I think most people will accept that flooding was the inevitable result of the rainfall we saw (and heard) on Sunday, and would agree with the Council that clean gullies alone would not have prevented much of the disruption we saw (report, 6th of July).
We should not pretend, however, that well maintained infrastructure is not the first line of defence when dealing with any rainfall event. It’s not uncommon in my Ward, however, to see a gully choked to the gunnels with weeds growing out of it.
It is worth also considering, however, what’s blocking the gullies. The Council’s own data makes clear that there has been a marked drop in street cleanliness in Edinburgh, and that it is not meeting its own targets. It’s this material that’s blocking the gullies.
It’s not just these basic services where problems exist. Fly-tipping incidents have increased by 91% since 2017. Weeds are now so big in parts of my Ward they are trip hazards. Our capital looks unloved, and Council staff are exhausted playing catch-up.
I’m a huge fan of some of the strategies the Council has produced over the last few years – it has plans to tackle everything from poverty to climate change. I support and welcome this, but I think all of Edinburgh’s 63 Councillors could do more to ensure the Council is getting the basics right too. That’s about asking questions to find out what the issues are, but it is also about standing up for Edinburgh and ensuring it has the funding it needs. Above all else, we need to be honest about the challenges we face.
(You can report blocked gullies here)