Edinburgh residents living in East London Street call for action on buses disturbing their sleep

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Out-of-service buses use cobbled Edinburgh street when leaving the nearby depot early in the morning and returning late at night

A petition by residents of an Edinburgh street who say their sleep is constantly disturbed by out-of-service buses returning to the nearby depot is to be considered by councillors on Thursday.

People living in East London Street, just round the corner from Lothian Buses’ central depot in Annandale Street, say that they have been pressing for three years for a reduction in the number of buses using their cobbled street, but that despite promises of improvement, they continue to be disturbed by noise and vibration from early in the morning until late at night, disturbing their sleep on a nightly basis and having a detrimental impact on their health and well-being.

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Locals say they have seen more than 300 buses using the street in one day, despite the fact there are no bus stops there. And one resident told the Evening News in June that the problem was so bad he had left his flat to go and live somewhere else for a few months.

Out-of-service buses on East London Street in Edinburgh's New Town. Residents say they are causing noise and disruption for residents all the time.Out-of-service buses on East London Street in Edinburgh's New Town. Residents say they are causing noise and disruption for residents all the time.
Out-of-service buses on East London Street in Edinburgh's New Town. Residents say they are causing noise and disruption for residents all the time.

Now the city council’s transport committee is due to discuss a petition from the residents, calling for an immediate reduction in bus numbers in the street to 2019 levels, particularly between 7pm and 7am; a traffic count to establish the volume an speed of vehicles using East London Street; urgent repairs to the road surface; a longer-term plan to manage traffic on the street; and the replacement of setts with tarmac on the central driving lanes.

The petition says: “The number of vehicles using East London Street, as a result of the diversions required by the Trams and other projects, has resulted in significant damage to the largely setted road surface, adding to noise and vibration levels. Given continuing city centre road construction works and its location just outside the boundary of the new Low Emission Zone, there is concern that the increased traffic on East London Street will not return to the levels experienced prior to its use as a primary diversion for the Trams project. This is of concern to both the residents of East London Street and to the parents of children at St Mary’s RC Primary School.”

The New Town and Broughton Community Council has written, backing the residents’ concerns. It said: “As well as the buses, there has been a significant increase in the volume of other traffic using this street, often seeking to avoid congestion on other roads. This increased traffic has resulted in significant damage to the setted street surface adding to the noise and vibration being experienced by residents.”

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The committee is expected to ask for a report from officials on the matters raised by the residents, particularly the condition of the road and what could be done. London Street, on the other side of the Broughton Street roundabout, already has a tarmac surface on the main running part of the road, with setts retained in the parking areas. But removing setts could prove controversial.

Transport convener Scott Arthur said: "We’re keen to work with local residents to resolve the issue. I acknowledge that the road condition isn't what we'd want it to be.”

Lothian Buses said due to works associated with key transport projects in the city centre, it had been necessary for buses to use East London Street as an alternative route to its main city garage. A spokesperson added: “Following feedback from the community and since the completion of these works, teams across Lothian have worked tirelessly to reroute and reduce the number of buses using this street. As a result the volume of buses currently using East London Street is less than half the number of the buses compared to 2019. Throughout this process, we have engaged regularly with elected members and resident representatives for this area to keep them updated with progress.”