Edinburgh can go a long way with a can-do attitude – Cammy Day

We’ve been at the forefront of calling for a tourist tax, and it looks like our hard work is paying off, says Cammy Day

By The Newsroom
Monday, 30th September 2019, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 1st October 2019, 2:46 am
Cammy Day is the deputy leader of Edinburgh City Council

I reflected in my last column on yet another blockbuster season for our summer festivals, one which saw the Fringe report one of its busiest years on record.

We’re more than aware of the strain our festivals put on our core services and on our residents – and just as aware of our responsibility to manage this. The additional resources provided by a transient visitor levy – that we have long campaigned for – would help us to do just that.

So, I’m delighted that the pressure we’ve put on the Scottish Government around gaining the powers we need to introduce a levy has finally paid dividends. Following the First Minister’s announcement that a TVL Bill would pass through parliament in the coming months, a national consultation has now been launched – another massive milestone for us.

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Edinburgh blazed a trail with its Open Streets days – and now it has been invited to join a global sustainability programme. Picture: Neil Hanna

We’ve long been at the forefront of calling for this change, driving forward our proposals for a fair, simple overnight charge for visitors, and I’d encourage you to take part in the consultation before it closes in December.

CAN-DO city for climate change

Sunday will see the return of our Open Streets days, first launched in May to promote people-friendly roads around the Old Town. We joined the likes of Paris and New York to become the very first UK city to join the movement. It is timely, then, to be announced as the first place in Britain to join a trailblazing, global sustainability programme!

Edinburgh has been chosen to take part in Global Cities CAN B, a worldwide network to drive forward positive, lasting changes in support of going green. With climate change still high on the news agenda this month – across the pond and closer to home, when 10-15,000 school pupils and citizens who joined the Climate Strike – I’m excited that we are so clearly leading the way as a sustainably-minded city.

And our efforts are certainly gathering pace. Plans were passed for City Centre Transformation this month and now it’s time to make it a reality – putting our proposals into practice to truly prioritise our street space for pedestrians and cycling. All this in just one month, while we continue to address our ambitious goal to be carbon neutral by 2030 – an achievement I see Glasgow has also set its sights on, as announced last week.

Leading the way in facing up to the realities of population growth, working with others around the globe to reduce our carbon footprint, all while being more socially inclusive, resilient and sustainable . . . a CAN-DO city indeed.

100 years of Lothian

This month we’re celebrating 100 years of public ownership for Edinburgh’s much-loved bus service, as Lothian marks its centenary in some style. Alongside thousands of others, I was lucky enough to take part in yesterday’s fantastic centenary cavalcade, with buses from throughout the decades processing through our streets. The cavalcade, along with Lothian’s Doors Open Day event on Saturday (I hope you took the chance to take a peek?), demonstrates how the company has grown and evolved over the years, transporting the people of Edinburgh from every corner of the Capital and I hope lots of people came along to enjoy the spectacle.

As we look to the future, and the city’s evolution to encourage travel on foot, by bike and on public transport, we hope to see many more residents and visitors choosing to take the bus as a reliable, sustainable mode of transport for many more years to come.

Cammy Day is the deputy leader of Edinburgh City Council