Call for Edinburgh's transport convener to 'consider her position'

Transport convener Lesley Macinnes has been urged to "consider her position" over the handling of the row about plans to introduce Scotland's first Low Traffic Neighbourhood in East Craigs.
Lesley Macinnes addressed a hostile open-air meeting attended by up to 1,000 peopleLesley Macinnes addressed a hostile open-air meeting attended by up to 1,000 people
Lesley Macinnes addressed a hostile open-air meeting attended by up to 1,000 people

Lib Dem councillor Kevin Lang said the saga over the controversial traffic measures, which include road closures and junction changes intended to prevent rat-running, had been a shambles from start to finish.

Residents have complained about a lack of consultation on the proposals; an open-air public meeting attracted up to 1,000 people; all the ward councillors have called for a pause to allow full discussion with local people; and the council has been forced to take legal advice on whether it has exceeded the emergency powers to make roads safer during the Covid crisis.

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The scheme may now have to be drastically redrawn or scrapped altogether after lawyers said it was “vulnerable to successful legal challenge”.

Councillor Lang said: “The handling of the East Craigs LTN scheme has been a shambles from start to finish. It was bad enough that such unpopular proposals were being forced upon people without any proper consultation. Now there are major doubts as to whether the planned implementation of the scheme is even lawful.

“This whole sorry saga calls into serious question the judgement of the transport convener who chose to champion this unpopular scheme from day one. At the very least, she needs to withdraw her plans and apologise to people in East Craigs and North Gyle. However, given the disastrous handling of this whole issue, a process which risks the council being taken to court, I think Cllr Macinnes needs to consider her position and decide whether it is really tenable for her to continue as transport convener”.

Cllr Macinnes, who is hoping to become SNP candidate for Edinburgh Southern in next year’s Holyrood elections, has been transport convener since the last council elections in 2017.

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She dismissed the call for her to consider her position. She said: “My focus is on delivering solutions across the city for the people who live here, not allowing myself to be distracted by Lib Dem posturing on issues like this which are far too important for everyone. The measures being proposed in East Craigs and elsewhere are about safeguarding the population, not about petty party politics.

"The council has been listening to the community across the city around the implementation of many of the Spaces for People schemes, including residents in East Craigs. There is a far more balanced picture emerging from that community around the possibilities of an LTC than Cllr Lang appears to recognise. We’re pursuing a proper programme of discussion with people in the area to ensure whatever emerges through the democratic committee process is the right solution for that area and the city as a whole.”

Meanwhile, a new poll claims there is strong support for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. Polling by YouGov for Greenpeace UK quizzed 2,027 British adults over the views on transport in their local area. It found the majority of people – 57 per cent – supported LTNs, while 16 per cent opposed them.

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