Residents get involved in Changeworks’ anti-flytipping campaign, resulting in a 30% reduction in unwanted items being dumped on local streets. 

A frustration for many Leith residents, flytipping is the illegal dumping of furniture, black bags and other unwanted items on the street, often carried out under the cover of darkness. 

To tackle the problem, the innovative Flyspotting campaign, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund, encourages the local community to be on the lookout for flytipping and report it to the council so it can be removed quickly. The posters, banners and leaflets also discourage residents and passers-by from dumping unwanted items and rubbish in Leith’s streets and parks. 

Following the campaign’s success on ten streets surrounding Dalmeny Street Park since May 2018, environmental charity Changeworks will roll out the Flyspotting initiative to 12 new streets in Leith that are vulnerable to flytipping, as part of their Zero Waste Leith project, delivered in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council. 

Hannah Milne, Zero Waste Leith Co-ordinator at Changeworks said: 

“Flytipping is a real problem for the community, so we’re delighted with the response to this campaign. It’s been a brilliant way to get everyone involved in creating cleaner, greener streets. There has been a significant drop in items dumped on the streets and, at the same time, we’ve seen a massive 176% increase in the number of flytipped items reported to the council between June 2017 and June 2018. We hope to repeat this success as we roll out to other parts of Leith.” 

Not only has total flytipping dropped by 30% from January 2018 to January 2019, but abandoned furniture, the focus of the campaign, is down by 41%.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council said: 

“Flytipping is a blight on communities – creating street clutter, spoiling the look and feel of neighbourhoods and putting pressure on our waste and cleansing service. The Flyspotting campaign has been a tremendous success in highlighting and tackling the issue and I’m delighted to see it being rolled out to more streets. Initiatives like this campaign are a great help to us in our collective drive to make Edinburgh cleaner, greener and altogether more pleasant for everyone who lives, works and visits.” 

The latest roll out of the campaign has been on Pitt Street. Local streets that will see the Flyspotting campaign in future months will be McDonald Road, Spey Terrace, Drum Terrace, Bothwell Street, Rossie Place, Prince Regent Street, Sandport Street, Timber Bush, and Lindsay Road. The campaign will also be further extended along Easter Road and Leith Walk. 

The Flyspotting campaign was designed by Gerry Farrell Ink, who runs the anti-litter organisation, Leithers Don’t Litter. It takes its name from the popular Trainspotting films set in Edinburgh, with campaign materials giving a nod to the films’ iconic style. Posters include Leith’s familiar faces and residents sharing their views on flytipping. 

Zero Waste Leith is a project led by Changeworks. Zero Waste Leith is part of Zero Waste Scotland’s Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme, which will invest £73m in circular economy and resource efficiency projects, thanks to support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

[Update, May 29 2020 11:26am: this article has been updated to reflect finalised data around the results of this campaign.]