Edinburgh making no profit from road closures for Fast and Furious 9 filming

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A row is brewing over Edinburgh City Council's admission that it won't make any profit from closing a number of city centre roads for the filming of Fast and Furious 9.

Public anger has been growing over plans to close 52 roads in Edinburgh city centre throughout September to film scenes for the blockbuster movie.

There will be 52 road closures in Edinburgh city centre at various points throughout September. Pic: Lisa Ferguson/Shutterstock.

There will be 52 road closures in Edinburgh city centre at various points throughout September. Pic: Lisa Ferguson/Shutterstock.

This newest chapter in the Fast and Furious series stars Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris 'Ludacris’ Bridges, Nathalie Emmanuel, Charlize Theron, Helen Mirren and John Cena. The four-week filming schedule will involve close to 800 crew members, including 375 local hires working on location over the course of the shoot.

READ MORE: Fast and Furious 9: Full list of all 52 Edinburgh road closures for filming in September
An investigation by The Ferret has revealed details, obtained under freedom of information laws, in which Edinburgh council disclosed that it recovered £152,000 from film companies for closing roads, restricting parking and managing traffic between 2012 and 2017 - but their roads services and transport team said it was "revenue neutral rather than making a profit or loss."

The Ferret reports that the council was accused of being a "walkover" by the Scottish Conservatives, while the campaign group Living Streets argued that residents should be compensated for disruptions.

The Scottish Tories' shadow culture secretary, Rachael Hamilton MSP, said it was "naive and irresponsible" for the council not to charge more money for these productions, while Living Streets Scotland called on the local authority to "urgently rethink" how residents are involved in consultations on how public space is used.

And residents have voiced their concerns over the multiple road closures, with Dr Sally Witcher saying the commuting delays were a "new form of torture."

But the city council does charge agreed fees for all of its road services, whether disruption relates to events, filming or construction. Those seeking traffic regulation road closure are charged £475 for provision of a temporary traffic regulation notice for up to five days, or £639 exceeding five days plus advertising costs.

READ MORE: Watch: Dramatic moment Fast and Furious 9 stunt person leaps from Edinburgh window
The local authority does charge for the road services required by the film company and encourages filmmakers to the city for the big economic and employment benefits that they bring.

It is estimated that, in the year Avengers was filmed in the Capital, there was an economic benefit from filming in the region of £16 million.

Depute leader of City of Edinburgh Council, Cammy Day, said: "We welcome filming in the city for the economic benefit, employment opportunities and the on-screen promotion it brings. It is a source of real pride that the beauty of Edinburgh attracts these kinds of projects and our commitment to facilitating filming in the city is set out in the Council’s Filming Charter.

"We are, of course, aware that a feature film bring can bring some disruption and we work closely with film makers to limit this as far as possible. It’s why we have drawn up a Code of Practice for Film makers which, among other things, confirms the need for film makers to engage with the community in which they intend to work.

"We strike a balance between enticing major productions and all the benefits they bring to Edinburgh and making sure such filming is fair and benefits our city. We charge film makers to cover costs, like we do with utility companies and others, and to carry out our mandate to engage with all residents and businesses within the area in which they plan to film.”

Former council leader, Donald Anderson, also weighed in on twitter to say: "I do feel for @Edinburgh_CC here. If it made money it would be attacked for commercialising the streets. Catch 22."