A COUNCILLOR will present a campaign to allow new Fairtrade signs in South Queensferry to the new Scottish transport secretary after the outgoing minister rejected a change in national regulations.
Queensferry was named a Fairtrade Royal Burgh by the Fairtrade Foundation in 2008. The active Fairtrade group in the town attempted to celebrate the ten-year anniversary by installing new road signs to highlight the official Fairtrade status of the town. But despite support from city council transport officials, a row emerged after the signs could not be put up because they were not officially allowed by Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government’s national transport agency.
After being questioned in parliament in February last year, then transport minister Humza Yousaf launched a national review of signage policy. However, in one of his final acts before the Scottish Government reshuffle, Mr Yousaf said he had concluded “the use of Fairtrade branding on traffic signs is not appropriate.”
Cllr Kevin Lang and Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton now intend to take the campaign to the new Cabinet secretary for transport Michael Matheson.
Cllr Lang said: “Residents in Queensferry worked hard to get the town’s official accreditation as a Fairtrade Royal Burgh. All we want is the chance to celebrate and showcase that hard-won status, especially in this tenth anniversary year. That is why the answer from the outgoing minister was such a disappointment.”
Cllr Lang added: “My recent council motion calling for a change in government policy was supported by all councillors in all parties, even the SNP.”
In 2015, 15 signs bearing the Fairtrade logo and the words “we are a Fairtrade city” were erected around the outskirts of Edinburgh – but they are not allowed for Queensferry.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “The outgoing minister’s decision on Fairtrade signs flies in the face of common sense. Fairtrade signs are common in towns and cities around the country. To the best of my knowledge, they have not caused any safety issues.
“The decision by Humza Yousaf to initiate a review certainly seemed to suggest he recognised the current restrictions were unnecessary. To now be told that nothing will change is deeply frustrating. It also leaves serious questions over the legality of those Fairtrade signs already in place across Scotland.”
Fairtrade Town status was achieved in South Queensferry through Fairtrade products being available in local retail outlets, local workplaces and community organisations using Fairtrade products and a steering group which continues to win support for fair trade.