Kezia Dugdale: Is it time for Edinburgh to introduce a city centre drones ban?

Drones caused chaos at Gatwick Airport late last year. Picture: SWNS
Drones caused chaos at Gatwick Airport late last year. Picture: SWNS
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Is it time for Edinburgh to introduce a No Drone Zone in the city centre?

With the cost of remote control drones falling, and it becoming more and more popular for tourist and locals alike to attach a camera to and fly them around popular destinations for some great Instagram and social media photos and videos, maybe it’s time for local authorities to take some action.

We already know how disruptive drones can be when used irresponsibly or maliciously. This was shown by the extended closure of Gatwick airport between December 19 and 21 last year, which cancelled more than 1000 flights and caused significant disruption for around 140,000 passengers.

Whilst flying a drone in the city centre might not cause quite as many problems, there is no doubting that they can be a nuisance.

Imagine trying to enjoy an ice cream or a coffee in St Andrew Square on a pleasant summer’s day. Next to you on the park bench, a drone is being set up, whirring and buzzing, before eventually taking to the sky above your head, bobbing up and down and side to side.

It’s hardly a peaceful or relaxing scene. Multiply that scenario with a few more drones nearby and it becomes a nightmare.

Drones were rightly banned from the Edinburgh street party over Hogmanay and, whilst some restrictions on where and when you can fly a drone are already in place across Scotland, many other European cities now display signage in public spaces advising that an area is a No Drone Zone.

Greater restrictions would not only benefit the public, but could also protect world heritage site buildings that could be damaged by collisions. Sorry to be a buzz kill.

Let’s keep it harmonious in bringing live music to Capital’s public spaces

With the winter coming to an end and the spring finally on the way, Edinburgh is gearing up again for another summer of festivals and major events.

Between August 7 and 17, Princes Street Gardens will again be hosting the Edinburgh Summer Sessions gigs that will see some incredible bands including Florence + The Machine, Primal Scream, Madness, and Scotland’s own Chvrches amongst others headlining.

Bringing live music to Edinburgh is always welcome as there is a sense that the capital can miss out in comparison to Glasgow’s scene.

Glasgow has positioned itself as a Scotland’s go-to place for music and has a more vibrant and varied scene simply due to the numbers and sizes of venues available; from the unrivalled Hydro to the intimate King Tut’s, and in addition, Scotland’s only major music festival, TRNSMT.

So yes, more live music coming to Edinburgh is a good thing. However, last year’s saw huge black boards being erected the length of Princess Street to obscure the view of anyone hoping to catch a free glimpse of Tom Jones. Rightly, there was huge public backlash as residents and tourists objected to these eyesores, leading to them being swiftly condemned by MSPs and councillors, and a guarantee sought that the same boards would not be put up again.

Striking the balance between welcoming more music events to the city, whilst protecting our public spaces can be difficult, but surely not insurmountable. Let’s hope this year organisers can get it right.