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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 February, 2005, 16:01 GMT
Court considers congestion charge
Traffic jam
Edinburgh plans to introduce city charging
Three councils have gone to court to challenge controversial congestion charging plans for Edinburgh.

The City of Edinburgh Council wants to introduce a 2 charge to traffic passing through two designated cordons.

Fife, West Lothian and Midlothian councils are challenging before Lord Brodie an exemption for some residents in outlying parts of the capital.

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

The judicial review is being heard over Thursday and Friday and Lord Brodie is expected to give a written judgement at a later date.

The charge aims to raise 760m over 20 years, with the funds used for transport improvements throughout the area.

Traffic calming measures merely divert traffic elsewhere and cannot help those schools which lie on or near main roads
Tina Woolnough
Edinburgh Communities Against Congestion Charging

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

Junior counsel for the neighbouring councils, Sean Smith, said there were many points on the boundaries between the authorities where residents living outside the outer cordon of the scheme should be exempt from the charge.

He told the court that residents of South Queensferry would benefit from an exemption, while those across the Forth in North Queensferry would have to pay.

And some residents in Edinburgh have raised fears that the charge may force traffic into residential areas and near schools.

Heriot Currie QC is also appearing for the neighbouring authorities with junior counsel.

Edinburgh City Council is being represented by two QCs, Malcolm Thomson and Sir Crispin Agnew.

The council has argued it is reasonable for it to decide whether residents living outside the outer cordon of the scheme should be exempt from the charge.

Tina Woolnough, from pressure group Edinburgh Communities Against Congestion Charging, said: "Traffic calming measures merely divert traffic elsewhere and cannot help those schools which lie on or near main roads."

But sustainable transport charity Sustrans said the plans were the only way to tackle both traffic problems and pollution.

Spokesman Chas Booth said: "We understand the concerns of those living on a small number of inter-cordon streets that the charge may lead to an increase in traffic in their neighbourhood.

"Similar concerns were raised before implementation of the London charge, but these have proved unfounded: no significant rat-running has occurred."

The review comes ahead of a city-wide referendum on charging.

The postal ballot will be held between 7 and 21 February.

The result is expected to be available on 22 February and will go before a full council meeting on Thursday, 24 February.

Voters will be asked to vote 'Yes' in favour or 'No' against the authority's preferred transport strategy which includes the charging regime.

1a. Glenogle Road
2. Brandon Terrace
4. Eyre Place
5. Cornwallis Place
6. Mansfield Place
7. East London Street
8. Leith Walk
10a. Regent Terrace
11. Regent Road
12. Calton Road
13. Canongate
14. Holyrood Road
15. St Leonard's Street
16. Clerk Street
17. Hope Park Crescent
18. Melville Drive
21. Home Street
22. Dundee Street
23a. West Approach Road (Dundee Street access)
23b. West Approach Road (Westfield Road access)
24. Dalry Road
25. Roseburn Terrace
26. Belford Road
28a. Randolph Cliff
30. Deanhaugh Street

1. A199 Edinburgh Road
2. A1 Musselburgh By-pass
3. A6095 Newcraighall Road
4. Whitehill Road
5. A6106 The Wisp
6. A7 Old Dalkeith Road
7. A772 Drum Street
8. Lasswade Road
9a. A701 Burdiehouse Road
9b. Southhouse Broadway
10. A702 Biggar Road
11. Dreghorn Link
12. A70 Lanark Road
13. Baberton Junction
14. A71 Calder Road
14a. Edinburgh Park South Access
15. South Gyle Broadway
16. A8 Glasgow Road
17. A90n Queensferry Road

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