Billboard ‘blinding’ drivers on Salamander Street

The billboard by night. Picture: comp

The billboard by night. Picture: comp

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It is the notorious city stretch synonymous with sin and long regarded as Edinburgh’s un-official red light district.

But Salamander Street in Leith may now have found the light after being unexpectedly illuminated by a dazzling new billboard.

The brilliant glare from the electronic roadside sign is so bright that London-based operator Primesight was forced to send out contractors to adjust it amid fears that it could cause an accident.

The advertising hoarding – which is 20ft across by 10ft high – is even said to outshine street lamps.

Primesight has declined to comment on whether the brightness was due to a technical fault or part of an eye-catching marketing strategy.

Night-shift worker Niall Douglas, a supervisor at nearby Edinburgh Coach Lines, said he has even considered sunglasses.

He said: “It hurts your eyes. You have to squint if you are coming towards it.

“I’m on constant back shift and after eight o’clock the whole building is lit up bright as day. It dazzles you but it’s dangerous and I’m surprised it hasn’t caused an accident.”

Godfrey Smith, a sales adviser from nearby Dreams Bedding, said he had “never seen anything like it”.

“It is extremely bright even on a sunny day,” he added.

The billboard does not broadcast moving images but features digital “stock pictures” of firms and services including Go Outdoors Camping Equipment in Granton, prompting one wry commentator on social media to write: “You wouldn’t get a wink of sleep if you pitched a tent under there. It is like a huge headlight on full beam.”
Primesight said it responded immediately to dull the glare.

Spokeswoman Nadya Papalyugova said: “Our regional service manager in Edinburgh has informed me that the brightness setting of the screen has been adjusted.

“We have every confidence that this will not be a problem going forward and have moved to correct the brightness immediately after the report to ensure better viewing.”

Concerns over adverts with moving images have been raised by the city’s transport department amid fear they could distract drivers, which “may result in damage and injury”.

But the Salamander Street billboard was approved after planning chiefs said it would not have a detrimental effect on the area or on public safety.

A council spokeswoman said: “When complaints are made regarding compliance with planning conditions, we investigate and take enforcement action where appropriate. This case has been brought to our attention, which we are now investigating.”

john.connell@edinburghnews.com