Congestion charging by the back door?

As an avid reader of Steve Cardownie’s column I was a wee bit disappointed to see I had not made myself clear on my thinking regarding a possible congestion charge for Edinburgh.

As Edinburgh’s new Transport and Environment Convener, I am faced with a situation where Edinburgh is growing at an incredible rate and is the most congested city in the UK. More car use won’t solve this problem, particularly when we are faced with a climate emergency.  

The opposition parties in Edinburgh think a Workplace Parking Levy is the solution, but myself and my friends in the trade union movement have doubts.  If the opposition parties progress with this, however, I have a duty to make it work for our Capital.

I am looking at a range of measures inside the city to encourage people to switch to sustainable transport modes, and to ensure new developments have first class public transport links. I must, however, also consider the traffic coming from outside Edinburgh.  

My focus right now is increasing public transport capacity from surrounding local authorities.  This is about making it safer, faster and more reliable. By 2025 I hope to have the public transport capacity in place to make a real dent in Edinburgh’s congestion problem. If people from outside the City of Edinburgh Council area prove reluctant to switch  to public transport then a congestion charge may help encourage them.

Steve Cardownie called this  “congestion charging by the back door”, but I am planning on knocking loudly on the front door of drivers to ask them to make the switch to sustainable transport.

The congestion charge will be payable as car drivers from surrounding local authorities enter Edinburgh, but there may well be a higher rate for entering the city centre.

For all this to work, Scotland needs a joined-up public transport strategy which focuses on keeping bus, tram and rail fares affordable and the services reliable. Let’s hope we see progress on this by 2025. 

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One thought on “Congestion charging by the back door?

  1. The problem lies in the over-development of the city with new-build housing estates. This beautiful historic city is being ruined and its character diminished. It is now a sprawling metropolis without the infrastructure to support it. What is the Planning Department thinking of? And take a look at Princes Street and Morningside – once renowned areas, but quite shabby now. Open your eyes before it’s too late – a few cycle lanes aren’t going to cure the decline of Edinburgh.

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