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Rubbish-filled river to be cleared in joint clean-up

A young cygnet was spotted wading through the mess within the Water of Leith.

Water of Leith: A cygnet had to wade through the debris.
Water of Leith: A cygnet had to wade through the debris.

The City of Edinburgh Council has pledged to bring different groups together in a bid to clean up the Water of Leith basin.

A clean-up took place in July after a fox became stranded on debris and had to be rescued by fire crews.

Heavy rainfall during the summer was said to have contributed to the “unsightly and unhygienic” problem.

On Sunday, a young cygnet was recorded wading through more debris.

Leith Docks HQ posted: “Leith cygnets are 22-weeks-old. Doing well, but none of the waterfowl should have to negotiate this obstacle course.”

On Monday, the council said it intends to set up a new agreement on the day-to-day management of the basin between a number of key partners – including Water of Leith 2000, which owns the area.

The council said the agreement will build on the Water of Leith Management Plan 2010-20 and will address the “accumulation of litter, detritus and vegetation and its removal”.

The maintenance of the basin is said to be “key” to the wider management of the Water of Leith.

Council leader Adam McVey said: “I am pleased that we are moving forward with an agreement to manage the Water of Leith basin.

“Our blue space is hugely important to the local community and environmentally significant to the variety of wildlife living and nesting there.

“As we saw over the summer, it’s essential that all relevant parties pull together to ensure the safety and amenity of this area, and I’m confident that this agreement will ensure we each take responsibility for its care, as part of the wider management of the Water of Leith.

“The partnership approach we’re agreeing will ensure that our blue space in Leith is protected and maintained, whatever the weather throws at us.”

The proposed partnership agreement includes the council, Water of Leith Conservation Trust, Water of Leith 2000, Forth Ports, and Friends of the Water of Leith Basin.

Responsibilities will be specified in detail in the new agreement, also taking into account the involvement of additional voluntary groups and private land owners.

A report on the action plan will go before the Transport and Environment Committee in December.

Helen Brown, trust manager of the Water of Leith Conservation Trust, said: “The Water of Leith Conservation Trust is happy to work with local stakeholders to ensure this part of the river is kept clean, green and beautiful.

“The removal of rubbish, especially plastics, is very important to prevent the litter washed downstream ending up in the oceans, and this is what we will be focusing on with our volunteers.”

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