Scotland: Edinburgh City Council is attributing a 13 per cent increase in overflowing bins over the last 12 months to the perceived “explosion” of holiday lets in the city like those rented out over Airbnb.
Over the summer alone, overflowing bins have generated some 6,000 complaints from disgruntled homeowners in Edinburgh.
The city council is enforcing bin collections three times a week in areas of the city centre and the south, following 6,006 reports of full or overflowing communal bins in the second quarter of the 2019-20 financial year.
Of all the properties listed for short-term holiday lets in Edinburgh, 11,000 are currently active on Airbnb.
The city council’s transport and environment committee met on Thursday, with officials telling Edinburgh Live that the increase in overflowing bins was “likely to reflect the population increase in the summer months, particularly with the increase in short term lets and use of communal bins creating additional pressures on this service”.
The council has also put its weigh behind Scottish government proposals to introduce a licensing regime for road or waste collections.
Councillor Lesley Macinnes told the newspaper: “The explosion of uncontrolled short-term lets in the capital is having a serious impact on a range of vital services.
“These figures on overflowing communal bins make for stark reading and reveal the increasing pressure our waste collection teams are coming under year after year as Edinburgh continues to attract more and more visitors.
“We recognise that this causes our residents inconvenience and frustration. We’ve boosted our collection frequency to tackle the problem but it’s clear the city desperately needs a robust licensing regime for short-term lets to safeguard our communities and relieve the pressure on our services,” she added.
In response, the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers (ASSC) trade body said the council had no evidence that the increase was due to the rise in holiday lets. It added that its members adhere to a strict code of conduct with “clear instructions” on how to manage waste legally.
ASSC chief executive Fiona Campbell said: “I think the refuse situation is not really to do with us – it’s because there’s inadequate provision in a modern city. Pointing the blame on us is scapegoating – it’s another example of blaming a vital industry for a problem that has not been evidenced.
“I think the impacts are being exacerbated by various community groups who are actively telling people to complain more. Yes, there might be a rise in Airbnb, but we have to put that into context, considering the majority of people operate for under 30 days a year, for example,” she added.