ROADS in the centre of Edinburgh closed to traffic for the first time as the city joined the worldwide Open Streets movement to reduce air pollution.

Pedestrians and cyclists were able to enjoy exploring the historic Old Town which was shut to motorised vehicles between midday and 5pm yesterday.

Open-air yoga and giant chess games were among the activities on offer, while there were also music performances, Tai Chi on the High Street and electronic bike trials on Victoria Street.

The Open Streets initiative has seen cities around the world temporarily close streets to cars and other vehicles.

The City of Edinburgh Council said it is the first city in the UK to join the Open Streets movement.

Open Streets in Edinburgh will take place on the first Sunday of every month as part of an 18-month trial.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “Climate change is a real threat to society.

“We are wholeheartedly committed to creating an accessible, sustainable and people-friendly city.”