The A-Board Ban, The Fringe & My Apology.


Although it has not been problem free, I am a fan of Edinburgh’s “A-Board Ban” which means footpaths can’t be used to display temporary on-street advertising structures.  This frees up valuable footpath space, making it easier and safer for those with mobility problems, buggies and young children to get around.

The policy does, however, come with exemptions. Inexplicably, one is the Council’s own on-street advertising structures. One of the others is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (other festivals are not mentioned), on them the policy says:

The Festival represents an extraordinary period in the city’s events calendar, and as an
internationally recognised event, it brings with it thousands of visitors which provide
a significant boost to Edinburgh’s economy. Having regard to this, there has been a
long-standing acceptance that many of the restrictions that are in place throughout
the rest of the year are relaxed. Notwithstanding this, the Council continues to work
closely with signage and event organisers and reviews infrastructure each year to ensure it meets with public safety requirements and respects particularly sensitive

This morning I spotted online that some of the on-street advertising structures promoting Edinburgh Fringe Festival acts did not (in my opinion) meet “with public safety requirements”… or at least common sense (images above). In response, I promptly e-mailed senior people in both the Council and the Fringe Society.

Twelve hours later I have not had a reply from the Senior Council Officer yet, but the prompt reply I received from the Fringe Society was an education for me:

The Outdoor Advertising Scheme promoting acts on the Fringe is not managed by the Fringe Society, it is managed by Out of Hand (OoH) who are contracted by the City of Edinburgh Council.  Each site is clearly labelled with a reference and contact details for reporting any issues (highlighted in your first image) which are always dealt with promptly. The Fishmarket Close example you have given was as a result of overnight vandalism and had already been picked up by a daily check made of all sites by Out of Hand,  before the complaint came in, and was in the process of being fixed. 

And also:

In addition to the Outdoor Advertising, and as part of the contract,  OoH facilitate an anti-littering campaign for CEC and do an extensive clear up operation of flyposting, chewing gum, etc. from an agreed perimeter around each Fringe advertising site which makes a considerable difference to the cleanliness of the city and 99% all materials produced are recycled at the end of the Fringe (the other 1% is taken home by companies).

Of course I had to apologise, but I simply did not expect the Council to be responsible for this. Every day is a learning day.






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