car_1Edinburgh’s Green councillors have hit out at a £47,000 campaign to offer free city centre parking this winter as unfair, ineffective and inconsistent with the current and future needs of the city.

Green transport spokesperson Councillor Nigel Bagshaw said:-“I am astonished that the Council is continuing with this costly initiative which last year’s evaluation showed to have hardly any added value.  It benefits only a small number of people.  Yet it will add to congestion and air pollution in an already crammed city centre

“The money would be far better going on cheaper bus travel, for that large minority of people who do not have a car or who choose not to bring it into the city centre.”

The council is planning to waive parking charges after 5:00pm on many city centre streets around Christmas time.

They already tried this last year when it was hailed a great success by shoppers and traders alike and now they are to continue their Alive after Five campaign again this year.

From 2 December till 28 December parking charges will not be enforced after 5:00pm in George Street and other city centre streets

Free parking is only one part of the Alive after Five scheme but is clearly a central part. Essential Edinburgh said that most importantly it was important to encourage the traders in the city centre to stay open later.

Streets in the West End, Broughton Street and Leith will also be included in the plans.

The Council state that the cost will be £47,000 in the report produced for next week’s Transport Committee meeting.

“It is anticipated that the loss of revenue from the public parking scheme as a result of this campaign will be approximately £47,000, £30,000 for the city centre, £13,500 for the west end and £3,500 for the east end.

A cost sharing exercise has been agreed in principal between the City of Edinburgh Council, Essential Edinburgh and Marketing Edinburgh.

Essential Edinburgh and Marketing Edinburgh will contribute £15,000. A further £15,000 is available from Economic Development. The remaining cost of £17,000 will be contained within the existing Parking budget.”