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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 January, 2005, 16:01 GMT
Congestion review given go-ahead
Traffic jam
Edinburgh is considering charging similar to London
A judicial review into Edinburgh's congestion charging plans will go ahead next week, a judge has ruled.

Edinburgh City Council had called for a postponement until after a referendum on the charge proposals.

But temporary judge Roderick Macdonald said there was no substance to a point raised about possible prejudice.

Fife, West Lothian and Midlothian councils are challenging an exemption from the charge for some residents in outlying parts of the city.

They say motorists in neighbouring councils - living just as close to the capital - will have to pay.

The ruling to grant the review was made at a sitting of the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh City Council wants to introduce a 2 charge to traffic passing through two designated zones.

It is estimated the charge would raise 760m over a 20-year period and that money would be used to fund transport improvements throughout the area.

But the three councils also challenge the ability of the scheme to allow funds to be shared with surrounding authorities.

I'm pleased that the Court of Session have recognised the strength and seriousness of the judicial review
Mike Rumney
Fife Councillor

Fife Councillor Mike Rumney, chairman of the environment and development committee, said: "Edinburgh are tying themselves in knots now.

"They have tried to delay the hearing of the judicial review before they've even made a decision at their council meeting on Thursday to either go ahead, delay or postpone their own referendum based on our legal challenge.

"I'm pleased that the Court of Session have recognised the strength and seriousness of the judicial review and welcome the decision to let the hearing go ahead in the first week of February as planned."

Midlothian Council leader Adam Montgomery accused Edinburgh City Council of "muddling" its proposals and also called for the referendum to be postponed.

Edinburgh City Council said it would not be commenting on Tuesday's decision.

The review will now be heard in the Court of Session on 3 February.

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