Edinburgh roads: Clash over calls to use parking charges to discourage large and heavy vehicles

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Councillors have clashed over calls to use parking charges to discourage larger and heavier vehicles from the streets of Edinburgh.

Green Inverleith councillor Jule Bandel said SUVs were more dangerous to pedestrians than most cars and claimed hiking parking prices for such vehicles would only hit the wealthy.

Tory councillor Marie-Clair Munro said residents who drive a Nissan Qashqai ‘might not consider themselves to be wealthy’ but transport convener Scott Arthur said the vehicles were ‘still quite expensive’.Tory councillor Marie-Clair Munro said residents who drive a Nissan Qashqai ‘might not consider themselves to be wealthy’ but transport convener Scott Arthur said the vehicles were ‘still quite expensive’.
Tory councillor Marie-Clair Munro said residents who drive a Nissan Qashqai ‘might not consider themselves to be wealthy’ but transport convener Scott Arthur said the vehicles were ‘still quite expensive’. | Supplied

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But Tory Morningside councillor Marie-Clair Munro said the heaviest cars were electric vehicles and argued some SUV owners would not class themselves as wealthy.

The row came as the council's transport and environment committee discussed road safety and a report requested from officials on potential measures to deter large and heavy vehicles. The report said increasing parking permits costs could only influence car owners who required a permit and varying on-street charges would mean upgrading ticket machines.

Cllr Bandel said: "We know from existing studies that pedestrians are more likely to die when hit by a larger or heavier vehicle, especially children. Research suggests children are eight times more likely to die when struck by an SUV than when struck by a lighter passenger car, which by the way have served many families just fine for decades.

“The smaller you are the less likely it is the driver will see you and the more likely it is the bumper will hit you in the chest or even the head. SUV drivers have also been shown to be more likely to take risks on the road because they feel protected by their big car.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She added that SUVs were "incredibly polluting" and  also took up more space, often not fitting into regular parking spaces.

"For all of these reasons we are proposing Edinburgh should follow cities like Paris to discourage the use of larger and heavier vehicles by raising parking charges - which since these vehicles tend to be quite expensive means it should only affect wealthier residents - and raise additional revenue which should be put back into road safety."

But Cllr Munro said she had been contacted by a lot of residents concerned about whether their car would count as an SUV. She said: “I have some residents who have mobility vehicles that are large.”

She said: “The heaviest cars in this city are electric cars.  If we're supposed to be doing it for the environment are you going to be looking at the weight of electric vehicles and banning them from coming into the city?”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And she added: ”I must take issue with Cllr Bandel's comments that those who have SUVs are somewhat wealthier than others in the city.  I think that’s quite a sweeping comment - I think residents driving a Nissan Qahsqai might not consider themselves to be wealthy. And we have to be very mindful about how we tell our residents in Edinburgh what they should spend their money on and that pertains to vehicles as well.”

Committee convener Scott Arthur told her: “I think there are quite a few people in my ward who could not afford ‘even’ a Nissan Qashqai because they are still quite expensive.”

The committee agreed to hold a workshop, where Cllr Arthur said committee members and officials would discuss what the issues were and how they could be addressed.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.