A CELTIC fire festival could become history under changes to rules around public processions in Scotland’s capital, it is claimed.

Beltane Fire Society (BFS) organises the free Samhuinn event every Halloween.

The autumn celebration, a modern reimagining of an ancient Celtic new year festival, sees costumed performers and drummers travel through the city to mark the end of summer and welcome winter.

However, BFS claims this year’s may not be able to go ahead due to an overhaul of the rules on public processions.

City of Edinburgh Council says an increase in the number of such events means it needs to come up with a “clear and consistent approach” which considers public safety, potential damage and other circumstances.

However, BFS says changes including new restrictions on the use of music and moves to avoid the use of the High Street and Royal Mile, where Samhuinn is normally held, threaten its future. A consultation on proposed changes was launched last month and, while the main Beltane spring festival would not be affected, BFS is urging supporters to object to protect Samhuinn.

Chairperson Erin Macdonald said: “We’re used to operating under lots of restrictions, and our relationship with the council has been really positive for the past few years. We know we need to do everything we can to keep people safe and respect local residents and the community.

“These changes are not only going to affect us. They are going to result in other grassroots, charitable and small organisations being unable to organise parades, processions or protest marches, as a result of onerous notice periods and unnecessary bureaucracy. We believe these plans are inconsistent with the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”

Licensing convener Councillor Michael Bridgman said: “We recognise the positive impact of parades and processions in terms of freedom of speech, awareness-raising and unity, but they can also present a number of challenges to the city.”