We may have our rats and rubbish in Glasgow, but Edinburgh’s grubbier, says council leader

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Rubbish and domestic waste on the streets of Glasgow - Stuart Nicol
Rubbish and domestic waste on the streets of Glasgow - Stuart Nicol

The SNP leader of Glasgow council has claimed that Edinburgh is dirtier in a row over bins and rat infestations at Cop26.

Susan Aitken, whose stewardship of Scotland’s largest city is under intense scrutiny ahead of hosting Cop26, the UN climate summit, admitted parts of Glasgow had cleanliness “issues” but defended her record by arguing the Scottish capital had a much worse litter problem.

Opponents accused her of offering up only “deflection and excuses” amid growing fears that the UK is to be humiliated on the world stage by the state of Glasgow.

Bin workers are currently due to strike for a week during the 13-day event, meaning world leaders and thousands of international delegates could be met with the sight of rubbish piled up on streets.

Nicola Sturgeon - Andy Buchanan/PA
Nicola Sturgeon - Andy Buchanan/PA

On Friday, Nicola Sturgeon, pictured above, was urged to personally take control of efforts to avert a planned wave of strike action during the summit, with rail workers also planning a disruptive walk out.

“According to Keep Scotland Beautiful, Edinburgh actually had much worse problems with litter throughout the pandemic,” Ms Aitken said. “And nobody said that they shouldn’t have the Edinburgh International Festival.”

The city council has blamed the coronavirus lockdown on increased reports of rats in Glasgow, claiming the vermin moved to more residential areas to look for food because people were working from home.

Ms Aitken told the BBC the pandemic had a “significant impact” on the city’s cleansing services.

She was criticised earlier this year after she claimed Glasgow’s streets merely needed a “spruce up”, despite residents voicing disgust at the state of the city.

She admitted on Friday that parts of the city had “particular issues”, which she blamed largely on fly-tippers. Critics say a new £35 charge for uplift of bulk items, introduced earlier this year, had fuelled the problem.

Sandesh Gulhane, the Scottish Tory MSP for Glasgow, claimed Ms Aitken was “not up to the job”.

“We raised concerns about the mess in Glasgow weeks ago, yet instead of focusing on tackling the problems, all we hear from the SNP is more deflection and excuses,” he said.

“The appalling state of Glasgow’s streets has been caused by years of SNP incompetence.”

While Glasgow is run by the SNP, in Edinburgh there is an SNP/Labour coalition.

Cammy Day, deputy leader of Edinburgh Council, said: “Cllr Aitken should be more concerned about leading her own council and keeping her citizens happy, rather than interfering in the running of Scotland’s capital city dealing with over a decade of cuts from her SNP government.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting