Council launches annual festival health-check

The City of Edinburgh Council has launched an annual check-up of the festivals with the first set of results reported to the Culture and Sport Committee today (Tuesday 8 March).

A one-page plan has been prepared outlining how the Council will collaborate with festival directors to address their key concerns, from prioritising clean streets and city dressing, to increasing communication between festival partners and Council services.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture and Sport Convener, said: “With a refreshed Culture Plan for the Capital in place and Edinburgh and the Festivals looking ahead to celebrating the 70th anniversary in 2017, it feels like the right time to monitor the state of the city’s relationship with its festivals.

“The feedback has been encouraging. It’s clear the fundamental support provided by the Council is working well and Festival Directors have been largely positive about their relationship with the city, but specific issues and concerns need to be addressed. Our action plan will help us to improve in these areas.

“I’m excited to see the health-check become an annual report so that across the board, Council services  can work better together to meet the needs of our festivals.”

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “We want our ever increasing number of residents and visitors to have a positive experience and keeping our city clean and green during festival times is a big part of this. Overall levels of street cleanliness are improving across the city but there are still issues during peak periods like the August festivals, and we are focusing our efforts on making improvements through enforcement actions and other initiatives.”

In August 2015, additional Council resources were put into the city to ensure that the streets were kept clean and tidy during peak festival season. This included extra environmental wardens, extra street cleansing shifts, and extra bin emptying and litter picking resources in the busiest areas.

Council staff worked 24 hours a day over the Festival period to remove litter and sweep the streets. New larger capacity bins replaced the usual bins, with extra bins put in place temporarily in known hotspots where footfall is at its highest. A total of 2,087 mini bins were also distributed to cope with the increased volumes of waste and ensure people enjoying the Festival were able to dispose of their rubbish easily.

Additional funding for the cleaning effort was gained from the Council’s official advertising contract with Out of Hand Ltd. The official advertising offered performers an alternative to fly posting, saving the Council up to £350,000 on the cost of cleaning away flyers and posters. The money gained from this contract to advertise on Council-owned assets was used to fund additional street cleansing and litter capacity over the busy festival period.

View the proposed one page plan of actions by downloading the Committee report, ‘Thundering Hooves 2.0: Council actions and first annual health-check’.

Calton Hill

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