Gullies – All of Edinburgh’s 63 Councillors could do more to ensure the Council is getting the basics right.

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)

3 thoughts on “Gullies – All of Edinburgh’s 63 Councillors could do more to ensure the Council is getting the basics right.

  1. Scott, thanks for the update. I hope everyone is not too badly affected round here. I agree that ‘doing less, better’ would be a good start. The Capital does look unloved – in fact, it looks a total mess – and limited spending must be targeted at delivering core Council responsibilities that benefit Edinburgh rather than party agendas.

    The irony’s not lost on the fact that most Council effort in the past 15 months or so has been on implementing or responding to Spaces for People with all the opportunity cost of time and money that has taken, and the breakdown in relations with residents that has followed. It would be refreshing if the recent survey of Comiston residents (I think 62% against) was accepted and acted upon, and we could move on from this and work with the Council. I’m assuming that funding is in large part sourced from residents, so the relationship needs to be reset if there’s an expectation we will be paying more in Council tax.


  2. Good post Scott. I agree that gutter cleaning is important though it’s good to see you acknowledge the obvious – that our drains, sewers and related infrastructure are completely inadequate to deal with the increasingly intense weather events that climate change is bringing.

    We need leaders to get realistic with people about the breathtaking cost and disruption that would be implied if we had to rebuild the storm water network to cope with the 1 in 500 year events that might now be seen every few years. It would make the removal of a few parking spaces for cycle lanes seem like nothing.

    We’ve seen that central government (even the Westminster Tory government) has made it mandatory to allocate signficant road space to active travel to even access central funds. We should use the ETRO process for these Spaces for People schemes to get sustainable drainage measures on the table, as well as helping people to make smarter journeys and the council should be explicit that these are the aims when they put these schemes out for consultation.

    We can replace the temporary bollards with something better. We don’t need to go back to parking free-for-all here, and our kids won’t forgive us if we do.


  3. When the gullies do get cleared, a pile of mud and silt is left next to it. See this example on Myreside Road, a double gully in a flood-prone location. Why isn’t the mud cleared up properly, surely it just ends up washing back into the gully and blocking it again?


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