Edinburgh's Low Emission Zone is due to come into force on June 1, 2024. Vehicles which fail to meet emission standards will not be allowed to enter the 1.2 square mile area of the city centre bounded by Queen Street in the New Town, Melville Drive on the other side of the Meadows, Palmerston Place at the west end Abbeyhill in the east.As a rough guide, the ban affects petrol vehicles registered before 2006 and diesel ones registered before September 2015 - but it does depend on the make and model, so it's worth typing your registration number into the vehicle checker at www.lowemissionzones.scot/vehicle-registration-checker.HGVs, buses, coaches, taxis and private hire vehicles which do not meet Euro 6 emission standards will also be banned. Motorcycles and mopeds are not affected.Fines for banned vehicles entering the zone are set at £60, but that is halved if the fine is paid within 30 days. However, repeat offences see the penalty double each time, up to a maximum of £480 for cars and vans and £960 for HGVs.Glasgow's LEZ, which has already come into effect, is being challenged in the courts and any ruling on that could affect whether or how Edinburgh's scheme is implemented. (Photo: Edinburgh city council)
trams to cycle lanes to road closures, travel within Edinburgh has seen dramatic changes over the past decade – and there’s more to come. Controlled Parking Zones are gradually being rolled out across many parts of the city, Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are being piloted in others, and the Low Emission Zone, designed to improve air quality by removing the worst-polluting vehicles from the centre of the city, will come into effect next summer.
But there could also be a
Workplace Parking Levy, more trams and perhaps even the return of a cycle hire scheme. So just what is planned and where is everything up to? Here are 17 projects you can look forward to – or not. The council is due to start a consultation within the next few weeks on whether Edinburgh should introduce a Workplace Parking Levy - a charge on companies and organisations for the parking spaces they provide for employees. It would be up to employers to decide whether they pass on the charge to their staff. No decision has been taken about the area to be covered, the level of the charge or what exemptions should apply. But the levy is expected to be at least £650 a year - the price of the cheapest annual bus pass - which could bring in up to £13 million a year to be spent on transport projects. Concerns remain over a big increase in parking in residential streets close to affected workplaces and what it would mean for staff who have no choice but to drive to work. (Photo: Lisa Ferguson) Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) are being rolled out across many parts of the city following a strategic review of parking across the whole city. Where a CPZ is introduced, residents must pay for a permit to park near their homes, while others must pay-and-display. The new CPZs are being introduced in four phases. Under phase one, two zones came into force in Leith in June and one in Abbeyhill in September, with a zone in Gorgie due to go-live on October 23 and a date yet to be fixed for Shandon.Phase two, which includes Easter Road, West Leith, Bonnington, Willowbrae and the A8 corridor, is currently on hold and being monitored after local opposition persuaded councillors to delay it. The council says the traffic order for phases three, including Fettes and Prestonfield, and phase four, including Newhaven, Trinity and Portobello, will be advertised in the New Year. Pilot Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) have been introduced in Corstorphine and Leith, with road closures, restricted access and wider pavements. The idea is to reduce traffic in residential streets, increase safety and improve air quality, with better routes for walking and cycling. Plans for an LTN in East Craigs were dropped after huge local opposition and the current schemes have been rebranded "Leith Connections" and "Corstorphine Connections".But there has been some fierce opposition to the measures, including vandalism of a camera monitoring the "bus gate" at Manse Road in Corstorphine.Reports will go to the transport committee after six months of each scheme and councillors will decide whether to scrap, continue or amend them. The first 20mph zones in residential streets in Edinburgh were introduced between 2016 and 2018. Now the council is planning to extend the 20mph speed cap to more streets, particularly ones with higher density housing such as flats or terraced properties, or groups of shops, and places where a lot people are walking or cycling, for example near a hospital or university campus. It includes parts of Ferry Road, Corstorphine Road, London Road, Colinton Road and Lanark Road West.At the same time, the council plans to cut the normal speed limit on two-lane rural roads from 60mph to 40mph, with a 30mph limit on most minor country lanes and 20mph limits through rural hamlets. (Photo: Greg Macvean) It has been talked about for years, but plans for the pedestrianisation of George Street are now well advanced and due to come into force in 2025. Almost all motor traffic will be banned between 10am and 7pm, with only "permitted" vehicles such as delivery vans and black cabs allowed to enter between 7pm and 10am. The £36 million project will see the current parking down the centre of the street removed, buses rerouted away from George Street, the pavement widened and the carriageway become a "cycle street". And for the first time in its history, George Street will have trees - eight at each end - to help combat the effects of climate change. (Photo: Edinburgh city council) Plans to turn Lothian Road into a tree-lined boulevard were first published in 2019 as part of Edinburgh's City Centre Transformation scheme. Changes will include widened pavements, segregated cycle lanes and major safety improvements at the Tollcross crossroads, which was identified as the city's second most dangerous junction. But work on the project is not due to get under way until 2028. (Photo: Edinburgh city council) The plans for the Meadows to George Street active travel route include a "bus gate" on North Bank Street at the top of the Mound, which will stop other vehicles using this through route between the north and south of the city. Construction is due to start next year on the scheme, which will see segregated