Public get say on Edinburgh’s advertising rules

A giant digital billboard on Leith Walk
A giant digital billboard on Leith Walk
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Have your say

residents are being offered the chance to have their say on how outdoor advertising across the Capital should be regulated as part of a drive to “reduce street clutter” in the city.

The city council is carrying out a public consultation ahead of reviewing its outdated planning guidance on outdoor advertising.

They want to take an increase in digital advertising across the city into account.

The new guidance is set to be published early next year and members of the public have until September 14 to have their say on what types of advertising they think is acceptable, where it is suitable and to gauge opinion about more adverts becoming digital.

Once approved by the council’s planning committee in December, the new policy will be used to assess new outdoor advertising applications.

Planning committee convenor, Cllr Neil Gardiner, said: “It is really important that we review this policy to ensure it is up-to-date and reflects the changing demands of the advertising industry. Getting the balance right between advertising and protecting the integrity of the city is really important.

“We will be reaching out to key stakeholders and having detailed discussions with them to obtain their views.

“I would really encourage anyone interested to fill out our easy-to-use questionnaire, so we can also gather public opinion.” The council wants its new policy to acknowledge the “increasing move towards digital advertising and its potential impact on amenity and public safety”. Digital advertising can include illumination and moving pictures.

More than half of outdoor advertising is now in a digital form. Earlier this year, the council gave the go-ahead for digital advertising boards to be installed in bus shelters on Frederick Street and Hanover Street.

Some bus shelters along Princes Street already cater for digital advertising.

A report to councillors said: “Outdoor advertising has long been a feature of the city’s townscape and is typically located in areas of high footfall and vehicle movement to reach as many people as possible.

“However, the increasing change to digital outdoor advertising is a new phenomenon, currently constituting around half of all outdoor advertising.

“There are significant benefits of digital advertising for the industry, including the ability to accommodate multiple advertisers and to run flexible and responsive campaigns.

“As the cost of digital technology continues to decline, there will be an increased demand for digital advertising, including converting existing sites to digital.”

The report added: “Digital has potentially a greater impact on amenity and public safety through the level of illumination, the capability for movement or animation and the transition of adverts.”

Councillors agreed in May to ban all on-street advertising boards to make pavements and streets safer for pedestrians, particularly those who are visually impaired.

The ban is set to come into force in the autumn.