Edinburgh takes steps to manage sustainability of the Festival City
Edinburgh has announced plans to monitor the city’s management of its world-famous summer festivals.
In an effort to track the experience of visitors and residents living in the Festival City, a new reporting system has been launched by the Council today (Wednesday 24 January) examining the liveability, sustainability and vibrancy of Edinburgh in August.
The system measures several pressures experienced in Edinburgh during the peak summer season against a 16-point scorecard, in an effort to better understand and address specific challenges. Councillors will be asked to consider the findings alongside a report detailing plans for a new ETAG Tourism Strategy to guide Edinburgh beyond 2020, which will be designed to help Scotland’s Capital manage its visitor growth.
Action is already being taken to address key lessons learned from the 2017 summer season, which marked the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh’s festivals, including:
- An increase in satisfaction and the performance of the city’s cleansing service, through the more effective deployment of our street cleansing workforce during the summer plus greater use of smart technology in bin collections
- Additional outreach work last year across all festivals, including engagement with all 138 Council secondary and special schools in Edinburgh and an increased number of free events, to improve local audience development and inclusivity for Edinburgh citizens
- The inclusion of a ‘Small Area Plan’ within the South East Locality Improvement Plan 2017-2022, to help drive specific improvements in relation to concerns raised by local residents living in festival ‘hot spots’
- The planned development of a ‘Public Spaces Protocol’ to explore fair end times for events taking place outside on streets and in public spaces near residents, to help manage event noise
- Plans to optimise traffic signals in central areas and introduce around 100 traffic counters across the city which could be utilised to better manage traffic flows in real time, in order to help keep the city moving in August
- A review of available pedestrian space in central areas during peak times, particularly along the High Street, and the installation of new footfall counters in 2018 to better monitor pavement congestion.
Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said: “For the majority of residents, our Festivals are part of what makes Edinburgh such a special place to live and the envy of the world.
“With a visitor-to-resident ratio greatly below that of other European cities, it is fair to say that the tourism pressures facing Edinburgh - while important to address - are a long way off from other Capital cities and major tourist destinations. That said, as a city with a growing population, it certainly seems sensible to take steps towards a better understanding of the impact of tourism on our city and most importantly its citizens, which is what these reports seek to address.”
“The development of the Council’s new scorecard system will help us to actively monitor and minimise adverse impacts on citizens, particularly during our festival months. If agreed by Committee, I am hopeful the new approach will improve local people’s access to and enjoyment of the city’s attractions, and help us improve support towards the festivals’ sustainable growth.”