Edinburgh SUV ban could be ‘complex’ and ‘messy’

Friday April 19th 2024


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Donald Turvill

Attempting to ban SUVs from parts of Edinburgh could become “complex” and “messy,” council transport chiefs have said.

It comes after councillors backed a call to consider introducing restrictions on larger cars, with one claiming some army tanks have better visibility than “gas-guzzling” SUVs as a motion was passed last year.

City transport convener Councillor Scott Arthur said he was “broadly supportive” of the move as a lot of people, particularly in the city centre, felt “intimidated by larger vehicles moving around.”

He said research showed both pedestrians and drivers were “much more likely” to be injured if an accident involves a larger vehicle.

However he said powers available “are limited” and introducing weight restrictions on streets could be potentially “messy.”

Officials said one possible route could be to revise parking permit fees to “reflect a combination of available information such as by emissions, weight, size or class vehicle type” but warned: “Such an approach could become complex, and this form of charging regime would only have an influence on vehicle use or ownership if the owner required or held a parking permit.”

Taking a similar approach to on-street parking would require an upgrade of ticketing machines, a report stated, which could “allow the council to revise parking charges to try and influence vehicle types using certain parking areas”.

The report said using environmental orders – typically used to prevent large vans and lorries from entering town centres or locations where road structures have a particular weight capacity – to restrict or discourage SUVs from certain areas would prove “almost impossible to understand and enforce for private cars.”

It added: “These mechanisms are available to the council but would require detailed analysis to consider an appropriate policy, an enforcement regime and the justification of the legal order.”

‘Do you really need a massive vehicle?’

Speaking ahead of a discussion on the matter at the transport committee on Thursday April 25th, Councillor Arthur said:

“Something that’s going through my head is should we be issuing permits to very large vehicles at all?

“Perhaps legally we have to. But I do wonder if you live in the city centre, do you really need a massive vehicle?

“I think it’s right we come together as a committee, and talk through these issues.”

He added any changes would be subject to final approval at next year’s budget meeting.

“Even if we were to go for a cost neutral change, so we just mess around with the [parking permit] bands but there’s no extra or less income raised, it still has to be approved via the budget process because that’s when all the tariffs are set,” he explained.

The transport convener said a review of the current parking permit pricing structure would also allow the council to look at putting an end to including electric vehicles in the lowest band “to discourage people swapping big diesel and petrol cars for big electric cars.”

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