Living Streets Edinburgh wants a fundamental review of the use of advertising ‘A-boards’ by shops in the city. Feedback from our supporters shows that A-boards:
- are widely disliked by the public;
- narrow the walking space on pavements, often contravening the Council’s own Guidance
- cause obstructions and sometimes hazards, for example for visually impaired people, which is potentially unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.
Living Streets Edinburgh doesn’t want to see ‘sterile’ streets; we would just like retailers to advertise in better, more imaginative ways. But it is just not acceptable to allow more and ever-larger A-boards to clutter up the City’s streets. There is nothing on the Council’s website showing what is allowed where, but this policy on A-boards appears to have been adopted by the Council. Our experience is, though, that it is rarely, if ever, enforced.
We are therefore asking Councillors to review this policy and – crucially – its enforcement – something that some other UK cities have done, with the result that A-boards are licensed, better controlled or simply banned. Edinburgh’s review should cover what should be allowed on which streets and how the rules are enforced. The issue has wider implications of course – on the quality of public space in the city, the vitality of its businesses and the potential for better Council management of streets.
We also want local community organisations to report local A-board problems to the council – here’s how:
- phone the Council’s contact centre on 0131 200 2000
- complain to your local Councillors http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/councillors/ward
- comment on Living Streets Edinburgh’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LivingStreetsEdinburgh/
- tweet a picture to @edinhelp (copy to @LivingStreetsEd)
We would be interested to hear how you get on. According to the Council, this is what should happen when someone complains about an A-board that doesn’t comply with the Council’s policy:
“the Roads Inspector for the area, or another Council Officer, will contact the proprietor in the first instance. If no action is taken the Locality will write to the proprietor formally informing them that A-boards placed inappropriately in the future will be removed. The final action is the A-board being removed without further warning and stored at an appropriate Council location.”
We will also be contacting a number of other organisations, encouraging them to identify problem A-boards and other clutter in their local areas, both to tackle specific trouble spots and also to collect evidence on the scale of the problem. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if your organisation would like to join us in this campaign.