Scotland’s local authorities are being urged to follow the lead of Edinburgh City Council and introduce a ban on advertising-boards that are proliferating on streets.
The call has come from the country’s leading sight loss charity, RNIB Scotland. A third of blind and partially sighted people it had surveyed previously said they had been injured by pavement clutter when walking outside.
James Adams, director of RNIB Scotland, has written to the leaders of other Scottish local authorities asking them to follow Edinburgh’s example.
Last month the city introduced a pilot ban in a move widely applauded by disability organisations and others.
"We welcome Edinburgh’s decision to make the capital's streets safer and more inclusive for residents and visitors with disabilities,” Mr Adams said. “It's something we would like to see replicated throughout Scotland.
“The key to any successful 21st century city must be inclusivity. A city that is open and welcoming to everyone, no matter what disabilities they may have. While we want businesses to prosper, our streets should not be an obstacle course to be negotiated."
Mr Adams said RNIB Scotland had already received indications from other local authorities that they were looking at the decision by Edinburgh with interest.
On Wednesday, Exeter City Council in Devon signed a Clear Streets Charter which aims to ensure the city is as safe and obstacle free as possible.
While the Transport Bill currently before the Scottish Parliament could make parking on pavements illegal, RNIB Scotland also wants existing legislation strengthened. It points out that under the 1984 Roads Scotland Act it is an offence to wilfully obstruct free passage along the road and deposit anything which causes an obstruction. The Equality Act 2010 requires public authorities to take reasonable steps to enable disabled people to avoid substantial disadvantages caused by physical features.
Over 170,000 people in Scotland live with a significant level of sight loss and around two million across the UK.