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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 17:40 GMT
City traffic congestion warning
Car congestion is to get worse in Edinburgh
Edinburgh's transport leader Andrew Burns has warned that the city's traffic congestion is an increasing problem "which won't go away".

He was speaking a year to the day that controversial road toll proposals were rejected by the capital's residents.

Cllr Burns said action had to be taken to solve the increasing problem of extra cars on the roads.

And he warned that a 20 minute car journey could take an hour by 2026 unless something was done.

He said: "Let's be clear that congestion has not gone away, and we must find new ways to cope with it.

"As Edinburgh's economy continues to grow so too do the number of cars on our city's small historic streets.

Andrew Burns
If we maintain the status quo and nothing is done, a 20 minute journey will take one hour by 2026
Andrew Burns
Edinburgh Council

"In 2000 there were more new vehicle registrations in Edinburgh than in any other Scottish local authority and there was a 72% growth in daily commuting trips from 1981 to 2001.

"With an additional 34,800 jobs predicted in the city up to 2015 there will be an inevitable increase in congestion - current predictions suggest a 25% rise in the next 20 years.

"If we maintain the status quo and nothing is done, a 20 minute journey will take one hour by 2026 which stifles the potential for further growth."

Finding a solution

The charging proposals which were rejected after a ballot last year included a 2 a day fee to enter the congestion zone, with fines of 60 for those who did not pay.

Mr Burns said: "We are not alone with this problem. But maybe we were ahead of our time in trying to find a solution.

"Seven areas in England have been given funding to develop road user charging pilot schemes and Stockholm has been trialling a congestion charging system for seven months, and although opinion polls suggest that two out of three locals oppose the charge, campaigners claim the growing weight of traffic makes it inevitable."

He said the council had taken steps to tackle the problem of congestion.

"One of our priorities is to ensure travellers have as much choice as possible for getting around the city," he added.

"We aim to build on the public transport mix and provide better facilities for walkers and cyclists.

"We've also just had a comprehensive review of parking in the city and two more park and ride sites serving the south will be delivered over the next year or two."

Reaction to road toll 'no' vote
22 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Legal challenge to capital tolls
06 Jan 05 |  Scotland
Road toll plan given green light
18 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Traffic growth 'must be halted'
27 Apr 04 |  Scotland
Capital referendum on road tolls
08 Oct 02 |  Scotland

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