Edinburgh Lord Provost's cars could be banned from the City Chambers
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Green city councillors said the authority should “lead by example” as it looks to improve pedestrian spaces and reduce car use across the capital.
The City Chambers quadrangle is accessed by vehicles and parked in by some council staff and elected members, with Lord Provost Robert Aldridge’s luxury civic cars often seen there waiting to pick him up for engagements.
The council agreed back in 2019 that drivers’ usage of the courtyard should be limited to ‘legitimate and responsible use’ only, however this has never been defined and the situation has largely remained unchanged since.
Four years later, a new motion was passed this week calling for the space to be “fully pedestrianised”. Councillors agreed they should “lead by example” as the local authority encourages citizens to use their cars less, by restricting motor vehicle access to the City Chambers quadrangle “including the Lord Provost’s car or civic cars waiting to collect the Lord Provost or elected members”.
Councillor Kayleigh O’Neill, Greens, argued the council “shouldn’t be given special treatment”. She said: “In a time of climate and economic crisis, this obsession with civic grandeur should be embarrassing for the council. The Provost’s fleet of cars should be treated like other non-essential vehicles coming to the City Chambers.
“The only way to improve accessibility and maintenance of the area is to reduce the amount of vehicles going in and out. Funds would be better placed improving active travel parking and changing facilities for staff instead of spent on number plates that are worth more than some housing in the city.”
Labour transport convener Scott Arthur welcomed the fact there was “increased use of the City Chambers quadrangle for public events” but said this came with increased risk of injuries “due to the number of drivers entering”.
A forthcoming report will consider the steps that could be taken toward pedestrianising the space and as well as improving cycle parking at the City Chambers and surrounding area.