Clearing Edinburgh's pavements for pedestrians

Street clutter

Street clutter can be defined as anything that gets in the way of people walking.

It can be fixed objects like

  • cycle racks
  • guard rails
  • litter and grit bins
  • signage, poles and lamp posts
  • phone kiosks and post boxes
  • utility boxes

or moveable or temporary obstructions like

  • A-boards
  • commercial and residential waste bins
  • overhanging trees and bushes
  • road works signs
  • tables and chairs.

Clearing clutter

Street clutter can make walking and wheeling more difficult. For blind people, clutter can be a hazard. For parents with children and disabled people, it can block a pavement for prams, wheelchairs and mobility aids.

In 2015, we adopted a new standard on how we should design our streets: Edinburgh street design guidance. The core principle of this document is to encourage the creation of safe, accessible and pleasant walking environments through effective design and maintenance.

Removal of A-boards from Edinburgh's streets

In response to this new standard and working alongside partners such as Living Streets, we introduced legislation in 2019 to ban the use of A-boards on our city’s streets. This has given more space over to people walking in our city and removed a number of obstacles impeding pedestrians.

How and when we will remove street clutter

In 2019 Living Streets Edinburgh undertook their Cut the Pavement Clutter project, supported by

  • Paths for All
  • Living Streets UK
  • the Council.

Living Street’s Cut the Pavement Clutter report identifies and understands what street clutter looks like across the city and where it is located and suggests how to move forward and declutter our streets.

In response to the work by Living Streets, we have carried out work to identify a number of street clutter items for removal. This process is now underway and will see a large number of items removed in the coming weeks and months. In total, we will initially invest £180,000 from Spaces for People funding to help declutter our streets. This is the first phase of removal to help the city adhere to the Edinbugh street design guidace.

Removing clutter

So far we have removed

  • 226 bollards
  • 139 signs and poles 
  • 300m of guardrail
  • 64m of barriers
  • 18 large car park signs
  • 2 cycle racks

New residential waste bin hubs

We have assessed all sites and reviewed which bins need to be moved and where new bins need to be installed. We have considered each of the new locations in line with city's street design guidance and placed them in areas that offer the most conveience and cause the least amount of obstruction. Read about the communal bin review and the city's new bin hubs.