Edinburgh Council is making a right mess of the road network – John McLellan

For “ambitious” read “detached from reality”, and the problem with Edinburgh Council’s goal to hit net-zero carbon by 2030 is that it has so little control over the vast majority of sources.

Braid Road is due to re-open this weekend, but will it? (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)
Braid Road is due to re-open this weekend, but will it? (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

It can make its own operations carbon neutral, but the public sector only contributes seven per cent of the city’s emissions, so the council only has direct control of maybe three or four per cent. Of the other contributors, the vast majority require Scottish or UK legislation to alter, so options for direct intervention are extremely limited.

Virtually all it is left with is reducing traffic and encouraging electric-powered vehicles, but the evidence suggests reduced car use is related to more working from home, not council action.

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Car use would have reduced even if the council hadn’t insisted on closing roads, so the resulting displacement has made some streets being busier than they need to be, especially as the number of delivery vehicles has not changed.

For example, closing Braid Road and surrounding streets has contributed to logjam on Comiston Road, fun tours of South Morningside instead of previously direct routes to the East, and more car journeys through the narrow, bungalow-lined streets of Greenbank.

Braid Road is apparently due to reopen this weekend as the traffic order making its closure legal expires, but whether this happens is another thing. If not, exasperated locals would be entitled to uphold the law by removing the barriers and making a contribution to cutting traffic in Greenbank. But that’s no way to run a road network.