Green position on trams from August 2011 Council meeting

Green councillors expressed disappointment that Labour and Tory councillors have combined to leave Edinburgh with a tram line that will run only from the Airport to Haymarket.

The Greens put forward an amendment at today’s Council meeting seeking greater clarity and certainty about the costs and risks associated with a line that ran through the city centre to St. Andrew’s Square which the party still feels is the best way forward for the mis-managed project.  However, with the SNP group abstaining and the Tories switching their view, the current Council position is now that the line should go only as far as Haymarket.

Green Group Co-ordinator, Steve Burgess said:

“There is no easy solution for this beleaguered project.  But the Haymarket option which has emerged today is being presented as low risk and with greater certainty, despite real concerns about its financial viability.  It may be cheaper to build for now but because it won’t go through the city centre it will be loss-making, requiring a subsidy of about £6 million from the Council’s budget to operate it.  Also the tram which misses the city centre won’t help reduce congestion and pollution there, which is currently breaking European safety limits.

“We’ll now have to see what the reaction of the contractors is. If they decide to walk away we could be left trying to find £161 million by next March to pay them off. I have a feeling that there are more twists and turns ahead of us.”