Scotland’s capital celebrated its Summer Summit on Clean Air Day, 21 June 2018. To mark the event, some of the roads in the city centre were closed during the two-day event, including some main streets such as the Mound, Hanover Street and George Street. The City Council used the occasion to announce that it is considering road closures for vehicle-free days on a more regular basis to tackle the high emission load in the city centre. These plans are not only fitting to the capitals efforts for better air quality but as well to the Central Edinburgh Transformation project which aims to give more space to pedestrians and active travel.
Councillor Lesley Macinnes said that “The aim of today’s summit is to demonstrate that Edinburgh can be a city that puts people and public spaces first and does not need to be dominated by vehicles. As we have seen in other European capitals such as Oslo, Copenhagen and Amsterdam, active travel and car-free city centre streets improve the quality of the air that we breathe, the safety of the streets, and encourage people to use and enjoy the public realm more freely.”
The City Council now seeks to work with residents and businesses on regular vehicle-free days to present Edinburgh in a different light shifting the perspective to a more people-oriented city. The council will already now make use of data collected from coming open street events on air quality, congestion and travel behaviour to base future activities on these.
The idea of “vehicle-free” days fits well together with the plans for the Low Emission Zone of Edinburgh to be introduced in 2020. Recent plans for the zone tell that the Council is working on a mixed approach based on options from geographical limits and vehicles types.
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Story first published by “airqualitynews.com” on 25 June 2018.