Protecting festive celebrations in Edinburgh | Event safety

With 2.4 million people visiting Edinburgh for Christmas events over the 2022 festive season, and an influx of a further 70,000 people for Hogmanay celebrations at New Year, safety and security were a high priority for City of Edinburgh Council. Crowdguard provided the complex, multi-site and multi-HVM (hostile vehicle mitigation) safety and security protection for both Christmas and New Year events across the city centre.

The Christmas and New Year project followed a successful trial of public realm safety and security in August 2022, when Crowdguard installed ATG Surface Guard, along with the RB50 and The Claw systems from Highway Care at multiple locations for the world famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  The Fringe project showcased the flexibility and ease of deployment of the HVM systems, along with Crowdguard’s efficient and quality assured approach to on-time installation and de-rigging.

For the programme of Christmas events in Edinburgh, the Crowdguard team recommended an appropriate mix of certified HVM systems for each location, once again deploying ATG Surface Guard, RB50 and The Claw. Equipment was installed at the end of November in 7 locations with a total of 82m of equipment installed in 8 hours. For each location where The Claw was deployed, the HVM was branded with festive graphics and an ‘Edinburgh’s Christmas’ message.

Hogmanay is a highlight of the events calendar in Edinburgh and to bring in 2023, the city hosted a two-day concert on 30th and 31st December in West Prices Street Gardens, headlined by The Pet Shop Boys. Crowdguard installed a total of 139m of HVM equipment across 17 locations in 10 hours.

On the morning of 30th December, Crowdguard teams installed branded ATG Surface Guard at each end of Princes Street, with a ‘Welcome to Hogmanay Festival’ message.

For the crescendo of the celebrations on New Year’s Eve, Crowdguard installed a further array of ATG Surface Guard to protect the approach to Edinburgh Castle, and deployed RB50 in to protect the streets around the Princes Street area, in line with temporary road closures for the event. A key part of the brief was the critical need to keep roads open until the start of the event and open them up to traffic again immediately afterwards. Crowdguard installed all the New Year’s Eve HVM systems at 8pm on 31st December and de-rigged them at 4am on New Year’s Day, enabling the city to wake up to business as usual on the roads. De-rigging of the winter events equipment was then carried out on 3rd January and completed in a day.

Claire Miller from City of Edinburgh Council commented: “Edinburgh is a very special place at Christmas and New Year, and enabling people to enjoy all that’s on offer safely is a high priority.  It’s also important that people can move around the city easily on foot.

“Crowdguard was able to advise us on which HVM system to deploy where, accommodate our requirements to customise the installation with festive messaging, and, essentially, meet the need for prompt installation and de-rigging, concurrently in multiple locations. The whole thing ran very smoothly, visitors were reassured that their safety was being taken seriously, and we were able to extend a warm Edinburgh welcome to all!’