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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 February, 2005, 13:19 GMT
Congestion charging: Your views
A referendum in Edinburgh has rejected the idea of introducing congestion charging.

The council in Scotland's capital had proposed the plan in an attempt to halt the growing traffic problem in the city.

About 300,000 residents were asked if they were in favour of cordons, similar to those in London and what is under consideration in Bristol.

We asked for your views.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we received:

I wish Edinburghers would stop complaining about how poor their public transport is. Try living in Glasgow! I avoid using the buses where humanly possible in Glasgow - they are dirty, don't run on time, the driver is usually smoking. I actually enjoy travelling by bus when I'm in Edinburgh.
Clare, Glasgow

Disappointed to see this opportunity go. The no lobby have yet to come up with one positive idea to solve traffic problems - they are keen on 'other' people using public transport as long as they can use their cars in an unfettered way. At least some of the infrastructure and benefits are there.
Harris , Edinburgh

With all the roadworks in the city centre it is now becoming even more difficult to move around without trying to avoid the long lines of empty buses. I live and work in the city centre and only use the car on occasional journeys, I would prefer to move around the city using decent public transport but it is not available yet. Perhaps a rethink on the current road closures will happen now?
Kevin , Edinburgh

What a shame. Edinburgh does not have, for example, biking roads, as in many other European countries. Also public transport would have needed more money. Shall we then keep building Edinburgh for cars and not for its citizens?
Jouni, Edinburgh

I voted no, but would have supported the congestion charges had there been a decent, affordable public transport system in place. You cannot charge people to drive into town when there are no suitable alternatives. Edinburgh falls a long way behind every other city I have been to when it comes to public transport. Sort this out first and ask us again!
Mark, Edinburgh

The turkeys voted for Christmas. More congestion, more pollution, but at least everyone gets to sit in their nice, warm - if static - little car.
Phil Jones, Edinburgh

Maybe if the council put in place a first class bus service not only for the people who live in the city, but also for those who travel in from the outskirts, before thinking of a congestion charge. Do you really think if the vote went their way the money would have been spent as they promised?
Dona Robertson, Edinburgh

I am delighted the congestion charging scheme has been rejected, in spite of a ballot paper clearly designed to be difficult to understand and complete. The vote was approximately 3-1 against - compelling evidence that Edinburgh Council is totally out of touch on this issue. There are many others measures that can implemented to reduce congestion other than charging - what about reducing the "school run" traffic by having free buses for children, or overhauling the reviewing the current public transport system?
Kevin Heneghan, Edinburgh

The council didn't make itself popular in the run-up by implementing this year - without asking - a range of bossy, messy and irritating road closures, blocks, diversions and part-time one way systems. Far wiser (and they are not wise) would have been to tempt and lead the citizens with at least one tramway system. The council talks endlessly. The energy wasted on this congestion charging plan should have gone into just bloody well getting on with the tram system!
Gary McLean, Edinburgh

The 9,000,000 wasted on the referendum could have gone a long way to improving the condition of the roads in Edinburgh!!!!!
Alan Pauley, Edinburgh

As someone who lives outwith Edinburgh and carshares/takes buses to commute in every day, I welcome the overwhelming rejection of this referendum. People need to think more about what they can personally do to avoid overcrowded road, not pay more tax.
Dorothy Rothschild, Fife

Instead of trying to find more ways to get more money out of motorists, Edinburgh Council should look at the main cause of congestion in Edinburgh which is people driving their kids to school. The schools were off last week and the roads were almost empty. The council should be providing more school buses and safer paths to the school to give parents more options. The roads are quieter, and the kids get more exercise, everyone is a winner.
Martin Farrelly, Edinburgh

Not at all surprised! The whole thing was a money making scam. If they had kept it to an inner cordon it might just have got through. To include places like the Gyle/Edinburgh park in the cordon was not only greedy but stupid!
Bob, Fife

The council should be commended for attempting to do something to reduce congestion, however this poorly thought out scheme got its just reward and was comprehensively binned!
Eddie, Edinburgh

