Edinburgh Council "led on a merry dance" by Scottish Government after road safety funding cuts

4 May 2023

Liberal Democrat councillors have slammed the Scottish Government for leading Edinburgh Council "on a merry dance" after withdrawing promised new funding for critical road safety projects.

In August 2022, a council officer report confirmed Edinburgh Council had been invited by the Scottish Government to make a bid of over £830,000 from a new national 'road safety improvement fund'.

The new money sought would have been prioritised for delivering new pedestrians crossings across Edinburgh, given the backlog of almost 90 new crossings to be installed. The officer report confirmed the current programme means it could take until 2031 to clear this backlog.

Council officers have now confirmed to the Liberal Democrat group that, after initially reducing the amount available and requiring a new lower bid, the Scottish Government withdrew all the money from the road safety fund for 2022/23 altogether.

Liberal Democrat group leader, Kevin Lang raised the issue at today's meeting of the Council. He said,

"Right across Edinburgh, we see horrendous delays in the delivery of critical road safety projects. When a new pedestrian crossing is agreed, it can take up to seven years to get it installed and operating, all because of a lack of funding. This simply is not good enough.

"This is why there was a broad welcome when the Scottish Government announced its new road safety improvement fund and actively encouraged Edinburgh Council last year to make a bid of over £800,000. This new money could have made a big difference to getting new crossings and other road safety projects in place.

"It's a disagrace that, after reducing the money on offer, the Scottish Government then scrapped all the funding in the first financial year. Ministers have led the council on a merry dance, wasting valuable officer time and betraying those who were relying on this money to finally get local road safety improvements in their communities.

"The Scottish Government needs to put its money where its mouth is and give Edinburgh Council the money promised to make our roads safer."

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