Council backs Green move for greener festivals

Edinburgh’s festivals are to have their environmental credentials put under the microscope for the first time.

The August meeting of the City Council backed a Green motion which seeks a report into the environmental performance of Edinburgh’s festivals.  The move comes on the back of the huge growth in the festivals, bringing with it concerns about waste, use of resources and strain on transport systems.

Green councillor, Alison Johnstone, who proposed the successful motion, said:

Edinburgh’s festivals are rightly something we are all proud of but I want to see success built on in a sustainable way.  Some things are getting better like the introduction of recycling bins in the High Street, but we need to make sure that, from the second visitors arrive in Edinburgh, they are can contribute to Edinburgh being a greener place.

One visitor told me of his disbelief that there was no recycling in his hostel and estimated that about 300 aluminium cans were heading, quite unnecessarily to landfill.  We need to meet the standards set by our more aware European neighbours.  I don’t want people to be awestruck by the architecture, art and culture of Edinburgh, and dumbstruck at the lack of basic environmental awareness.

That is why I am calling for an environmental audit of the festivals performances.  My enquiries suggests that the festivals themselves are aware of the need to minimise their impact but there are no targets in place, and no consequences for ever greater waste of resources.  I’d like to see standards introduced for production of leaflets, programmes and other materials, better options for disposal of waste and information on the number of visitors arriving by different forms of transport.