Now the council will have to step up plan B - change road layouts, widen pavements, close roads, impose one-way systems etc. - in order to make it impossible to drive through the city. This will result in a decrease in traffic. This is targeted to shift traffic away from the locations where pollution levels are currently monitored in the city, in order to ensure that the city is not fined. The money spent on this referendum exercise plus on the current traffic changes, would be better spent on improving public transport, so that people want to, rather than are forced through congestion charging, to use public transport.
Karen , Edinburgh

This is absolutely fantastic news. I am fed up of the level of taxation placed on me, with Edinburgh council tax yet again to be raised by above inflationary rates. I am pleased the rest of the city have realised that we cannot go on being pick pocketed by these bureaucrats
Martin, Edinburgh

Anyone notice how the congestion goes away totally on school holidays? Does the council need another 9m to work that one out?
David, Edinburgh

Everyone ask Edinburgh Council under the Freedom of Information Act how much this has cost up to date, I think the results will be frightening.
Steven Roberts, Edinburgh

Ill conceived indeed. The outer cordon taxing people who drive to work at the Gyle, the inner cordon unworkable as it would jam adjoining roads. The council did not listen to Ken Livingston when he said while he was visiting Edinburgh that congestion charging should not be used as a revenue raising measure - what did we get - projections from the council on the revenue that would be raised from a 2 charge and how it would be spent.
Peter, Edinburgh

Edinburgh has a good and frequent bus service which would only have improved with the extra funds which went toward it as well as the proposed trams. It's a typically short-sighted decision by people who only care about the immediate effect on their pockets rather than their quality of life.
Gordon, Edinburgh

Very sad, a missed opportunity. The problem won't just go away - we still need to do something to address levels of pollution in the city which are on course to incur fines from Europe. There may need to be road closures to achieve targets.
Jackie, Edinburgh

Edinburgh doesn't have much of a congestion problem compared to many UK cities. Transport priorities should now be to :- a)complete the city bypass so that traffic has a good way of avoiding the city, b) replace the proposed tram system with an underground system. How can they even propose sharing the "congested streets" with a new form of transport ?
George, Edinburgh

It would be stupid to go for an expensive scheme now - why not wait and see how it works in other places that need it more. Mr Spaven of TRANSform Scotland gives the game away when he says (quoted from BBC website): "We will end up being also-rans instead of being at the cutting edge of European transport policy." There are lots of professional "activists" (or busybodies as they used to be called) who want to be at the cutting edge of policy - but most of us who live here are more interested on the effect it would have on the quality of our lives.
Toby Bailey, Edinburgh

It's good to see Tony from Edinburgh is taking defeat gracefully. He obviously doesn't understand the concept of democracy. The people have overwhelmingly spoken in this matter.
Allison, Edinburgh

The only surprise is that not more people voted against. What a waste of money - councillors should be elected to govern not to duck out of difficult questions. All the councillors who voted for this fiasco should resign & be made to pay for a scandalous waste of council tax.
J Traille, Edinburgh

People wouldn't have to travel if the cost of housing wasn't so expensive within Edinburgh in the first place! Why don't they get to the real root cause of the problem!
Colin Chapman, Edinburgh

It was a very badly thought out plan. It was always more about making money than tackling congestion. The irony is that its ended up costing Edinburgh Council a fortune.
Thomas Horne, East Lothian

My bus was 20 minutes late this morning - not due to any increase in traffic but due to the fact the council have decided to dig my route to work up in three different places. It wouldn't have been difficult for the council to provide better public transport, if only because it can't physically get much worse than it is! I live right on the outer cordon, take the bus to work but still voted no because I didn't believe the council would deliver on its public transport policies.
Marianne, Edinburgh

