Cllr Hinds: Tell us your Transport and Environment priorities

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, has written in the Evening News today (Monday) on spending and saving in Transport and Environment, as part of our budget engagement.

Edinburgh is a major, European city and, quite rightly, attracts millions of people to visit every year. While we are incredibly proud of our flourishing capital, as our population continues to grow, so does the demand for services.

Our priorities are to make sure Edinburgh is clean, green and safe and to keep the city moving by investing in public transport, active travel, and roads and pavements. We need to look at the whole picture when thinking about the future of the city.

Everyone needs to play their part though, and we are grateful to the majority of residents and visitors who help to keep it the beautiful place that it is. But as a Council we must take responsibility by deciding where to invest and where best to make savings on behalf of the tax payer. 

We know how important it is for the public to get from A to B easily and safely, and every year we commit millions to maintaining our roads and pavements. Just last week we approved a report on carriageway and footway investment for the next year, which includes plans to introduce more preventative, cost-effective ways of treating our road surfaces. By cracking down on utility companies we hope to reduce defects caused by regular work too.

However there’s no denying that, as the Council continues to face significant financial pressures, we are forced to make choices when prioritising streets for repair and improvement. 

We also need to balance the needs of all road users and are always looking into ways of encouraging sustainable transport, including continuous investment in walking and cycling projects, as well as public transport. We are striving to create a first class, fully-integrated public transport offering here in Edinburgh, and with users of our excellent Lothian Buses and Edinburgh Tram services continuing to increase, we are well on our way. 

By reassessing parking in the city centre we want to benefit different road users, ensuring residents and visitors are able to find adequate parking at the same time as minimising congestion. Income from parking enforcement has a major impact on our transport spending and each year is put back into infrastructure like pothole repairs and cycling improvements.

In terms of our environment, we’re making great strides in reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill year on year, saving the city thousands in landfill tax. The roll-out of our new recycling service has had an incredible impact on this, and with similar pilots for tenements in process, I can only see figures improving as we move forward.

Our staff work tirelessly to keep our streets and parks clean and tidy too, but it’s also down to the public to help us, and I would encourage people to really think before they drop or dump rubbish.

These are just some of the things that we do to try to keep Edinburgh at its best, but we want to know where you think we should be directing our resources. We want to hear from as many residents as possible on the budget proposals and how we should deliver services in the future. 

It’s your city, have your say at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/budget.

This opinion piece was originally published in the Edinburgh Evening News on Monday, 2 November.

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