Edinburgh's Spaces for People schemes: MSP says compensation claims 'just the tip of the iceberg'

Fifteen claims for compensation for injury or damage resulting from Edinburgh's controversial Spaces for People scheme will be just "the tip of the iceberg", an MSP has claimed.

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Details released under Freedom of Information legislation show that 13 of the 15 claims received by Edinburgh City Council between October 2020 and July 2021 are still outstanding.

Thirteen of the claims were for personal injury – four from people injured when they fell from a bike and nine from people injured when they tripped. The other two claims were for damage to vehicles.

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Thirteen of the 15 compensation claims remain unresolved. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.Thirteen of the 15 compensation claims remain unresolved. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.
Thirteen of the 15 compensation claims remain unresolved. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

The only cases settled or rejected were two of the claims where people said they had tripped. No details of any settlement or the amount of any compensation paid were provided.

The council was also asked for information about what types of injury were suffered and how much money the claims were for, but did not supply these details.

Lothian Tory MSP Miles Briggs said: “The number of injury claims made against Edinburgh council’s Spaces for People scheme shows just how hazardous the temporary road restrictions are."

But he said he believed many people who had had accidents with the Spaces for People installations would not have lodged claims.

“This will only be the tip of the iceberg with far more people likely having been injured by Spaces for People, but not making a claim.

"I know people who have come to me about incidents they’ve had and I’ve put them in touch with the council but they have not necessarily then have put in a claim.”

Mr Briggs said there had been a lot of confusion about the road layout in many places at the start of the scheme.

“When Spaces for People was put into place far too little consultation was done and there were countless hazards across the city.

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“I think the placing of some of the barriers has been problematic so I wonder how many cars and bikes have. hit them.”

And he suggested the bases for bollards marking out cycle lanes were among the worst hazards.

“Once the plastic bollards get knocked off they’re not particularly visible for cyclists or motorists. And they’re pretty robust – if you hit them your wheel would take quite an impact.

“Spaces for People was an ill thought out project which has not necessarily had the impact people wanted and as we can see people have suffered injuries and damaged their cars during it.

“In the run up to the 2022 council elections in May, the Scottish Conservatives have pledged to remove the controversial and dangerous temporary measures.”

Transport vice-convener Karen Doran said: “Any public liability insurance claim is considered on an individual basis. Those outstanding could be still under investigation or awaiting a response from the claimant or representative, though it would not be appropriate to comment on specific claims which are currently open.

"It should be noted that we have had a small number of claims related specifically to Spaces for People, now Travelling Safely.”

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