Friends of the Earth Edinburgh invited the public to “Give Keith Brown the boot” with an enormous papier-mâché boot this weekend. The environmental group carried out this entertaining walking-themed stunt in response to The Scottish Government’s planned severe 33% cut to investment in active travel (walking and cycling).

The protest took place at The Mound on Saturday morning. The demo was meant to send a strong message to Keith Brown, the Scottish Transport Minister, that Scotland needs to invest in conditions for walkers by playfully giving him “the boot”.

Friends of the Earth Edinburgh’s Rosiaina Browning said:

“Edinburgh is a very walkable city but, compared to our rival cities across Europe, not enough money is invested in improving the pedestrian environment. Over Christmas, Princes Street was pedestrianised, and this showed how much more attractive our streets would be if walkers were given higher priority.

“Walking is the healthiest and most sustainable mode of transport, but the government is planning to break its manifesto promise to invest more in this most healthy and sustainable form of transport. Instead it is planning to squander public funds on expensive, polluting motorways.

“Greater pedestrian priority would also provide economic benefits. Evidence from around the world has shown that investment in the street environment would generate more retail activity.

“Transport Minister Keith Brown is directly responsible for the planned budget cuts for walking and cycling. So we decided to offer the public the opportunity to ‘Give Keith Brown the boot’.”


Main photograph by Colin Hattersley Photography