Comment: Toll of road pollution impossible to ignore

The damaging effects of road traffic pollution are increasingly clear
The damaging effects of road traffic pollution are increasingly clear
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The people of Edinburgh delivered a resounding answer when they were last asked whether they thought road tolls were a good idea.

That was back in 2005 when the public voted three to one against plans to introduce a £2-a-day congestion charge on cars driving into the city. If you asked the question again today, would the answer be much different? I doubt it.

Driving around the city can be a frustrating experience at times. However, apart from when there are major roadworks, traffic tends to move just about enough for the vast majority of motorists to grin and bear it. As long as that is the case, it is going to be hard to win popular support for a policy that will cost many car owners hundreds of pounds a year.

The problem with this is two-fold. With housebuilding on an industrial scale going ahead in many parts of the city, our roads are going to get much busier in the next few years.

That will inevitably mean more traffic jams, but far more critical than that is the toll that will take on the health of the next generation. The damaging effects of traffic fumes are increasingly clear and worrying. Tolls may not be the answer, but neither is doing nothing.