Environmental campaigners have urged Edinburgh residents to support extension to bus lanes operating hours, as the Council consults on the move. Friends of the Earth Scotland say that expanding Edinburgh’s bus lanes is key to improving air quality, and reducing climate emissions.

City of Edinburgh Council has proposed changing the operating hours of bus lanes, from peak time on weekdays, to 7am to 7pm seven days a week. This largely reverses a decision made by the council in 2015 to restrict the operating hours.

Campaigners says the further prioritisation of public transport would be in line with recent Council commitments to reach net zero climate emissions by 2030 and the Council’s City Centre Transformation project which aims to reduce traffic and create a city centre built for people, not cars.

Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Air Pollution Campaigner Gavin Thomson commented:

“The proposed expansion of bus lane operating hours would be a great step forward for Edinburgh, as the city tries to leave behind a car dominated transport system which is killing the planet and choking our lungs. It could end the frustrations of bus users who see their journey congested and slowed up by lines of cars with only one person in each.”

“The expansion to 7-7-7, from 7am to 7pm seven days a week, is a clear statement that public transport needs to be prioritised in Edinburgh. The operating hours for Edinburgh’s lanes should never have been restricted to peak times, so it is good to see that backwards step being corrected. I hope everyone in Edinburgh who wants to live and work in a safer, healthier city will support this move.

“We need to see these moves supported at the Scottish Government level. Bus lanes in cities also need to connect to bus lanes on motorways, to ensure inter-city bus travel is a cheaper, easier option. Given the climate emergency, we need national government and councils to move quickly in establishing the priority of public transport, walking, and cycling”.


Notes to Editors

The Bus Lane Operational Hours Consultation closes on Friday 22nd November: https://consultationhub.edinburgh.gov.uk/sfc/bus-lane-operational-hours/

Edinburgh currently has 6 Council designated air pollution zones, where air quality standards are not met. In addition, Friends of the Earth Scotland revealed four locations across the city with illegal pollution levels in 2018. https://foe.scot/press-release/scotlands-most-polluted-streets-2018/

In June 2015, City of Edinburgh Council changed most bus lanes from all-day operation to just at peak times on weekdays. https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/traffic-and-travel/bus-lane-restrictions-be-relaxed-capital-612309

Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.