Congestion charge is ‘good for Edinburgh’
Leading health and public welfare advisors have recommended the proposed £2-a-day congestion charge for the Scottish capital. In an open letter published as Edinburgh Council launched a referendum this week, they suggest it could lead to more walking and cycling, thereby tackling problems of inactivity and obesity in Scotland.
They also suggested that ‘Additional health benefits of a successful congestion charging programme would include a reduction in air pollution and associated hospital admissions for respiratory and heart disease, decreased noise and fewer traffic collisions and casualties.’
Similar measures in London have led to a decrease in the number of cyclist and pedestrian casualties. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has warned that London’s congestion charge is having a negative effect on small retailers although they acknowledge that air quality and the general ambience have improved.
The proposed measures would include an inner zone covering most of Edinburgh from 7am to 6.30pm, and an outer zone between 7am and 10am on weekdays only. The charge would be expected to raise up to £760, over 20 years, for transport improvements.
The referendum will run until 21 February. If approved, the scheme will begin in summer 2006.