cycleways, wider pavements and pedestrian priority areas along the route, which takes in Teviot Place, Forrest Road, George IV Bridge, the Mound and Hanover Street, where it will connect with the George Street scheme. The council says it will create a safer, more relaxing space for walking, wheeling, cycling and spending time in. (Photo: Scott Louden) A full upgrade of the dangerous Dalmahoy junction on the A71 on the outskirts of Edinburgh was finally approved last year after more than 35 years of campaigning by local residents. There have been several serious accidents at the junction, which includes the entrance to the Dalmahoy hotel and country club, and in 2015 a council report said a fully-signalised junction was the only practical solution,. But in 2021 the council opted for a reduced scheme involving just a pedestrian crossing and a lower speed limit. That was reversed in December 2022 when a full upgrade with traffic lights and pedestrian crossing costed at £1.55 million got the go-ahead. The council is still in negotiation with several landowners over land in needs to acquire to carry out the scheme. The scheme to install traffic lights and a pedestrian crossing has been costed at £1.55 million. (Photo: Ian Rutherford) Safety improvements are being made to the junction of Portobello High Street, Inchview Terrace and Sir Harry Lauder Road after two cyclists died in accidents in 2019 and 2020.Temporary measures, including a ban on lorries turning left, were put in place in 2022, but work is under way to design a more long-term revamp, which will include a segregated cycle route between Portobello High Street and Inchview Terrace and a single-stage controlled crossing across Sir Harry Lauder Road. (Photo: Google) Some of the Spaces for People schemes brought in during Covid to make it easier for people to walk and cycle have been scrapped, while others were retained and -are now being made permanent, using Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs). But four of the most controversial - Braid Road and the Greenbank to Meadows Quiet Route, Comiston Road and Silverknowes Roads North and South - have been taken out of the process and are being treated separately. Further discussions with residents will take place and councillors are due consider any changes in February next year. Edinburgh's original Just Eat cycle hire scheme folded in September 2021 after problems with thefts and vandalism led to operators Serco not renewing the contract. But now, as the Evening News revealed this weekend, two electric bike hire companies have expressed interest in launching a new hire scheme on a concession arrangement, which would mean no subsidy is required from the council. Lime and Dott both operate elsewhere in the UK and abroad and are due to have talks with council chiefs. Any plans for a relaunch of a bike hire scheme would have to be put out to tender, but senior councillors are optimistic that bike hire could soon be back in the Capital. (Photo: Greg Macvean) Trams started running from the city centre to Newhaven in June, completing the originally planned line from the airport. But plans are already being drawn up for further extensions, starting with a route from Granton through the city centre to the Royal Infirmary and onto Dalkeith. A consultation should start soon on the detailed route, including the possibility of using Orchard Brae and Dean Bridge. The Scottish Government's national transport blueprint published earlier this year also showed a line to Sherrifhall park and ride and Newcraighall. But the council has shelved plans for a line from the airport to Newbridge - part of the original scheme - in favour of a potential alternative route along the A71 corridor which could serve Heriot-Watt University. The inclusion of trams in the government's blueprint is seen as an indication that funding will be provided for at least some of the expansion plans. (Photo: Scott Louden) It was 2017 when the city council revealed that Edinburgh's 120-year-old North Bridge linking the Old and New Towns needed repairs estimated at £12 million after rusting metal and cracks in concrete were discovered during a routine inspection. Work started the following year, but the condition of the A-listed structure was found to be worse than expected and costs have soared to £36m. The bridge was closed to northbound traffic for 18 months until earlier this year and the pavement on the east side has been closed throughout. The project is now due for completion in spring 2025. (Photo: Ian Swanson) The West Edinburgh Link will be a cycling and walking route connecting the South Gyle and Edinburgh Park business parks with surrounding communities to the north and south. The idea is to provide people with better links to workplaces, school, college and shops. There will be segregated cycleways, traffic calming, improved footpaths and new road crossings to replace underpasses. The area covered includes Glasgow Road, South Gyle, Bankhead, Sighthill, Wester Hailes and Clovenstone. The first parts of the scheme are scheduled for 2023/24. (Photo: Edinburgh city council) The cycle route known as the City Centre West to East Link (CCWEL) will connect Roseburn to Leith Walk and is due to open in spring 2024. The council says it will provide a safe and direct cycle route through the city centre and create healthier, friendlier and more accessible places for cycling, walking, wheeling as well as improving public spaces on some of Edinburgh's busiest streets.It caused a lot of controversy during the construction of the section at Roseburn, where shops said their business had dropped dramatically thanks to all the roadworks and barriers. There were similar complaints when the project reached Haymarket Terrace (pictured). Randolph Place is the latest part of the route to be worked on, with complex drainage work about to get under way. Improving the journey times and reliability of buses is a key part of Edinburgh's transport strategy. But at the moment buses can too often get stuck in traffic. The council has already announced initiatives like putting parking enforcers on board buses to target irresponsible motorists who cause delays by parking in bus lanes. Now it plans to make use of the latest technology to give bus drivers the ability to change traffic lights as they approach, ensuring buses have priority through key busy junctions and helping them to reach their destination on time. (Photo: Susan Burrell)