Green light for second Edinburgh tram
Edinburgh’s second proposed tram line has been approved by MSPs who ruled that any drawbacks were outweighed by the scheme’s potential benefits.
The route will link the airport with Princes Street in the city centre but objectors claim it could worsen congestion around Queen Street, Queensferry Road and Palmerston Place and duplicate the planned airport rail link.
Holyrood’s Edinburgh Tram (Line Two) Bill Committee acknowledged that the scheme could lead to increased traffic, a point also conceded by the line’s developer Transport Initiatives Edinburgh (TIE).
The MSPs also questioned the projected passenger numbers but refused to uphold the objections in their interim report published last week, adding: ‘An appropriate balance has been struck between the rights of those adversely affected by the scheme and its benefits to the wider community.’
But the committee did pledge to amend the final Bill to give statutory backing to noise reducing measures.
The findings were welcomed by TIE chief executive Michael Howell.
‘TIE Limited is very pleased that the committee recognises the benefits that trams will bring to the City of Edinburgh in the wider context and notes the committee’s acknowledgement that every possible step has been taken to minimise the impact both on the community and on the environment,’ he said.
‘We now look forward to the next stage, which is to formalise many of the mitigation proposals we have offered to the committee during the evidence process, before the final debate in Parliament.’
City Council leader Donald Anderson said the report took Edinburgh a step closer to a world-class transport system.
‘Tram line two links up the key wealth creating areas of Edinburgh and fast links between these areas will help boost jobs and investment,’ he stated.
Councillors are currently examining ways of bridging a substantial funding gap to enable the project to go ahead. Ministers have suggested they would be willing to increase the Scottish Executive’s £375 million contribution by linking it to inflation, but that would still leave an estimated £120 million shortfall.
Source: Planning Resource