Giant video billboard over road sparks safety fear

The billboard is to be mounted above the Gogar roundabout. Picture: contributed
The billboard is to be mounted above the Gogar roundabout. Picture: contributed
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SAFETY fears have been raised over plans to erect a giant ad hoarding with moving digital images over a major city road.

The huge 30-metre video screen – spanning four lanes of traffic – would be sited on the main route to Edinburgh Airport and is likely to distract drivers, road experts claim.

The controversial plans by advertising firm JCDecaux 
would see the hoarding mounted above the Gogar roundabout where thousands of motorists pass by each day.

Last month, the French company signed a deal with the council to provide bus shelters and street furniture for the next decade.

As part of the deal, the firm rents out lucrative advertising space in Princes Street and other major routes across the Capital. However, road safety experts have called on 
JCDecaux to revise its plans for the Gogar display and urged the council to reject the hoarding.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said a large digital advert near a busy road went against “best practice” for road safety.

He said: “I would ask them to reconsider it and think again.

“Although it’s very difficult to put your finger on definitive evidence either way, it is clearly a distraction. These things are designed to be looked at, and if you’re looking at the hoarding, you’re not looking at the traffic. The contractor and the council should be promoting road safety best practice, and best practice would be not to have any distractions at a busy roundabout.”

A road safety report submitted as part of JCDecaux’s application claims “there are no highway safety issues at Gogar roundabout”. It adds that a “strong case can be made that advertising installation would not have a detrimental effect to the roundabout in terms of highway safety”.

The report, compiled by analysts WYG Transport, reveals there have been 11 collisions in the area since 2009 – none fatal – and claims analysis of similar junctions where advertising was installed did not increase the accident rate.

“The advertising installation is unlikely to result in an increase in accidents on the off-ramps due to driver distraction,” it concludes.

The application will go before planners in the coming months. Last year, plans to fix a huge Scotland rugby jersey over Glasgow Road were rejected because they were judged to be “detrimental to road safety for both drivers and pedestrians”.

Planners will consider public safety when they examine the plans in detail.

A city council spokeswoman said she could not comment on a live planning application.

A spokeswoman for 
JCDecaux did not provide a comment when contacted by the Evening News.