Edinburgh Council agree to ask residents on use of city for movies and TV shows

By Joseph Anderson

Council chiefs are set to consult with Edinburgh residents on the use of the city for filming movies, TV shows and documentaries - particularly around minimising disruption and creating a ‘positive legacy’ for the capital.

As the home of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Edinburgh is in high demand as a filming location for Hollywood blockbusters, student films on a shoe-string budget, and everything in between.

The capital’s Georgian, medieval and neo-classical architecture has provided the backdrop for films such as Avengers: Endgame, Cloud Atlas, and the Da Vinci Code - and most famously Trainspotting.

Now, Edinburgh City Council 's culture and communities committee have agreed to consult with the public about how and when filmmakers can disrupt the city to produce their movies.

At a meeting of the committee on Tuesday, September 14, councillors heard how consultations with stakeholders have already taken place, where ‘key principles’ for approving filming were put forward for consultation.

These include:

  • Application and approvals should be tailored to the scale of an event or filming and in due course will be via a digital platform that provides guidance and is publicly accessible.
  • Area conditions will contain additional principles and guidelines specific to that area and will be included on a publicly accessible digital platform.
  • Events and filming must provide net positive economic, social and community benefits.
  • Engagement and communication must be open and transparent, practicable and proportionate to the scale of the activity and the impact it will have, provided at the earliest opportunity and in appropriate and accessible formats.
  • Events and filming activity must commit to and demonstrate environmental sustainability throughout their tenure.
  • Filming must comply with the Code of Practice for filming, the key principles for the use of public spaces, minimises disruption to residents and maximises a positive legacy.
  • Events and filming must deliver beneficial social value and support a lasting positive legacy for Edinburgh.

The key principles of filming in Edinburgh will also require filmmakers to ‘demonstrate that events and filming respect and contribute to the city's cultural identity, reputation and quality of life for residents’ and must ‘mitigate any unavoidable negative effects as far as possible’.

Following the consultation, the results and recommendations will be presented to the committee in Summer 2022.

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