Edinburgh Council’s transport convener explains how the city’s budget will be spent.
“There’s no doubt the state of the city’s roads and the timeliness of bin collections are amongst the issues closest to residents’ hearts – something I’ve become keenly aware of during my time as Transport and Environment Convener.
Our budget setting is about balancing these needs with ever-increasing demand for services across the council. By listening to residents throughout the process, I’m confident we can achieve this.
For a start, keeping the city’s transport network in a safe and usable condition is an obvious priority. To this end, we’ve secured almost £1 million in additional funding to invest in roads and pavements to maintain and enhance the public realm for everyone.
We know there’s nothing more frustrating than a road, cycle lane or pavement with cracks or potholes. We will continue to address these issues in this year’s budget, building on our new, preventative approach to repairs, which has already resulted in a reduction to the backlog.
As car ownership continues to fall in Edinburgh, cycling, pedestrian and public transport provision remains central to our vision for the future. The transformation of the city centre, which pulls together key projects such as the redevelopment of Picardy Place and George Street’s redesign, will put cycling and walking at the heart of the Capital, developing and connecting key areas to create a welcoming, vibrant place to spend time in.
Creating a welcoming atmosphere and a high quality of life for residents is also about addressing the cleanliness of our city. Edinburgh is time and again recognised for its beauty, but streets blighted with litter, fly-tipping and dog dirt are unacceptable. This year we’re spending an extra £1m to keep every ward clean for all those who live, visit and work here, while the redesign of our communal bin service, made possible by an additional £2.5m, aims to cut down on missed collections, fly-tipping and unsightly overflowing bins.
Setting the budget is about making savings too, allowing us to protect essential services. One such proposal to charge £25 a year for garden waste collection will return £1.25m. Understandably, there will be concern around this change, but by working closely with communities, offering exemptions to those who need it, we look forward to delivering a new and improved service.
Deciding where to spend our budget in the face of increasing financial demand is never easy. But through very careful consideration, I believe we have reached a solution which serves the citizens of Edinburgh, maintaining quality of life and our status as a world-class capital city.”