Summer festival season returns as frontline services prepare - Cammy Day

We’re incredibly proud to be known as the world’s Festival City and to celebrate the hugely positive contribution our festivals make to our city and to our residents.
City of Edinburgh Council Leader Cammy DayCity of Edinburgh Council Leader Cammy Day
City of Edinburgh Council Leader Cammy Day

Bringing some of the world’s best culture to Edinburgh in a way that no other city on the planet enjoys, our festivals have become an economic powerhouse both locally and nationally. The 2022 festivals were worth £492 million to the local economy and this impact created 7,150 full time equivalent jobs in the city and 8,500 across Scotland.

The population of the Capital effectively doubles during the month of August, inevitably putting pressure on our services and infrastructure. That’s why we’ve put significant planning and investment into ensuring we keep the city safe, clean, and moving through our busiest time of year. Over the last year we have invested approximately £1m extra in improving street cleanliness, with our teams proactively identifying streets and areas of the city most in need. This is alongside investing over £1m to provide new accessible permanent and temporary toilet facilities for residents and visitors.

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We’re also working with Out of Hand to make sure areas in the city centre out with the pedestrianised section of the High Street, looked after by the Fringe, is kept clear of posters and other litter. Additionally, we’ll be putting out extra bins in busy city-centre locations and deploying extra cleansing crews that will target the busiest streets in the city centre to ensure they are kept clean. This year also sees the return of our longstanding “We’ll bin our jokes, if you’ll bin your litter” campaign which urges all of our residents and visitors to help keep our city in shape.

Whilst our colleagues will be working hard to keep the city safe and looking its best in the coming weeks, we need everyone’s support to make sure this happens. Disposing of litter responsibly, using toilet facilities, and being patient with our teams and visitors are just a few ways we can all make this summer festival season a huge success.

Keeping people safe is another key priority, with our £2.6m smart operations centre now keeping a watchful eye over the city. This combined with extra public transport provisions, including an all-night weekend tram service during August will allow our residents and visitors to enjoy the festivals efficiently and safely.

We’re very conscious of the impact that large events and the numbers of people they bring have on our residents and businesses – and this is something we’re working hard to manage. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting members of the Old Town business community to discuss how we can better support them in these situations. It was a good and constructive meeting, with lots of ideas of how we can work together going forward.

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We’re very proud that Edinburgh is one of the world’s most popular visitor destinations, but we’re equally aware that this success comes at a cost. That’s why we believe it’s right to ask visitors to make a small contribution to help us sustain and improve our tourism offer while managing its impact. A Visitor Levy is common practice in other major cities and destinations, so why not here? If introduced, a levy will provide funding stream that would be reinvested in the city and our infrastructure, to the benefit of our visitors and, crucially, the people who live here all year round.

I hope that, like me, you’re looking forward to another fantastic August here in the Capital.

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