in barnacles, suggesting they had been in the water for some time, while others showed limited signs of exposure to the sea.
Locals wasted no time clearing up the debris by gathering the tyres together and depositing them at the top of the beach.
Resident Jan Bakker, who helped to organise the clearance, described the find as “bizarre”. She said: “Where did they come from? And why do they have to end up on our beach?”
The council’s North Team had originally been contacted about the pile of tyres, with a pair of environmental wardens arriving to inspect it on Christmas Eve.
But they have since claimed that the beach beside Granton Harbour belongs to the Crown Estate and arrangements are being made to have the haul removed.
It is understood that, due to the festive holiday, Crown Estates is still working to discover whether it owns the land.
City deputy leader Steve Cardownie, ward councillor for the area, vowed to ensure the tyres were removed quicky – regardless of which agency was responsible for the clean-up.
“Someone will have to get this sorted out as soon as possible because Wardie Bay is a site of special scientific interest which prevented it from being developed many years ago.
“As a key part of the city it’s imperative that these tyres should be removed as soon as possible. Now it’s been brought to my attention I will raise it first thing in the morning and I don’t care which agency does it.”
Cllr Cardownie said it was “strange” that so many car tyres could wash up in one tide and suggested a vessel may have lost part of its load.
“It seems as though the tyres have been collected for a purpose,” he said.
“It’s maybe an accident that a load has come loose on a vessel and that’s why they have washed up in one current.
“If they have been lost from a ship it might be possible to trace which vessel it was and see if they can be punished.
“But it may be that they have been dumped in Forth and the current has washed them in.
“There’s no doubt that 250 tyres is a significant amount and mystery surrounds how they came to be here. But it’s a mystery we will no doubt solve in the following days.”
There is a legal requirement that all tyres are recycled, reused or repurposed. No tyres are allowed to be dumped as landfill.
MOTORISTS PAY FEE FOR RECYCLING
In the last financial year 1319 residents were fined for illegally dumping rubbish by Edinburgh’s environmental wardens.
Of those, 376 were in the city centre alone. A further 230 were reported in the Southside and Newington.
A £50 on-the-spot fine can be meted out for flytipping. Unpaid fines can go before the Procurator Fiscal, who will decide on level of fine.
Motorists usually pay garages a fee of between £1 and £2 to have a tyre recycled but criminals have been offering cheaper disposal rates, allowing unscrupulous garage owners to pocket a bigger profit.