Lothian MSP Miles Briggs says he is disappointed that the project to transform the Powderhall Railway path into a green corridor has been delayed due to the Spaces for People initiative.

In a letter to Mr Briggs, from The City of Edinburgh Council, the Active Travel Department said that “Progress on this has been delayed by the need to re-allocate staff resources to develop and deliver temporary Spaces for People (SfP) schemes”.

The feasibility study into transitioning the disused railway line into a green corridor is due later this summer, with Network Rail amenable to the “repurposing of the Powderhall spur line into high-quality urban green corridor for people to walk, cycle and wheel on”.

Network Rail have said the railway line is still classed as operational railway, because the track that leads there is still connected to the wider rail network.

Lothian MSP, Miles Briggs, said:“I am pleased that talks with Network Rail are going well and they are open to transforming the Powderhall spur line into a high quality green corridor.

“It is disappointing that the project team looking at the Green Corridor transformation has been delayed due to working on Spaces for People schemes.

“This is a great opportunity to create a safe green space to connect Powerhall to Meadowbank and beyond.

“The new Powderhall Green Corridor will be excellent for people to walk, cycle and wheel on, as well as fitting in with Edinburgh’s Active Travel strategy.”

The Edinburgh Reporter asked Transport Convener, Cllr Lesley Macinnes about the matter. Cllr Macinnes said: “We’re still at the early stages of exploring the possibility of delivering an active travel corridor here, including engaging with Network Rail about land acquisition and undertaking a feasibility study for the project.

“Like many schemes around the city, Covid has impacted progress here. Over the last year we’ve had to respond to an emergency situation and transport teams have been required to support the introduction of measures to provide much-needed space for physical distancing on our streets – something both the Scottish and UK Governments have encouraged local authorities to do.”

Transport and Environment Vice-Convener Cllr Karen Doran added: “Work on the Spaces for People programme in no way detracts from our aspirations to significantly improve walking and cycling infrastructure across the capital, with work continuing on many permanent schemes around the city.”