THE Scott Monument, the most prominent and soot-ingrained totem of

Auld Reekie's past, is to remain black.

Edinburgh District Council, which has battled to give it a good

scrubbing for the last six years and spent #400,000 in the process,

yesterday finally threw in the towel.

Its planning committee decided not to proceed with an appeal to the

Court of Session against Scottish Secretary Ian Lang's refusal to allow

the council to clean it.

The first bid for a clean-up came in November 1988, but was opposed by

Historic Scotland on the grounds that the cleaning process and

sandblasting risked serious damage to the 150-year-old sandstone


This view was shared by the Reporter at a public inquiry last year and

endorsed by Mr Lang who did, however, agree to repair work.

A council spokesman said both its own policy on stone cleaning and

that of the Scottish Office had been tightened since the first

application. It was unlikely that it would be approved now.

He said the money had not been wasted, since essential repairs had

been done. Planning committee convener, Councillor Bob Cairns, said:

''Even if we had been able to persuade the court to set aside the

Reporter's decision, we would still have had to submit a fresh

application and we know that this could not be granted under the new