Congestion charging: Why Edinburgh needs to bite the bullet – Kenny MacAskill

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Congestion charging, it’s coming to a city near you, it’s just a matter of when it happens. Of course, Edinburgh was riven by this debate more than a decade ago but time’s move on, traffic’s worsened and the need for action on the environment has never been more critical.

London’s had it for years now and though it hasn’t solved the problems they face, it certainly hasn’t brought the city or its economy to a grinding halt. Indeed, without it much-needed action couldn’t have been taken and the traffic snarl-ups would be even greater.

The car should not be king. City streets should be for pedestrians and cyclists too, says Kenny MacAskill

The car should not be king. City streets should be for pedestrians and cyclists too, says Kenny MacAskill

So, it’s time for Edinburgh to bite the bullet. The previous plan was frankly bonkers with residents of Balerno and Queensferry paying to enter their city.

But a much smaller city centre zone would have been perfectly practical and is now badly needed.

READ MORE: Edinburgh ‘not ruling out’ congestion charge

It needn’t stop those who need to commute or affect those who live there. It will though provide a modest revenue to improve public transport alternatives, as well as making the city more enjoyable for residents and visitors alike.

The car is not king and the combustion engine needs regulated. In a city, the streets must be able to be enjoyed by pedestrians and cyclists as much as motorists.

Other European cities have been transformed in this manner and it’s time ours was too.

READ MORE: Congestion charge urged to beef up Glasgow low-emission zone