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Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 10:13 GMT 11:13 UK
Road tolls on the agenda
Princes Street, Edinburgh
Money raised would fund transport improvements
A public meeting has been held in the Scottish capital to discuss controversial plans which could see motorists being charged 2 to drive into the city.

The proposals, part of Edinburgh City Council's new anti-congestion plan, could raise 50m a year to increase investment in public transport.

They are aimed at reducing traffic levels in the city centre by 15%.

The meeting with 200 members of the public was as part of a consultation period which finishes at the end of this month.


We cannot simply stick our heads in the sand and do nothing

Andrew Burns
Edinburgh City Council

Edinburgh City Council's new transport initiative aims to tackle the gridlock.

A spokesman said he was confident the public would vote in favour of the proposals.

It is planning to spend 1.5bn over the next 10 to 15 years on public transport which could be funded by a congestion charging scheme.

The public is being consulted on various options.

One is to maintain the status quo but there are fears that would increase pollution, mean more gridlock and a stagnating public transport system.

The other option is to introduce 2 charges by 2006, for motorists entering specific parts of the city.

'Health benefits'

Opponents say the predicted 15% cut in traffic is not enough to justify the scheme.

Andrew Burns, the council's transport spokesman, said: "I am fairly confident that when people see the proposals for the city they will support change.

"We cannot simply stick our heads in the sand and do nothing. The problem is not going to go away as car ownership is set to increase significantly.

"It would also boost commerce and retail in the city as delivery schedules would improve, while the health benefits would be incalculable."

See also:

09 Jun 02 | Scotland
01 Jun 02 | Politics
26 Feb 02 | UK
04 Sep 01 | Scotland
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