Edinburgh's car lobby may be loud but voice of the young generation must be heard – Susan Rae

Last week, at a meeting of all councillors, I asked the council leader to share my thanks and admiration for the astonishing work of our youngest citizens in highlighting the climate crisis.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 4:45 pm
Active travel like cycling is good for health and the environment (Picture: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

It’s the defining issue of our time but, for our youngest it’s personal, as it is they who will feel the most brutal impacts in decades ahead.

So no wonder they have been protesting, from primary and secondary school, as part of the global climate strikes. It was a joy to see them assemble again last Friday outside Holyrood, albeit a joy tinged with mild rage that they have been so let down by current decision-makers.

Earlier, at the same meeting, councillors were shown a powerful video made by three of Edinburgh’s doctors and senior medical professionals, urging the city to go much further and much faster in keeping and improving facilities to make it easier for people to walk, wheel and cycle in the city.

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The benefits for both better health and reducing inequality are compelling.

It reminded me of how absent the voices of our young people have been over the last year when decisions about use of road space have been taken.

Consultations rarely hear their views. While there are some very vocal, loud voices who want to preserve the status quo, to keep Edinburgh locked into car-dependency and see universal parking convenience as the optimum goal, I have yet to see a banner at a climate strike share any of those messages.

Susan Rae is a Scottish Green councillor for Leith Walk

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