A clear case of everyone looking after number one and not appreciating the bigger picture. So many people see the words 2 a day to enter the city and tick the 'Vote No' box without reading further or considering the benefits. The comments of Iain from Livingston and Allan from East Lothian highlight a major concern, where people are happy to reject congestion charging schemes and yet complain about poor public transport, calling for the council to make improvements. Where is the money for these improvements going to come from? Expect council tax rises in the years to come.
DNH, Edinburgh

Absolutely delighted its been thrown out! We pay Edinburgh council rates yet were deemed outside the outer city boundary for the charge which is a piece of nonsense.
Paul, Balerno

75% says no. Do I need to say more?
Alvin Leong, Edinburgh

Donald Anderson and Andrew Burns must resign after spending 8m on a scheme which was obviously designed to raise money not cut congestion. Thankfully they have discovered that you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
Garry Robertson, Edinburgh

As a city centre resident I am upset that the people of Edinburgh have voted no. I don't fully understand why, since it would have meant a better public transport system. Also, in 10-15 years time when traffic increases even further they will have to force road tolls into the city or stop traffic completely driving in to the city centre. Also I now hope Fife, East Lothian and West Lothian councils are willing to inject money into a integrated transport system for the east of Scotland like SPT have for Strathclyde. If not, then they need to look at building a second road bridge, which would probably cost more and end up being another Scottish white elephant.
Tane Piper, Edinburgh

Well I can't say I am surprised that the insular residents of Edinburgh have voted no to congestion charges, as this was not thought out properly by Edinburgh Council. What will happen now, do the 'no voters' have a solution to congestion? We cannot go on building more bridges and roads to accommodate motorists. What they fail to realise is that in 10 years time there will be so much traffic that it will be pointless driving in the centre of town.
J Gordon , Edinburgh

Quite simply, what Edinburgh Council put forward as incentives to vote yes in this referendum were not sufficient to attain a yes majority. The proposal to bring back trams was a red herring. This would simply add to the congestion in the narrower streets. Edinburgh may have a lower population than, say Glasgow, or Newcastle, but why not create a similar underground/metro system, but on a smaller scale? Oh, it would have cost too much! In that case don't expect turkeys to vote for Christmas.
John MacLean, Tranent, East Lothian

Andrew Burns of the city council claimed that if this scheme was voted against he would 'ban traffic from Edinburgh'... let us now see if he was scaremongering and if he can eat humble pie?... or if truly is hell bent on his own agenda with this absurd threat. I believe he ought to resign, his credibility is in tatters.
Derek, Pencaitland, East Lothian

A victory for common sense. I look forward to a more considered and imaginative approach to transport infrastructure in the city and surrounding areas. The scheme as proposed was never a viable proposition for reducing congestion.
Simon, Edinburgh

I'm a resident of Edinburgh and live within the proposed zone. I am so glad the yes camp has been defeated. All in all it's just another stealth tax. Residents already pay for permit parking in the city, which is the current congestion charge (80 for 6 months). Where does this money go? On congestion or trams?, I think not. These permit or "congestion" areas have also been extended in recent months to tax residents further from the city centre for parking in order to increase council revenue. Parking prices have also risen in the city and there has been an increase in the amount of parking meters now used. Private firms have been recruited to enforce parking rules, with much dislike and to top it all, the council tax has just increased! Now tell me again that you want me to pay more to this uncontrolled council and it's fascination with traffic! (Salary reviews required at council HQ I think!)
Sandy, Edinburgh

I am happy for a no vote. The plans for congestion charging seemed to me nothing more than a way for the council to raise revenue, rather than to curb congestion. If people are serious about reducing pollution and traffic congestion, ban cars from the city centre altogether and ensure that adequate opportunities are provided for cyclists, pedestrians and public transport users. The public transport in most UK towns I have visited is laughable compared to Germany and Edinburgh is no exception. Once these are sorted out, remove the car altogether.
Jules, Edinburgh

