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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 22:50 GMT
Congestion plan: 'A double noose'
Image of parent walking children to school
Campaigners fear charging will move traffic near schools
Tina Woolnough is co-ordinator of Edinburgh Communities Against Congestion Charging.

She is concerned that Edinburgh congestion charge plans will increase traffic and pollution around residential suburbs and schools.

Ms Woolnough told BBC Scotland's news website the proposed scheme would be a "double noose" around the capital.

The plans, to voted on by residents this month, will see a 2 charge for passing through designated zones.

Our key concern about Edinburgh's two-cordon congestion charging proposal is the projected increase in traffic in residential areas and around schools which lie between the two cordons.

The cordons are effectively a double noose, encouraging those who wish to avoid the charge to travel through residential suburbs.

Traffic flow evidence presented by the City of Edinburgh Council's expert witness at the congestion charging public inquiry in May 2004 demonstrated increases in traffic on over 80 streets in Edinburgh.

Computer modelling was only undertaken for 3% of the capital's roads, so we believe the severe negative impact on traffic where people live and go to school will actually be much worse.

Edinburgh residents who currently use the bypass for local journeys will now revert to using residential streets

For a scheme which claims to be about reducing traffic, we find it totally unacceptable that traffic will actually increase between the two cordons.

Neil Johnstone, the council's traffic flow witness, agreed at the public inquiry that 'the cars do not disappear - what we are doing is re-distributing traffic and spreading the load'.

The 'load' is being spread to the 'doughnut' between the two cordons.

In essence, cars are being displaced both from the city centre and from the bypass, as Edinburgh residents who currently use the bypass for local journeys will now revert to using residential streets in the 'doughnut'.

The vast majority of Edinburgh's schools lie between the two cordons.

'Morally indefensible'

An increase in traffic of 8% on Ferry Road - already a busy artery - represents a significant worsening of air quality and accident risk for the 22 schools which lie within half a mile of Ferry Road.

On Calder Road, 11 schools will suffer the consequences of increased traffic.

On Annandale Street, traffic is predicted to increase by 557%. Six schools lie within half a mile.

This is a pattern which is repeated across the city.

As a Safer Routes to School co-ordinator and as a school cycle trainer, I believe this is morally indefensible.

We cannot understand why sustainable transport lobby groups are campaigning for a 'Yes' vote

Traffic calming measures merely divert traffic elsewhere and cannot help those schools which lie on or near main roads.

Even after 20mph zones are in place, the traffic flow forecast showed 69 of the 143 streets were still worse off.

Edinburgh's suburbs will pay the price of some reduction in cars in the city centre.

Even in the city centre, traffic movements are predicted to increase, to fill the gaps, and air quality is set to deteriorate too.

This is also contained in evidence at the public inquiry.

Successful local Safer Routes to School projects, which promote walking and cycling to school and try to change the travel habits of the next generation, will be seriously undermined.

We cannot understand why sustainable transport lobby groups are campaigning for a 'Yes' vote for this particular proposal which leads to more traffic around schools, more risk to children and worse air quality.

Congestion plan: 'The only way'
02 Feb 05 |  Scotland


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