Devo-within

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Your editorial comment (9 February) implying that the City of Edinburgh Council cancelled the proposed rail link to its airport – while pressing ahead with the trams – is factually incorrect.

Both decisions were indeed the result of votes in Edinburgh – but in the Scottish Parliament, not the City Chambers.

The decision to cancel the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link (EARL) has deprived much of Scotland of direct rail access to the capital’s airport.

Glasgow, of course, subsequently had its airport rail link torn away from it by the Scottish Government – though the UK Government has recently, through City Deal funding, revived hopes that rail access to Glasgow Airport might still come about.

Over the years Edinburgh has been consistently deprived of any revival of rail to facilitate better travel throughout the city. Investment has been focused on those travelling into the capital – at the expense of those travelling within it.

The few new rail stations opened have largely been down-payments for lines leading outwith the city, eg to Midlothian and the Borders.

Although this was not made explicit at the time, I am in no doubt that this lack of any willingness at national level to allow new rail services in Edinburgh led to the trams being seen by the council as the only non-bus-based game in town to try to alleviate the capital’s at times appalling congestion and frustratingly lengthy journey times.

All this indicates – as is clear from experience on the continent – that locally appropriate sustainable transport is best delivered by local decision-making, albeit within a framework set by national government.

Holyrood has been a centralising parliament for far too long now. It’s time for devolution within Scotland, not just to 
Scotland.

Lawrence Marshall

King’s Road

Edinburgh