Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Stranded fox rescued from waste-strewn Water of Leith

Fox among rubbish Image copyright Senga Griffiths
Image caption Senga Griffiths took this picture of the fox which was stranded among rubbish on the Water of Leith

Workers have begun clearing debris from a watercourse in Leith after a fox became stranded on unsightly waste earlier this week.

Firefighters and the Scottish SPCA were called in to rescue the animal from the Water of Leith on Monday.

The incident led to increasing calls from the local community to clear the build-up of detritus, which was made worse by high rainfall last month.

Work to clear the flotsam is expected to be completed next week.

Emergency services were alerted to the fox trapped under the Victoria Bridge in Leith just after 10:00 on Monday.

Image copyright City of Edinburgh Council
Image caption Work is now going on to clear the water of debris

The fire service used a specialist water rescue team to help the Scottish SPCA with the rescue.

The charity said the animal did not appear to have any serious injuries and it was taken to its wildlife centre in Fishcross for assessment before being released.

Animal rescue officer Stephanie Grant said the incident showed how dangerous litter can be to wildlife.

"It is imperative that the Scottish public properly dispose of their rubbish," she said.

"This fox was lucky to have been rescued but many animals are seriously injured, or worse, as a result of improperly discarded waste.

Image copyright Scottish SPCA
Image caption Firefighters joined the fox rescue at the Water of Leith on Monday

City of Edinburgh Council said it tried to persuade the basin's owners, Water of Leith 2000, to organise a clean-up, without success.

Following the fox rescue, the council said it agreed with Forth Ports, which own the docks, to appoint a contractor to remove the flotsam from the water.

The work began on Friday.

Image copyright City of Edinburgh Council

"I'm sure I speak for the community when I say it's a massive relief to see the clean-up under way and I'm very glad we and Forth Ports were able to agree a plan to clear away the debris," council leader Adam McVey said.

"The community and the local wildlife should not have had to put up with this eyesore and potential health hazard for so long, especially at the height of the summer season when this fantastic, iconic area is such a draw."

He said the council was "disappointed" that owners Water of Leith 2000, which is responsible for managing the basin, had not helped to support efforts to resolve the issue.

"We will bring all parties together urgently to agree a permanent solution to this longstanding problem and ensure they meet their environmental responsibilities to the community," he added.

BBC Scotland has contacted Water of Leith 2000 for a response.