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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 January, 2004, 17:25 GMT
Council defends road tolls
Edinburgh councillors say action is needed to curb traffic levels
Edinburgh council leaders have defended their plans for congestion charging in the face of apparent public indifference.

The ruling Labour administration has put forward series of amendments for the rush-hour road tolls.

But opposition councillors have claimed that the charge would cripple business in the city.

Motorists entering Edinburgh at busy times will face a daily fee of 2.

The council in Edinburgh carried out a leafleting campaign on its plans.

But less than one per cent of those targeted replied with their views.

The 2-a-day fee for drivers coming into the city centre has drawn criticism from retailers and residents living outwith the outer cordon in the west of the city.

However, the Labour administration insisted the charge is essential if the city is to keep moving.

London has recently run into problems with the administration of its congestion charge scheme.

Its transport commissioner Bob Kiley has threatened to sack Capita, the company that runs the congestion charge, unless its performance gets better.

London traffic
Congestion charging in London has caused administrative problems
And plans for a 25% rise in fines for failing to pay the 5 road toll have been shelved until Capita "has sufficiently improved".

Edinburgh's council has proposed amendments to reduce the impact of the charge.

The revised plan would include an outer cordon charge applying only in the morning.

Retailers are to be courted with a 15m promotion campaign for the city centre.

But opposition councillors have said they still believe the charge will be viewed simply as another tax which is bad for business and bad for Edinburgh.

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