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Scottish capital targets a reduction in polluting traffic

Words: Laura Edgar
Edinburgh / Shutterstock_204624400

The City of Edinburgh Council is targeting a reduction in the level of polluting traffic in the city by introducing a low-emission zone as well as increasing the number of pedestrianised streets.

The measures are set out in the draft City Mobility Plan (CMP), a 10-year “vision” for mobility and transport in Edinburgh. The plan is intended to reinforce the council’s ambition to make Scotland's capital carbon-neutral by 2030.

The council sought public feedback to its plans in 2018. If approved by the Transport and Environment Committee, a public consultation will be carried on the draft document in parallel with City Plan 2030, pending approval by the planning committee. A finalised plan is due to be brought back to the Transport and Environment Committee later this year.

The council said the CMP is linked with a range of local and national initiatives to bolster environmentally friendly travel and manage population growth and development sustainably, including the update of the National Transport Strategy.

The 10-year plan seeks to tackle congestion, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated by traffic, pockets of poor air quality and areas lacking public transport, among other issues.

The first of three stages includes the construction of the tram route to Newhaven (already under way); the creation of a low-emission zone; the City Centre Transformation Programme will identify the redesign of city centre places and spaces; the Waverley station masterplan will have a full implementation plan; and a review of bus routes.

This is all expected to be completed by 2022.

By 2025 and and 2030, CMP aims to have completed the following schemes.

  • 2025 – A mass rapid transit plan for the city and region. This will include new bus and tram systems, as well as park-and-ride and edge-of-city logistics hubs.
  • 2025 – A new bus strategy will be agreed, including stops, routes, and public transport interchanges. This should reduce bus congestion.
  • 2025 – Delivery of the Edinburgh street design guidance policy and a rigorous approach to enforcement to improve conditions for pedestrians.
  • 2030 – The city region’s seven park and ride facilities will have been upgraded to support fast and frequent public transport along strategic bus lanes and mass rapid transit routes travel from these interchanges into the city.
  • 2030 – Arterial routes will be being used for mass commuting by bike.
  • 2030 – The city centre will be largely car-free, with the workplace parking levy reducing in revenue as car use to commute declines.
  • 2030 – Iconic streets will be progressively pedestrianised. Elsewhere, pavements widths will have been significantly widened and obstacles removed.

Council leader Adam McVey said: “The City Mobility Plan offers a radical, 10-year plan to transform transport in the capital, achieving the kind of change we need by expanding use of bus, tram, rail, walking and cycling to provide the best quality of life for everyone.

“What’s crucial to any strategy, however, is buy-in of our residents and those who travel into the capital to work and visit. Everyone needs to play their part and I look forward to engaging with the public as we progress a finalised City Mobility Plan, alongside the development of the City Plan 2030.”

The CMP can be found on the City of Edinburgh Council website (pdf).

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