Moves made at new council are hardly earth shattering - but it's a start - Steve Cardownie

Now that former Edinburgh Council Leader, Councillor Adam McVey, has relinquished his ‘squatters’ rights’ and effected a midnight flit from his former office, it would appear that things are settling down at City Chambers.

By Steve Cardownie
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 12:30 am

There seems to be recognition that the new minority Labour administration has been entrusted with the job of piloting the city through troubled waters. Although the aforesaid recognition may be more reluctant in some quarters than others, it nonetheless means that progress is being made.

First up is Councillor Scott Arthur, who assumed the mantle of transport convener although, bizarrely, only until someone else takes over in the autumn. What that says about his authority on major issues in the interim, one can only speculate.

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Removing a bus lane which was causing traffic chaos on the A8 and pledging to carry out meaningful consultation with local councillors on traffic schemes is hardly earth shattering - but it’s a start.

The Workplace Parking Levy has not been given the boot just yet but it certainly looks like the SNP’s plan to introduce a congestion charge has been quickly consigned to the waste paper basket.

Of course, Councillor Arthur will be acutely aware that the introduction of future transport initiatives will not just be left to the Labour Group and all parties in the High Street will be given the opportunity to throw in their tuppence worth. Who knows what the end result will be? A well thought out strategy to deal with Edinburgh’s future travel infrastructure or a pound of mince? It remains to be seen.

Councillor Scott Arthur is Edinburgh City Council’s new transport convener. PIC: Jon Davey.

Credit where credit’s due, Councillor Arthur has certainly not allowed the grass to grow under his feet and seems keen to make some kind of impact, however short-lived. Given that he is supposed to get on his bike after the summer break his ability to effect meaningful change must be somewhat diminished and he can only be entrusted to deal with the immediate, smaller scale, issues and the incoming convenor will be at the helm when the longer term, major travel issues come over the horizon.

Steve Cardownie is a former Deputy Lord Provost, former deputy leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, and former leader of the council's SNP group