City summit to tackle graffiti

Graffiti removal

The Council is to call a summit to address the growing issue of graffiti in the Capital.

Prominent city stakeholders, including Police Scotland, and other members of the Edinburgh Partnership, parliamentarians, business leaders, property owners, residents’ groups and representatives from the street art community will all be invited to attend a round table event in the New Year.

The Council, meanwhile, is investing £0.75m to give the Capital a deeper clean and enhance its graffiti task force, all with the aim of improving the look and feel of Edinburgh’s streets.

The dedicated graffiti task force is on street daily, using specialist vehicles with fully trained operators to power wash landmarks such as the Scotsman Steps, closes in the Old Town and other priority areas across the city.

A significant amount of graffiti was also recently removed from The National Monument of Scotland, which required specialist teams and equipment to ensure no damage was done to the historic structure.

Elsewhere, having carried out deep cleans in the city centre, crews are now moving into other town centres and communities.  As well as removing graffiti, the new teams are power washing streets, pavements, and place markings as well as removing chewing gum and using steam cleaners to remove weeds.

Cllr Scott Arthur Environment Convener said: 

The Council is investing heavily so that our residents can be proud of their city and their neighbourhoods and so that we can all continue to enjoy our beautiful Capital city.

We know that graffiti is a growing concern for people across the city. But this is not just an issue for the Council and, through this summit, we want to bring the key people around the table to discuss the issues and find solutions. We already work closely with the private sector, through Essential Edinburgh for example, and we want to build on that. But we also want to make it clear to those who deface property that there are consequences for doing so.

Of course, not all graffiti is illegal and it’s important that we also involve the street art community in our discussions – as we’ve done so successfully in the past with the Trams to Newhaven project and Colinton Tunnel to name just two.

The £0.75m investment we’ve already made this year is allowing our excellent cleansing and graffiti teams to use specialist vehicles to focus on removing graffiti from public buildings and infrastructure, as well as power washing areas such as streets, pavements and steps which need it most.

One option we’ll look at during the summit and beyond will be the potential to share, and potentially expand, these resources to tackle graffiti on private buildings as well as those owned by the Council.

Areas outwith the city centre being deep cleaned:

  1. Leith Central
  2. Morningside/Bruntsfield
  3. Tollcross
  4. South Queensferry
  5. Corstorphine
  6. Georgie/Dalry
  7. Nicolson Street/Clerk Street
  8. Portobello
  9. Stockbridge
  10. Fountainbridge
  11. Leith Walk


Published: November 15th 2023