Leader: Act now to ensure the city stays ahead

The Harmonium Project lights up the The Usher Hall during last year's Edinburgh International Festival. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The Harmonium Project lights up the The Usher Hall during last year's Edinburgh International Festival. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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EDINBURGH’S festivals have had their health check and it’s not entirely what the doctored ordered.

Indeed it seems to be an intensive care case.

Among the top gripes of senior figures is their dismay at the cleanliness of the city during the festivals.

But rubbish piling up and general grime to welcome the world’s biggest arts festival is a common complaint so why should we be any more worried now?

The reason is the strength of the competition from elsewhere which could knock Edinburgh off the top.

Not something anyone wants to see in the 70th anniversary year of the world’s biggest arts festival.

The second Thundering Hooves study last year warned of the need to take action to ensure the city and its festivals “do not rest on their laurels” as well as the need to address a host of infrastructure “weaknesses”.

A key recommendation was that the city provides “an unrivalled experience for its citizens, and the artists, audiences and opinion formers from around the world”.

Some of the weaknesses will be easy to fix, others perhaps not so.

Picking up litter and keeping the streets clean as the world comes to town seems like it should be a reasonably achievable ambition.

As is ensuring we have proper branding across the city to welcome visitors.

But let’s not be too downhearted.

Edinburgh, as today’s report makes clear, is still streets ahead.

As well as the seven main recommendations for action, the festival directors have made many positive comments about the support they have received from the council.

So let’s act now to ensure the city stays ahead of the pack and protects the wonderful events for decades to come.

The festivals are too important to the economy of the city to ignore these recommendations and carry on as we are.