SNP sets conditions for giving OK to tram extension

A tram in Edinburgh. Picture: Lesley Martin
A tram in Edinburgh. Picture: Lesley Martin
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EXTENDING the Capital’s tram route will only go ahead if conditions are met, the SNP warns in its council election manifesto launched today.

The party says it will not progress the plans to take the line down Leith Walk and on to Newhaven without an assurance the project will be properly managed, disruption will be kept to an absolute minimum and small and independent businesses will be supported throughout the works.

The manifesto says the SNP supports the tram extension in principle, adding: “We believe that extending the tram represents the best means of building the capacity we need in our public transport network and unlocking the economic potential of communities across the city.”

But it warns: “We recognise that to instil public confidence in tram extension, the project must be delivered on time and on budget without placing undue pressure on the city’s finances.”

The business case for the extension is due to be considered by the council in June. Labour has committed itself to completing the tram route.

The SNP manifesto also pledges to limit council tax rises to three per cent a year for the full five-year term.

And in addition to promises to build new schools and expand childcare, the party says it would improve access to additional languages and encourage more children to gain skills in construction, engineering, digital technology, maths and science.

It pledges to continue provision of free music tuition in schools and never to close a library.

On the environment it says it would promote reuse and recycle schemes, pilot bottle, coffee cup and other deposits schemes, plant an additional 1000 trees across Edinburgh by 2021 and introduce free uplifts of bulky items along with tougher penalties on fly-tippers.

It also pledges to create additional park and ride facilities over the next five years.

The party says it would prioritise brownfield sites for development to protect the city’s greenbelt, lobby for powers to tackle land-banking to free up sites for new development and expand the council’s housing stock by bringing empty properties back into use. It also promises a review of student housing.

SNP group leader Frank Ross said: “We have set out an ambitious road map of how we will lead the city in the next five years.

“We have made more than 90 policy commitments to the people of Edinburgh in our manifesto and we intend to keep to each and every one of them.

“We’re asking for everyone in the city to support our platform and vote SNP to make our council stronger for Edinburgh.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com