Oil giant BP's sponsorship of one of the most famous global arts gatherings, the Edinburgh International Festival, has ended after a coupling spanning more than three decades.

The move was put down as a market-led decision but it comes after mounting pressure on both organisations by environmentalists over concerns about the energy firm's role backing of the arts.

Last August a protest performance from theatrical campaign group BP or not BP? was held in Edinburgh.

Another one followed in The Hub, the EIF’s base, and following the festival, a pressure group led by EIF staff formed.

The news emerged as the EIF 2016 programme was unveiled and BP was absent from the sponsors list.

It comes less than a month after BP and Tate in London announced they were parting company after 26 years.

In that row last year protesters spent 25 hours writing climate change messages in charcoal on the floor of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and later activists occupied part of Tate Britain.

Daniel Bye, whose show won a Fringe First award last year and who joined the creative protest against BP outside Usher Hall, said: "I look forward to the day when arts organisations gladhanding big oil looks as freakishly untenable as tobacco or arms sponsorship.

"This takes us one step closer."

EIF said in response to questions on social media: "BP has not renewed its support of the Edinburgh International Festival this year.

"They've been great supporters but all sponsorships come to an end."

A BP spokesman said: "In what is an extremely challenging business environment, we are reducing spending and taking many difficult decisions across BP.

"We are delighted to have supported the Edinburgh International Festival for a number of years however, as a result of the current business environment, we have reluctantly decided not to renew our very modest sponsorship this year.

"We wish the festival all the best in its preparations."

Ric Lander, of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: "Edinburgh International Festival should be congratulated on freeing itself from fossil fuel sponsorship.

"We know that most fossil fuels reserves must be kept in the ground if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

"We need to urgently move away from extracting and burning fossil fuels and companies like BP who continue to profit from the destruction of our environment have no place in our treasured cultural events or institutions.”