I agree with the residents of Edinburgh who voted no. You can't introduce a one-size-fits-all tax on people without having the infrastructure in place before hand. Also, as a Fifer we already pay to cross the Forth Road Bridge anyway. The congestion charge will also hit the lower paid who can't afford it - ie people with shopping and kids, hard to manage on a crowded public transport system. Executives with big gas-guzzling cars can afford it, or will simply get it back through business expenses. It has to be based on ability to pay at least. Perhaps those in favour of the charge would be happy if Fife introduced a congestion charge for all Edinburgh residents coming into Fife.
AJ, Fife

Sense prevails. Now they will have to think about this rather than just try and raise money. Completely reviewing the public transport options from the major suburbs would be a start.
Craig, Livingston, West Lothian

I'd really, really like to see all the jubilant "no" voters explain this to families and friends of the 600 people who die every year in Central Scotland due to air pollution. "So sorry your Mum had to die, but I want to drive my car..."
Duncan King, Edinburgh

Maybe now the council will listen to its residents. If the councillors had consulted with residents they would probably have found that most would have been in favour of the outer cordon. Therefore reducing the commuting traffic without penalising tax paying residents.
Charles, Edinburgh

I'm really pleased that the congestion charge has been rejected. I do not disagree with congestion charging in principle but this scheme was not clearly thought through. The council leaders should be ashamed of their tactics as the voting papers were clearly set out to confuse in order to reduce the number of valid responses received. Well done Edinburgh residents for voting in such numbers despite the difficulties.
Gillian, Edinburgh

Can I extend my heartiest thanks to the people of Edinburgh. A result which should discourage councils around the country from introducing unfair, unwanted and unwarranted additional taxation. Be assured when it is my turn to vote I too will be voting to welcome motorists to my town freely.
Don Hughes, Basingstoke

I'm really disappointed by this but not in the least bit surprised. No-one ever votes for anything that will take money from their pockets. If the residents of Edinburgh and those who travel into the city from surrounding areas were unhappy about the proposals then it'll be interesting to see reactions to the inevitable and necessary actions the council will take in the future. And we won't be asked for our opinions on them. The 'no' vote may be in the majority, but I still don't believe they're right.
Angus, Edinburgh

How sad and predictable - people voting out of their own self-interest rather than the welfare of the wider community. I'm proud to have voted in favour, and sad that my fellow Edinburghers have shown themselves to be selfish and short-sighted.
Duncan Hothersall, Edinburgh

The residents of Edinburgh should have paid more attention to London and less to their own self-interest. Doom and gloom were predicted when London's scheme was introduced. The result: Less congestion, less pollution and more money to invest in transport infrastructure. A missed opportunity.
Peter, London

Instead of a planned introduction of charges, we'll have increasing congestion over the next few years till whatever flavour of council we have in that time will introduce charges, restrictions and controls that will make the proposals we've rejected look like a free pass. I believe we'll regret this action.
John Curran, Edinburgh

Well done residents of Edinburgh for seeing through this all too obvious revenue raising ploy. It's time these councillors were told to stop treating private transport as a cash cow. Perhaps they will now look at sensible alternatives like running a comprehensive park and ride system. Use Hermiston Gate, Fort Kinnaird, Gyle etc etc.
Martin Butler, Markinch, Fife

I live just outside the proposed cordon area and would perhaps have suffered from the rat run effect but still supported the idea of congestion charging. I wonder if the people (and principally the Evening News newspaper) who aggresively campaigned against it, will now come up with answers of their own to deal with pollution and the crippling traffic jams in Edinburgh? No doubt they'll just complain again when the council tax goes through the roof to deal with these things.
Alan Bigham, Edinburgh

With a reported 8M wasted on this farce by Edinburgh Council, I expect to see the immediate resignation of those who suggested or supported the scheme.
Richard, Edinburgh

Fine, then I hope that cars are banned from Edinburgh's city centre. That won't cost polluters anything and the walk will do them some good. Perhaps another option is to make significant improvements to the public transport infrastructure and then impose a 10 congestion charge without a referendum.
Tony, Edinburgh

The clear message from the population is give us reliable public transport FIRST. Not take the money first and then think about it!
Jim, Stirling

