Scrap new roads to fix Edinburgh’s potholes: Greens

File picture: Ian Georgeson
File picture: Ian Georgeson
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MILLIONS of pounds earmarked for new roads should instead be spent on patching up potholes, according to the Greens.

The party’s Lothian MSP Alison Johnstone said road users across Scotland were suffering because of a £2 billion backlog in repairs.

The Greens also want longer crossing times for pedestrians at traffic lights.

And they say Edinburgh’s 20mph limits in residential areas should be rolled out to the rest of the country.

The proposals are expected to be included in the Scottish Greens’ manifesto for the Holyrood elections in May.

The Greens said the SNP government had increased spending on motorways and trunk roads from £695 million last year to £820m this year, while spending on cycling and air quality remained flat.

They will promise to push for some of the roads budget to be redirected to address the maintenance backlog.

And they quoted research showing that investment in road maintenance creates 70 per cent more job hours than new road construction.

Ms Johnstone said: “With local authority budgets cut by the government, many are struggling to keep on top of road maintenance. All road users are suffering due to an estimated repair backlog of £2 billion. Some of the funding set aside for new roads should be redirected. Let’s fix what we’ve got instead of adding even more to an already over-stretched network.

“I have made it clear to SNP ministers that spending on maintenance is far better for local businesses and our economy than continuing to shovel millions into massive new road projects.”

A row over pedestrian crossing times was fuelled last year by an accident when a 65-year-old man was knocked down by a bus at the junction of Frederick Street and Princes Street.

The crossing was branded a safety hazard after it emerged pedestrians had just six seconds to get across.

Ms Johnstone, who took part in a hustings organised by cycling campaigners Spokes last night, also called for spending on cycling and walking to be increased from under 2 per cent of the transport budget to 10 per cent.

“We have a public health crisis with air pollution contributing to heart attacks and strokes. Congestion also holds back local businesses.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com