Tenants in busy student areas such as Newington, Bruntsfield and Marchmont have been slapped with £60 fines in a crackdown on long-running problems with fly-tipping sparked by the summer university break.
TVs, beds, tables, chairs, sofas and bikes are among the objects which have been left to clutter up the Capital’s pavements and streets.
A £19.99 council uplift service is available to arrange collection for up to six bulky items and students can also drop off items for recycling at three local authority sites in the city on Craigs Road, Old Dalkeith Road and Seafield. However many choose to ignore these services, and the clampdown was today welcomed by Southside councillor Cameron Rose.
He said: “I’m sure more civic minded residents will welcome this enforcement as it is a regular problem in the south of the city each year.
“There are a number of B&Bs and guest houses on the southside and so from a tourism perspective it doesn’t look good to have rubbish and unwanted furniture piled up on the street.”
City environment leader, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “At this time of year we often experience a higher volume of rubbish dumping in the southside of the city. It is a matter we take very seriously and we have issued 33 fines last week alone. Of these, a large number were as a result of students moving out of their accommodation at the end of term.
“In order to avoid these fines, I would urge anyone who needs to dispose of large amounts of rubbish to contact the council and arrange a special uplift, or make use of the city’s recycling points.”
Edinburgh’s student population is currently thought to number about 35,000.
Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) president James McAsh said: “I urge all students to dispose of unwanted items responsibly. We are currently developing a swap-shop initiative at which students can exchange unwanted items. This would make more sense on a sustainability basis and would also help reduce the number of items that are sent to landfill.”
Cllr Hinds said: “This is an annual problem and we need to take a more proactive than reactive approach. We are already looking at ways to make it easier for bulk items to be disposed of throughout Edinburgh such as offering the use of skips where appropriate to help reduce these incidents in the future. We will also be working with student organisations to develop an imaginative solution to the problem.”
In May, environmental chiefs warned that those caught dropping rubbish in the city’s parks would be hit with a £50 fine. The litter fines system was introduced in 2009 and wardens now issue more than 100 every month to those dropping cigarette butts, chewing gum and litter.
Environment chiefs increased the size of the enforcement team from 32 to 51 in 2010 and doubled the number of fines being issued to more than 1000 every year.