Plans to bring more traffic onto county roads criticised

Plans to encourage more cars onto county roads have been criticised by the East Lothian Greens.

New tourist driving routes are being promoted by Visit East Lothian and East Lothian Council in a bid to attract more cars to the county.

Shona McIntosh, Scottish Greens Councillor for Musselburgh, will be writing to Council officials asking for an urgent explanation as to why this promotion was planned despite the Council's own commitments to tackle climate change.

Shona commented:

I am astonished to see this new initiative launched despite the fact that East Lothian Council declared a climate emergency two years ago. 

Our roads are over-crowded, our emissions from car travel are increasing, and we have a Scottish Government target to reduce car kilometers by 20% by 2030. 

How on earth can it be justified to launch a tourist strategy to encourage driving as a pastime in itself? This is a real missed opportunity to develop active and public travel routes for ‘slow tourism’ that would have helped us boost our local businesses and meet our carbon reduction targets instead of imperilling them.

While CO2 emissions from road transport on A roads have fallen by 16% from 2005-2019 in East Lothian, emissions from road transport on minor roads increased by 26% in the same period. To meet its climate targets, East Lothian Council must ensure that road transport emissions continue to fall, across the county, on all roads. 

The East Lothian Greens manifesto included proposals to create a new "beach bus" service and tourist-friendly public transport and active travel routes to encourage visitors and enable low-cost days out for residents. East Lothian Greens have also called for the Council’s carbon neutrality target to be brought forward by ten years, to 2035.

Jacq Cottrell, East Lothian Greens spokesperson for North Berwick Coastal, added:

The Council should be supporting people in their efforts to reduce car use and giving them the information they need to use alternative transport modes, not encouraging car use in a region which is already congested at the weekends and during summer months. 

We urge the Council to publish an alternative guide which supports residents, day trippers and holidaymakers to explore East Lothian while walking, wheeling, cycling and using public transport.

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