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Sight loss charity calls for ban on sandwich boards and on-street advertising across Scotland

Sandwich boards - Image credit: RNIB Scotland

Sight loss charity calls for ban on sandwich boards and on-street advertising across Scotland

A national sight loss charity is calling for a ban on sandwich boards and other temporary on-street advertising by councils across Scotland.

Advertising A-boards on the pavement can cause a hazard for blind and partially sighted people, as well being an obstruction for others, such as people in wheelchairs or with a child in a pram or pushchair.

RNIB Scotland is calling on towns and cities throughout Scotland to follow Edinburgh City Council’s lead in banning advertising boards on streets.

The capital announced last week that a temporary ban on pavement advertising, introduced in autumn 2017, will be made permanent.

City of Edinburgh Council said it had received positive feedback on the trial from equalities groups, community councils and heritage organisations and there had been an estimated compliance of over 90 per cent by city businesses.

Since the introduction of the ban, 222 businesses have been instructed to remove on-street advertising, with 193 complying immediately.

Formal notices to non-compliant businesses were issued in 29 instances, but only 14 pieces of advertising had to be confiscated.

James Adams, director of RNIB Scotland, said: “Edinburgh’s decision was a bold and forward-thinking one and very welcome news for blind and partially sighted people.

“A third of those that RNIB surveyed previously said they had been injured by pavement obstacles.

 “The ban that has been in place for over a year now has made Edinburgh a safer and more welcoming environment for residents and visitors with sight loss and other disabilities.

 “We hope other towns and cities will follow suit.

“If a city as historic and important as Edinburgh to the Scottish and UK economy can take this step, others can too.

“The council has worked with local businesses to look at alternatives such as wall advertising.

 “Some other Scottish local authorities have tentatively introduced a ban but we’re not sure how widely this is enforced.

 “A vital element for any successful 21st century town or city must be inclusivity, one that is open and welcoming to everyone, no matter what needs they have.”

Blind campaigner and city resident Kirin Saeed was among those who spoke to Edinburgh City Council’s transport committee about their personal experiences before last week’s vote.

She said: “I am delighted and proud of the City of Edinburgh council for agreeing to make permanent a move that will enable blind and partially sighted people to walk the streets of Edinburgh with freedom.”

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