Edinburgh businesses in common sense plea over A-board ban

Businesses have been told to remove on-street advertising boards by midnight on Sunday.
Businesses have been told to remove on-street advertising boards by midnight on Sunday.
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All advertising boards will be banned from the Capital on Monday – as businesses call for a “commonsense approach” to enforcing the new rules.

The A-board ban was approved by the council’s Transport and Environment Committee in May and businesses were sent letters by the authority earlier this month advising that on-street advertising should be removed by midnight on Sunday, November 4.

The council said the ban aims to create safer, more accessible streets, particularly for those with disabilities such as sight impairments and mobility difficulties.

Initially, environmental wardens will visit businesses to ensure awareness and maximise compliance with the ban, with formal enforcement action taken on those that flout the ban going 
forward.

Transport and environment convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes, said: “This is ultimately about opening up our streets for all members of society, creating welcoming, clutter-free spaces where people can move freely.

“We’ve heard from lots of different groups about the mobility issues caused by the presence of temporary, moveable structures such as advertising boards, so it’s clear that action needs to be taken if we are to live in a truly equal, accessible city.

READ MORE: Businesses warn A-board ban could be ‘nail in coffin’

“As we approach the implementation of the ban, we’re writing to all businesses to ensure they have the relevant information, and in the coming months our wardens will be visiting shops, cafes, restaurants and other premises to offer advice and guidance on alternative advertising options.”

But the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned that some firms, particularly those located down narrow closes, rely on the A boards to promote their trade.

Garry Clark, FSB east of Scotland development manager, said: “Many businesses in Edinburgh remain very concerned about the impact that the council’s blanket ban on advertising boards will have.

“Businesses had been led to believe that the council might be prepared to consider the particular circumstances of premises that are, for example, situated off a main thoroughfare or in basement properties, but so far the council’s response has been to point to its standard guidance document. Frankly, that just isn’t good enough when a business’s viability may be at stake.

“We hope that the council will apply a commonsense approach to enforcement of this ban and that it will listen to the voices of businesses which are coming to terms with the loss of one of their principal methods of attracting trade. “

David Spaven, convenor of Living Streets Edinburgh, said: “We’re delighted that the council has responded so positively to our long-running campaign on street clutter. Many Edinburgh pavements have become obstacle courses in recent years, and removing advertising boards will make it much easier to get around.