Managing the city centre during the festival

Every summer Edinburgh’s population swells as we welcome thousands of people flocking to enjoy the exciting festival season.

While the busy atmosphere is part of what makes Edinburgh such a vibrant city, the surge in visitors also adds pressure to some of the essential services delivered every day. In order to manage some of the issues faced during this period, we have put a number of measures in place:
Summertime Streets

This project aims to create a safer, more welcoming environment for pedestrians in the Old Town during the crowded summer period, while maintaining access for residents and emergency services.
In the Cowgate we have brought forward overnight restrictions from 10pm to 7pm, aiming to reduce the number of vehicles travelling through the street in the evening.  Full closure of the Cowgate with barriers is not an option as the street is a key emergency service access route through the night, and essential car access is permitted via Guthrie Street.  To increase compliance, more prominent No Entry signs have been put in place and Police Scotland have been notified that drivers appear to be committing traffic offences - any non-resident who fails to observe the restrictions is breaking the law.
Elsewhere, some other streets including Victoria Street and Cockburn Street will be closed throughout the day to let people enjoy the festival atmosphere in a safe, welcoming environment. We will continue to monitor these measures, carrying out regular on-street observations of pedestrian and traffic movement and making changes where necessary. 
Find out more about Summertime Streets or contact with any enquiries about the project.
Festival advertising 

The ban on temporary on-street advertising, which encompasses A-Boards, is still very much in place during the festival, helping to reduce clutter and improve accessibility on our streets. 
However, it’s widely recognised that the city is temporarily transformed during the festival period, when we see other types of short-term advertising on our streets. As agreed at Transport and Environment Committee when the A-Board ban was first approved in 2018, a partial relaxation of restrictions for event-related signage in summer is designed to limit unauthorised flyposting across the city. Event advertising structures are designed to meet with public safety requirements.

Queries about festival advertising should be directed to Out of Hand Ltd, who can be emailed at For information about Council advertising policy, email
Litter issues

In order to maintain the cleanliness of the city during the festival, 40 additional cleansing staff (agency staff) are brought in for the summer period, to clear litter, service bins and uplift fly-tipping. They work alongside the Waste Compliance Team to enforce against any trade waste infringements by businesses. These staff are additional, which means that essential resources are not diverted from other parts of the city.
Similarly to recent years, the #OurEdinburgh campaign has used the joke-themed posters across the city to encourage people to bin their litter. 
Read more about festival street cleansing activity and find out how you can report litter.

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