Flyposting scheme takes off after trial

A SCHEME to provide legal flyposting sites in the city centre is set to be extended after it was hailed a success after just three months.

The nightclub advertising boards are currently in place at seven sites across the city , including King's Stables Road, Cowgate and the Potterrow underpass.

There are now plans to expand the number of boards, with locations at West Port, Leith Street, South Bridge and Lothian Road under consideration.

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The boards are erected and managed by Unight, a coalition of 48 Edinburgh nightclubs and entertainment venues set up to tackle violence, drugs and flyposting in the city centre.

Just three club promoters have fallen foul of the group's strict rules on flyposting since October, each of them landing a three-month ban from running an event in all of the Unight venues.

It is hoped the principles of the Unight scheme will be extended to the city's festival period, when much of the Capital gets caked in flyers and posters.

Among the ideas being explored for festival flyposters are super-sized boards at key locations around the city, such as the Pleasance, and advertising boards for wrapping around lampposts.

Council chiefs today hailed the impact that the Unight scheme had made.

Bruce Johnston, of the Unight scheme, said: "The whole thing was a mess before, and it took a while to get everyone together and get the sites up and running.

"But we have been impressed with the way all parties have got behind this and I think it has proven to be a success, which is why we want to look at other sites.

"Lothian Road, Tollcross and parts of Leith have particular problems with illegal flyposting, and there is a logic to extending our scheme into these areas.

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"Longer term, the city can be a total mess with all of the flyposting, much of which is by big companies during the festival and this is something we need to tackle."

The Unight scheme has had considerable success in tackling trouble at city nightspots, with Edinburgh's clubs and bars joining forces with the police to combat drug use and violent or antisocial behaviour.

The flyposting scheme involves selling space to promoters at a minimal cost, with all money put back into running the initiative.

A management agreement drawn up between Unight, police and the city council ensures the areas around the legal boards are kept clear of illegal flyposters.

In addition to this, city centre police work to identify and charge illegal flyposters, and identify them to the club operators.

Councillor Paul Edie, the city's community safety leader, said: "I am really pleased that Unight has had such a positive impact. It's easy to see it is helping to make a difference around the city centre.

"Our environmental wardens are now looking at different ways of tackling flyposting at festival time – obviously a different challenge to the flyposting that goes on the rest of the year.

"Whilst no decisions have been agreed as of yet, they are working with other groups to formulate a plan that will see an even further crackdown on flyposting as it is both illegal and unsightly.

"Along with graffiti, this blight on the city costs more than 250,000 each year to remove."

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