‘Swift decision to hold review is welcome’

The decision to install the experienced head of Lesley Hinds as the city’s transport leader is a shrewd one by the city’s new administration. With anger still bubbling over trams, a safe pair of hands is definitely required to ensure Edinburgh moves on from the debacle of the last five years.

With such a turnover of councillors following the two most recent elections, experience and nous is at a premium. Cllr Hinds has this, having been first elected in 1984 as part of the old Edinburgh District Council.

Colleagues have joked with her about being the “trams Tsarina” but the events of the past fortnight have underlined that her job is far wider.

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The new bus lane cameras are a sensible idea, but one which must be carefully implemented. Law-abiding motorists should not have to put up with other drivers openly flouting the rules on a daily basis.

But 4500 fines in the first six days? Drivers receiving tickets for being in a bus lane three seconds before it comes into operation? Motorists fined for simply entering a Greenway to avoid a stationery vehicle?

The cameras should be about removing unfairness. But there is a danger that the system simply replaces one type of unfairness with another.

Politically, there is also a danger that the new Labour-SNP coalition will find itself under immediate pressure on yet another transport issue.

It is welcome, therefore, that the council has acted swiftly and ordered a review.

It needs to look at whether motorists understand the bus lane system. Is signage clear? Are the hours of operation sensible? And are the bus contributing to increased congestion?

And importantly, if there is even the whiff of revenue-raising voters will make their feelings clear.

Saddle soar

No less a Frenchman than Charles de Gaulle once declared that the special entente between our two countries was “the oldest alliance in the world”.

Now it looks as though we may be teaming up once again to bring one of the world’s greatest sporting events to Edinburgh, the Tour de France.

The famous race’s Grand Depart, a short time trial staged before the main event, is being lined up to take place in the Capital in 2017.

The visiting tour would be fantastic for the city, but Edinburgh could be good for the tour as well. Our love of sport, and growing appetite for cycling, means it would surely grab the public imagination.

And we have shown, every year at Festival time and Hogmanay, that we really know how to throw a world-class party.

So we say bring it on, or as they say in France, vive le Vielle Alliance.