Why am I not surprised about the outcome? The problem as I see it is that the council had good intentions at heart but did not put enough thought into the wider implications of the two congestion charge cordons, especially in areas not covered by the cordons. A better and simpler idea would be to ban traffic outright from certain areas of the city and put on better public transport. Limiting the amount and types of traffic that go through Edinburgh will have more of an impact than simply charging motorists.
Dan, Glasgow

This is a massive rejection of the proposals. Given the large amount of money the council have already spent starting to put the infrastructure in place, should those responsible for it consider their positions?
Keith Brunton, Edinburgh

The people of Edinburgh I salute you! Perhaps now government will realise that people use their cars because public transport is very expensive, dirty and unreliable. Until we treat public transport as a service and not a profit making opportunity for a few firms nothing will improve. Just look at the trains.
Jason, London

I am delighted. What a prize Ken Livingstone offered us when he said that an Edinburgh no vote could kill off road tolls UK wide. Let's hope so; a 3 to 1 rejection is better than we dared hope.
Simon Fotherington, Galnafanaigh/Edinburgh

The Edinburgh congestion charging policy was not fully thought out. The council needs to have a better transport framework - then perhaps people will drive less. Edinburgh does not need congestion charges but better local politicians!
Mohammed, Edinburgh

We already pay to use our public roads (road fund licence), and our council tax, so why should we be made to pay again to use the public roads? Thankfully my fellow citizens have seen sense and given a huge NO to our city council.
Ian, Edinburgh

I hope all those who voted no will be able to admit their mistake in 10 years time when we have more congestion, more pollution and a third class public transport system in Edinburgh
Alan Henderson, Edinburgh

Very disappointing. I feel that people were misled by the no-vote lobby, and didn't look carefully enough into the real issues involved. It was a knee-jerk reaction that will be regretted.
Polly, Edinburgh

I think it is ludicrous that they can do this to residents. Surely we have a say in the matter.
Jim, Edinburgh

Excellent result!!! It's a victory for true democracy - now let the matter R.I.P.
Derek, Falkirk

Great news. The whole thing was ill-conceived and not thought through. This is something for central government (who are as bad) to work on not local councils. What next congestion charging as you enter each county and each city on your journey? Madness!
Russ, Edinburgh

While the result is not surprising, I wonder if I, and the others who voted no, have given Edinburgh Council a mandate to do as they want in the name of curbing congestion. Provided they don't charge of course.
G Smith, Edinburgh

The only problem with traffic in Edinburgh is the rush hour. This is patently a public transport issue and as Edinburgh's buses and trains are so awful and the proposed trams will not go anywhere that folk want to go, better roads are the only solution.
Jim McKenzie, Edinburgh

This is a fantastic result for yet another tax against the motorist. If the City of Edinburgh used the massive amounts of revenue from parking fines towards a viable public transport system we would see huge improvements, instead millions of pounds have now been wasted on this exercise. Yes something needs to be done, but it has to be reliable and most importantly, affordable.
Stewart , Fife

Thank god Edinburgh residents seen sense. Now doubt the council will go away and lick their wounds for a few years and then try it again.
Steven McKenna, Edinburgh

Turkeys, if given the chance, would not vote for Christmas. The poll was always likely to fail. However, I think the scheme would have worked, and traffic across the city would have been reduced. But now the council have to put in place the trams, park and rides and encourage car sharing. Once these are in place the scheme could be put before the people of Edinburgh again.
Allan, East Lothian

Yet another example of how far out of touch the government are from the people. I think motorists have been and are penalised enough in every aspect without this ridiculous charge. Good ridance to the idea.
Kenny, Dunfermline

It's time for the councillors who put this scheme forward to resign. They've wasted a fortune on this scheme already and even with a biased ballot they couldn't win the vote. They are a disgrace to the city.
Anthony Cunningham, Edinburgh

Happy to see the referendum has rejected congestion charging. The public transport infrastructure is a long way short of adequate for many travellers from outside the city.
Iain Calder, Livingston


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