National Alliance Against Tolls - Edinburgh after the 2005 Toll Poll result

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Reactions on BBC web site (there are 2 pages of views)

Some other reactions

Mike Brunsdon a communication engineer from the Fairmilehead district:
"This was a ludicrous scheme and the result is a victory for common sense."

Tina Woolnough from Edinburgh Communities Against the Congestion Charge:
"We thank all the individuals across a vast network of community groups who have supported us.
The challenge that lies ahead for the people of Edinburgh is to show that they don't need the stick of tolls or congestion charges.
We are setting up an Edinburgh Traffic Forum and will be working with other groups in the community to see how traffic problems can be reduced. We have many ideas, including free public transport for children."

Councillor Allan Jackson, Tory Transport spokesman:
"This result is no surprise at all. The Labour Party have been planning this for years. They have had to weave and bend and make various concessions and ultimately had to promise a referendum in order to keep control of the council.
Tolls would have been a disaster for the city. This result is excellent news for the people and businesses of Edinburgh."

Thom McCarthy of the No Campaign Independent Retailers:
"We hope that the idea of tolls will now be stone dead and that the threat to city centre trade is lifted.
Credit should go to the Scottish Parliament for forcing the City of Edinburgh Council to demonstrate whether there was support from the people for tolls."

Toby Sigouin, a local businessman:
"In the past 10 years the policy of the council in closing and narrowing roads has largely created the congestion problem.
I am pleased that the people of Edinburgh have seen through the spin and realised that road tolls are not the answer.
The council should now review it's policies and remove road closures and bottlenecks to improve traffic flow."

John McGoldrick of the NAAT:
"A vast effort went into persuading the people of Edinburgh to say yes. Despite this the people recognised that tolls would be unfair and ineffective, and a great deal of money is wasted in their collection.
If there was a referendum anywhere in Britain on this issue you would get a similar result and it is about time the politicians listened to the voice of the people and scrapped all tolls and plans for tolls."

Other brief ones:

The congestion charge was really another tax, but the money would have been wasted on cost of cameras, call centres and solicitors.

Businesses are relieved that the city centre will not be surrounded with No Entry signs.

The charge would have made things worse in the "doughnut" between the cordons where most of us live.

Drivers might have wasted more time paying the charge and arguing over penalties than any time they saved on journies.

The millions that the council wasted on this should have been spent on removing the road bottlenecks that they created themselves and by reducing car use through schemes like car sharing.

Many of us feel that this was a 2 stage plan. Stage One - create congestion by reducing road space though closures and narrowing of roads and junctions. Stage 2 - "congestion" charges.

We hope that this will be the end of this hare brained adventure by the council. They should now consult with all the people.

What Now?

Different people will have different ideas.
Many people think that the city council created the congestion , so they should know how to remove it!

Improvements for one group (pedestrians or cyclists or motor vehicles) might well be to the disadvantage of the other groups.
A sensible balance must be struck that takes into account all views and experience elsewhere, rather than following any dogma.
But here are some ideas:-

  • Improved public transport, particularly along the main arterial roads, and orbital routes. This might be buses or trains, or even trams! But it should be whatever is most cost effective.

  • Removing road obstructions, reopening closed roads and widening roads at junctions to accommodate turning vehicles.

  • Encouragimg adults and children to make more journeys wholly or partly on foot or cycle, and making sure that it is safe for them to do so.

  • Car sharing schemes organised by Edinburgh and surrounding councils.

  • Removing bus lanes, and giving buses priority in some other way.

  • Creating park and ride schemes at appropriate locations, both on the outskirts of (or even outside) the city and closer to the city centre.

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