Home   News   Article

Blind campaigner from Easter Ross urges Highland Council to follow City of Edinburgh Council's lead by banning pavement advertising signs in the Highlands; Sight Action member's call is echoed by RNIB Scotland

By Ian Duncan

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
A-boards and signs which visually impaired have to negotiate..Academy Street..Picture: Gary Anthony..
A-boards and signs which visually impaired have to negotiate..Academy Street..Picture: Gary Anthony..

A BLIND campaigner from Easter Ross is calling for a complete ban on A-boards and pavement advertising signs across the Highlands.

His call follows news that Edinburgh has recently introduced a permanent ban on such items which often present an unexpected obstacle for the visually impaired – potentially leading to injury if they were unable to avoid them.

However Highland Council said there were no plans to follow the capital’s example and change its existing policy, which was introduced in 2013.

Raymond Smart, who is 65 and from Alness, is registered blind and works as a rehabilitation officer for Sight Action in Inverness.

His work takes him across the region and he said such advertising boards on pavements were becoming more common – particularly in tourist destinations.

He said he used a long cane to warn of anything in front of him but he was unable to mentally log their location because they were not always put back in the same place. He added: “The cane gets caught in the legs of the A-board but it’s too late you’ve hit it and you have to negotiate your way around it. You are three or four feet nearer the traffic. They never put them on the kerbside.”

Raymond Smart.
Raymond Smart.

Mr Smart said he had suffered injuries in the past and added: “I’ve never been badly injured. I’ve had a couple of knocks and bruises – probably it’s been my own fault and I’ve just been walking too fast.”

He could not understand why A-boards were needed and said: “I would like them to ban them, yes, however I’d like them to give the shopkeepers an alternative such as hanging them above head height –12ft in the air no one is that tall. I’d like to see them banned for safety reasons.”

Sight loss charity, RNIB Scotland, has called for more towns and cities across the country to follow Edinburgh’s example when it made a temporary ban, first introduced in 2017, permanent last month (December).

The charity described it as forward-thinking and welcome news for blind and partially sighted people – according to its survey one third of those who responded have been injured by pavement obstacles.

However, a Highland Council spokesman said: “We are not aware of any plans to follow Edinburgh’s complete ban in the Highlands.”

They said the current arrangements allowed for one A-board per business, immediately outside the premises, and this was dependent on footpath width.

“There is an application system which allows for A-boards so long as they meet standards set by community services. We will follow up any complaints we receive,” they said.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More