Ban on Temporary Outdoor Signage in Edinburgh Welcomed

Posted: 31/10/2018 |

Ensuring people who are living with vision impairment can be fully included in our communities means making our living environments accessible for them. It means getting basic things right, like making sure that when someone who is vision impaired wants to walk to the shops or to visit a friend, the pavements they use are free from clutter and in a good state of state of repair. 

Street with A-boards cluttering street pavements

At Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded we support blind and partially sighted people to live independently, including giving them they skills they need to use canes to navigate their local environments. However, pavements which are littered with A-boards and other obstacles make it much more difficult for people with vision impairment to get out and about.

The decision made by the City of Edinburgh Council to ban all temporary on-street advertising structures, such as advertising boards, in the city from the 5th November is therefore one which Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded warmly welcome. The aim of the ban is to create safer and more accessible streets in Edinburgh. This will certainly be the case for people who are vision impaired, and all those who have successfully campaigned for the council to take this sensible decision should be congratulated.

The importance of this issue for people with vision impairment was highlighted when we consulted with members of Scottish War Blinded at our recent Gathering event in Clydebank, which was attended by a hundred members of the charity. At our Policy information stand members were asked to choose one of four policy areas which was of most importance to them. The four policy areas were access to health services, transport services, community facilities and public awareness of vision impairment. The issue which was of greatest to concern to Members at The Gathering was poor and cluttered pavements, with many saying this issue caused them problems in getting out and about. This finding was included in our submission to the Scottish Parliament on the new Transport Bill. 

We hope businesses in Edinburgh will work with the City of Edinburgh Council to make the new ban effective, and we are sure they will benefit from people who are vision impaired, and with other disabilities, who will now feel much more confident about going into the city centre, including for shopping. While this decision represents welcome progress in this important area for ensuing equal access to our communities for people with vision impairment, there is much more to do.  We hope other local authorities will follow the important example which has been set in Edinburgh, and also that across Scotland we see action and investment to ensure our pavements are fit for purpose.  Our local politicians may hear lots of complaints about the state of the pavements, but it is time for this issue to be given the priority it deserves for disabled people.  For them it issue is not just something to complain about,  it can make all the difference to their being able to leave the house and be involved in their community.  At a time when we are talking as a country about the impact of loneliness and social isolation, this is a basic issue we need to get right so people with vision impairment can go out into their local community with confidence.