April 2012

Edinburgh party election manifestos

[Updated 1 May] With most manifestos for the May 3 Council elections in Edinburgh now published in whole or in part, we reproduce the sections most relevant to cycling issues in the city…

For links to the complete manifestos see our March 30th election article.  That article also includes links to party websites, lists of candidates, hustings, candidates who are Spokes members, details of the voting system, and more background information and links.

NB – Much of the information in this article is also in our Spokesworker 16.4.12  Election Special issue [pdf 161k].

We do not have details of manifestos for parties in the elections to Lothians Councils – but in those smaller councils parties often do not issue a manifesto, only the standard election leaflets about individual candidates.  If anyone knows of Lothians manifestos, we would be happy to include them.

We now list the most relevant extracts from party manifestos for the Edinburgh Council elections.    The listing below is in order of the current size of the party groups on Edinburgh Council.

There is also a brief Spokes commentary on the manifestos at the end of this article.


Over £70 million has been spent on road and pavement repairs in the last 4 years, moving us from 2nd worst in Scotland to 11th best for repairs; roads needing repair have dropped from 50% to 31%; a Quality Cycle Corridor is being introduced, Kings Buildings to George Square; Edinburgh’s first 20mph limit in south Edinburgh brought in; local road safety measures introduced across the city; and cycle use increased 15% year on year.    An accessible, effective public transport system with walking and cycling encouragement contributes to our well-being.

We will:
• commit to reducing the percentage of roads and pavements in need of repair over the next five years.
• use the extra £3m in the 2012-13 budget to fix over a third of the city’s potholes with our award-winning “Right First Time” scheme, using materials and processes to make more permanent repairs. Over the next four years, we will invest additional funds to ensure that all potholes are fixed permanently wherever possible.
• building on our investment in cycling, the highest in Scotland, and our road safety measures such as mobile speed signs and 20mph zones, increase the percentage of transport spend allocated to cycling to a minimum of 5% in 2012/13 and increase by 1% annually.
• accelerate the Active Travel Action Plan, improve maintenance of the existing cycle network, target safety issues and reaffirm our commitment to the goals set out in the Charter of Brussels.
• roll out cycle training to all P6 children in Edinburgh schools.
• work with NHS, education, voluntary and private sectors to promote cycling to work or study.
• introduce more 20mph limits for areas where there is support from local residents.
• Streets Ahead Plus scheme that will use trained local volunteers to identify potential road safety problems (speeding, hazardous parking at schools, misuse of cycling and pedestrian areas) to be addressed by targeting those responsible and raising awareness.
• trial carrying bikes on trams within the first six months service.
• start to deliver Jan Gehl’s recommendations for the city centre, creating new welcoming spaces for residents and visitors; and report on potential temporary traffic schemes by the end of 2012, and on permanent schemes by the middle of 2015.

The LibDems also sent us a LD cycling manifesto [pdf 47K] which does not contain additional commitments but gives background to the main cycling commitments of their full manifesto.  As an appendix to that they also supplied the intended 2012/13 projects [doc 39K] from the much-increased budget.


We will set up a city-wide Transport Forum of experts and citizens to think through our modern transport needs.  It’s a complex challenge.

We’ll pay attention to the everyday things..

• bringing roads and pavements to a good standard especially in busy areas
• controlling the work standards of the utilities who dig up our roads
• extending 20mph limits to all residential and shopping areas
• encouraging more walking and more cycling by spending a minimum of 5% of our transport budget on them and increasing that share year by year.


