Calls to remove ‘unsightly’ temporary barriers on Royal Mile erected as anti-terrorism measure

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The bollards were put in place six years ago as a ‘cutting edge’ crowd protection system.

The council is facing calls to remove ‘unsightly’ bollards which were installed in the wake of terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

Temporary anti-terror barriers were installed in 2017 to sound an alert in the event of a major incident during major festivals and events like the Fringe, which can attract more than 50,000 people to the High Street every day during August.

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At the time police chiefs said the measures were intended to help keep people safe in the event of “vehicle as a weapon attacks”.

The pop up barriers were installed in 2017The pop up barriers were installed in 2017
The pop up barriers were installed in 2017

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, which runs street theatre arenas on the Royal Mile and The Mound, previously said that event had been a “soft target” for terrorists before barriers were introduced.

But six years on they have sparked a number of complaints from residents and businesses concerned that the ‘flexible gates’ are not appropriate for a World Heritage site and want to see a more permanent barrier system in keeping with the historic area.

Lothian MSP, Miles Briggs, said : “The bollard’s at the top and bottom of the Royal Mile were put in as a temporary measure in the summer of 2017, following terrorist attacks in London and Manchester.

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“Over six years later and the same unsightly temporary bollards are still in place. Edinburgh is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with the Royal Mile at the heart of the city.

“I have been contacted by a number of residents and businesses who have been trying to seek a timescale for works to install the permanent and more in keeping bollards but information hasn’t been forthcoming from the Council.

“It is clear we need to see a plan and for Edinburgh Council to be transparent on the funding needed to install an improved permanent barrier system on the Royal Mile.”

Culture and Communities Convener, Councillor Val Walker said:

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“We’re committed to the safety and security of the public. We’ve had an agreement since 2017 with the National Vehicle Threat Mitigation Unit (NVTMU) to use the National Barrier Asset until 2027, and we’re researching the feasibility of suitable long-term replacements.

“A report on this will be considered at the Culture and Communities Committee on February 29, 2024.”

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