Edinburgh’s SNP leader should be praised for courage about cars – Daniel Johnson MSP

Changes that affect how people use their cars always takes a degree of bravery. We are attached to our cars, they give us an ability to get from A to B in our own, private comfortable space.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 11:45 am
Adam McVey is right to stick to his guns over the 20mph speed limit, says Daniel Johnson. Picture: Ian Georgeson

But they are bad for the environment and their emissions damage our health.

So, I read with interest Adam McVey’s recent column setting out the benefits of the 20mph limit in the city. It has been a brave move and it needs the confidence and wholehearted defence Adam has already made of it for it to create lasting change.

I’m not always fulsome in my compliments for the leader of the council, but it is important to lend support where it’s due. What would make me more supportive is if this policy was in the context of a strategic push to change transport usage.

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To see what I mean, we do not need to look very far. Just to Dundee in fact. As befits the City of Discovery, Dundee has been pioneering the transition to electric vehicles, investing in solar power charging stations, delivering on street charging points and rapidly shifting its own vehicle fleet to electric.

In the meantime, Edinburgh has created some zoning maps for future charging points, and a trial in Marchmont has never materialised, despite being announced years ago.

We are never going to remove the need for cars altogether and the environmental and health benefits of encouraging a switch from internal combustion to electric are clear. Coupled with autonomous technology, our cities could be revolutionised and made cleaner and much more efficient.

I want to keep supporting the council in its transport initiatives. But to do that we need see more of the vision that we see in Dundee here in Edinburgh.

This transition will be tough, there is no point denying that, but it is important to make sensible, long term steps to secure the transport and health needs of our city.