The SNP will continue to support the current allocation of 5% of the transport budget to cycling and will look to increase that level whenever we can.
We will continue to develop safer routes for cyclists to increase the 7.5% of journeys to work being made by bicycle throughout the city and help to prevent serious injuries or fatalities amongst cyclists.
We support innovative ideas such as bicycle leasing and schemes such as the Quality Bike Corridor between King’s Buildings and the city centre and the “Family Network” cycle route between Leith Links and Portobello promenade. We also recognise the need for greater connectivity between existing cycle routes.
We will roll out a programme of cycling training for schoolchildren to help make them safer on our roads, funding it from the 5% transport budget allocation for cycling.   This will be complemented by a programme to raise driver awareness of cyclists.
• Road safety will continue to be a priority and we will consult on extending 20mph zones to protect all road users, especially the most vulnerable: children, pedestrians and cyclists.
• We will continue to support the appointment of School Travel Coordinators and strive to reduce congestion around school gates. We also aim to provide “Safer Routes” to schools, tram stops and railway stations for children and other pedestrians.


We will seek to deliver:

• More cycling in the city both for getting to work and for leisure and, in particular, improved cross-city routes.
• The renewal and maintenance of the city’s road and pavement infrastructure. We need to make sure our pavements are safe to walk on and potholes are fixed quickly and done correctly first time.


Greens are committed to active and public transport and believe the needs of the 40% of households without cars should have greater consideration.  We want a step change in street design so that all users – pedestrians, drivers and cyclists – feel confident to use them safely.

Green councillors have campaigned for improved cycle-safety measures and secured improvements such as freeing up the cycle lanes on the Mound and pushing for 20mph zones.

We will work towards ensuring that Edinburgh is accessible for all its citizens by:

• Appointing a Travel Advice Officer to advise workplaces on sustainable travel.
• Bringing together all partners to strengthen the City’s Road Safety and Active Travel Action Plans, to make our streets safer and more suitable for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists, including partial pedestrianisation of Princes Street.
• Making the existing network of walking and cycling routes comprehensive across the city, incorporating Safe Routes to School and making sure that school travel plans, with cycle training, are actually implemented.
• Investing £10 per head of population in cycling by 2017.
• Introducing dedicated off-road cycle lanes, implemented incrementally with routine road upgrading and so minimising extra cost.
• Extending 20mph limits and other road safety measures where communities want them, prioritising disadvantaged areas where accident rates are highest.
• Ensuring that new developments allow access by foot, bike and public transport and have good cycle parking.
• Creating a cycle share or bike leasing scheme to help meet the Council’s target of 15% of all trips in Edinburgh made by bike by 2020. In the longer-term we want Edinburgh to become one of Europe’s leading cycle cities.


FUNDING [from best to least good]
1. Green: highest level of funding, comparable to the European levels which have brough substantial cycle use rises.
2. LibDem: a clear 5% promise, revolutionary in British terms, and rising 1% a year – excellent.
3= Lab: the 5% promise is again excellent in British terms.  Annual increase also committed, but amount of increase not specified, and unclear if 5% for cycling+walking or 5% for each.
3= SNP: the 5% is again committed – excellent – but will only rise “whenever we can.”
5. Con: funding not mentioned.

20MPH [from best to least good]
1. Lab: shopping areas as well as residential; also all such areas.
2. Green: more but not all areas. Prioritising highest crash areas.
3. LibDem: more but not all areas
4. SNP: consult on extending 20mph zones
5. Con: 20mph not mentioned

OTHER STAND-OUT PROMISES [not in any special order]
x. LibDem: Trial bike carriage on trams within 6 months
x. Green: Princes St partial pedestrianisation [we presume that includes cycling]
x. LibDem: Trained local volunteer scheme to identify road safety issues: speeding, misuse of cycle lanes, hazardous parking, etc.
x. Green: “dedicated off-road cycle lanes” [we presume this refers to European-style physically segregated lanes; ask your candidate]


When deciding how to vote it is worth considering not only manifestos but also the qualities and track record of the individual local candidates in your ward.

Spokes experience over the years shows that a manifesto is very useful as background policy and in keeping successful parties on track, but how seriously cycling is treated in the council also depends on the commitment and dedication of individual councillors – from whatever party.

Find out who are your local candidates, and contact them to ask for their track record (e.g. have they lobbied for local cycle parking or better routes) and to suggest one or two things you feel need done in your local area.   Find your candidates through the links in our March 30th news item.







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