Lib Dems win vote to regulate amplified busking

Morningside Councillor Neil Ross got cross-party backing for his motion on ensuring residents and street performers can co-exist harmoniously in Edinburgh.

Noise above 85db has been disturbing residents across Edinburgh. While the SNP / Labour Council coalition promised to take action back in 2019, nothing has been done.

The following motion by Councillor Ross was approved at this week's City of Edinburgh Council meeting:


a) Welcomes buskers and street entertainers who liven up our city and who follow the Council’s advice to do so at a considerate volume so passers-by can hear but nearby businesses and residents are not disturbed.

b) Recognises the concerns of residents, businesses and visitors, in particular in the city centre, about the negative auditory impact of over-amplification of sound by some buskers and street entertainers in public spaces when the advice at a) above is ignored.

c) Notes that a level of noise at or above 85 decibels can damage hearing or inflict pain on the hearer.

d) Notes that there is a limitation on the amplification of sound for open air events in the standard conditions of the Council’s Public Entertainment Licence.

e) Notes the failure of the Council to bring forward any proposals to control the amplification of sound in public spaces in response to the motion approved by the Council on 22 August 2019.

f) Notes the answers given on 23 September 2021 to questions on the control of noise from street entertainers and the lack of powers available to the Council to achieve balanced, fair, sensible and positive street performing behaviours.

g) Therefore, requests the Convener of the Regulatory Committee to write to Ben Macpherson MSP, the Minister for Local Government in Scotland:

- to highlight the negative auditory impact of amplified sound from buskers and street entertainers in public spaces in Edinburgh; and

- to request additional powers to allow the Council to effectively control the amplification of sound in public spaces under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, whether through an extension of the arrangements governing the licensing of public entertainment or by other means; and

- to report to the Regulatory Committee within two cycles to provide details of the correspondence with the Minister, including the response received from the Minister and details of any progress made.

h) Also requests the Council’s Street Enforcement team to actively engage with buskers and street entertainers to encourage adherence to the Council’s advice on busking, as noted on the Council’s website.

i) Also requests that officers explore the feasibility of creating straight forward ways for residents and businesses to report disturbances to the Council arising from the amplification of sound in public spaces.”


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