On-street advertising structures

Citywide ban on 'A' boards and other temporary adverts

On 17 May 2018, the Transport and Environment Committee approved a citywide ban on all temporary on-street advertising structures, such as advertising boards, also known as 'A' boards. This is primarily to improve pedestrian safety and accessibility.

The ban came into force on Monday 5 November 2018.

Three examples of on-street advertising: an A board on a pavement; a tall narrow flag, known as a feather flag, outside a business and rectangular board, around six foot tall, named a city tour board.

Examples of some of the types of temporary on-street advertising that are included under the ban.

Support for businesses

We understand that many businesses need to advertise their presence and have concerns about this ban. We have provided information and links to guidance below to help support businesses through this change.

Guidance for businesses

Download guidance for businesses (PDF, 1.7 MB)


  • guidance on advertising and shopfront design
  • advice for businesses within listed buildings and conservation areas.

This guidance is used to assess proposals for advertisement, planning and listed building consent.

Permission for adverts and changes to shopfronts

You may need advertisement, planning or listed building consent for changes to your premises, such as a new advert. There are stricter controls for listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas. 

Changes made to a listed building usually need listed building consent. You may also need planning permission for changes to your shopfront, especially if it is within a conservation area. Find if your property is listed or within a conservation area.

Download a guide to advertisement consent (PDF, 718 KB)

If you need permission to apply for new signage or changes to your shopfront, read our guidance on how to apply. 

Other guidance

The Business Gateway provides business support measures such as training and information on how to make the most of online marketing tools.

Read Edinburgh World Heritage's guidance on how to showcase your shopfront and information about grants for properties within the World Heritage Site.

Read Historic Environment Scotland's guidance on shopfront and signage design.


Summer fringe festival

The festival is an exceptional period in the city’s events calendar, where the city is temporarily transformed to support the huge variety of activities and events taking place. An exemption to the ban is in place during this period specifically for official Council-approved event-related signage to be displayed. This helps the Council to limit unauthorised flyposting across the city. Throughout the festival season the Council works closely with event organisers to make sure event advertising structures meet with public safety requirements.


There is a special dispensation for the use of A-Boards associated with elections on polling days. The terms of use are

  • use only during the hours of polling – 7am to 10pm
  • sited off the pavement whenever possible
  • sited so as to avoid any obstruction to pedestrians
  • sited so as to avoid any obstruction to access to the polling place.

Public information sharing

From time to time, the Council and its partners need to share information about matters of wide public interest or to provide important public safety messages. In certain circumstances, information either attached to lampposts or via footpath stencils are the most effective way to share these messages.

Reporting a breach

If you would like to report a breach please email a-boards.

Planning help desk

The Planning Help Desk is currently operating as an email service. You can contact us at