Edinburgh Council is now officially a risk to Lothian Buses – John McLellan

It would be presumptuous of me to claim the credit, but after my articles on Lothian Buses’ rejection of a freedom of information request for details of its risk register, the company has had a change of heart.

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 12:30 pm
Lothian Buses is mostly owned by Edinburgh City Council (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

Readers may recall that the South-West Edinburgh in Motion campaign was told releasing such information would “substantially inhibit the likelihood of such information being freely exchanged in the future” or, in other words, annoy Edinburgh Council

This is not strong grounds on which to base an FoI rejection and now the company has replied to Swem and admitted that “we should have released this information and not applied this exemption”.

Having revealed last week that the register flags up the dangers of the council’s transport policies, sure enough the company has confirmed that although there is no specific assessment of the council’s temporary Spaces for People schemes, the broad “strategic road and space planning” category is classified as a high risk to the business.

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Given all Lothian buses routes in Edinburgh use streets which are the council’s responsibility, it is now official that Edinburgh Council is a high risk to a business in which it has a 91 per cent stake and from which it expected an annual pre-Covid dividend of £6m.

One way or another, the council has to decide whether it wants a profit from the bus company or if it is prepared to sacrifice revenue on the active travel altar. To think it can have both is a delusion.

John McLellan is a Conservative councillor for Craigentinny/Duddingston

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