Edinburgh great-grandfather blocks roundabout in Spaces for People protest over Silverknowes Road closure

A 74-year-old great-grandfather staged a solo protest against Edinburgh’s controversial Spaces for People scheme at Silverknowes by using his car to block a roundabout.

Friday, 15th October 2021, 12:30 pm

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Ronnie Scotland is furious at the closure of Silverknowes Road to all traffic except buses and cycles between Silverknowes Parkway and Marine Drive.

He claims it has made other roads busier and more dangerous, not least for pupils going to and from nearby Craigroyston High School.

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Mr Scotland uses his car to block the roundabout at Marine Drive where the bus wants to turn

He parked his car across the road at the roundabout where Silverknowes Road meets Marine Drive, where the buses turn.

He did not have long to wait before a Lothian Buses No 29 arrived and was halted in it tracks.

The bus driver got out and spoke to him and Mr Scotland explained what he was protesting about.

The driver then returned to his cab and appeared to be on the phone to his control room before following the diversion route which all other vehicles have to follow along Marine Drive.

Ronnie Scotland says he is fed up with the council over the road closure

It is understood Lothian Buses began terminating buses at the Silverknowes shops rather than sending them down Silverknowes Road.

About 90 minutes after he began the protest police arrived and asked Mr Scotland to move on and he agreed to do so.

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Mr Scotland, who is a father of four, with three great grandchildren, said: “I’ve run out of patience with the Edinburgh council, who didn’t even consult the local residents before closing the road.

“I really don’t understand why it’s still closed to cars. It has made Silverknowes Parkway such a busy road now with the detour to Marine Drive.

“There are so many, cars, caravans, trailers and vans now using it, I think it’s only a matter of time before someone is killed. It’s so dangerous now. There are a lot of Craigroyston schoolkids having to cross the road and I really worry about a serious accident happening.

“Never mind Spaces For People, we should have Spaces For Everyone, including car drivers.

“What they have done is also making the pollution worse. I can look out of my window and see so much traffic every day. Why they thought creating a 3-mile detour to the waterfront was a good idea is beyond me.

“I’m so angry. I am fed up with the council and felt blocking the road was a way to get my point across about the stupidity of their decision.

“It is not just Silverknowes Road, it is the whole of Edinburgh that is a shambles. Don't these clowncillors realise what they are doing to my beautiful city: road works, bus lanes, cycle lanes, etc.

“If the clowncil wants all cars off the roads why don't they close the A1, A8 and the Queensferry Crossing? Problem solved.”

In a letter dated September 30 to Mr Scotland – though addressed to “Mr Scott” – the council said its Spaces for People scheme included new cycle ways, extended pavements, safety measures outside schools and new spaces for exercise.

“The Silverknowes Road closure is one of the latter spaces for exercise schemes which were introduced in order to enable people to exercise and enjoy the outdoors whilst still observing social distancing guidelines.”

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