Implementation issues and the failure of congestion charging in Edinburgh
journal contributionposted on 24.06.2008, 12:01 authored by Stephen Ison, Marcus EnochMarcus Enoch
Stephen Ison and Marcus Enoch look at the reasons for holding a referendum and ask what the failure to get a positive vote means for other authorities seeking to introduce a charge. In 1998 the UK Government expressed interest in congestion charging with the publication of the White Paper on the Future of Transport ‘A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone’, and empowered local authorities to do so with the Transport Act (2000), the (Transport (Scotland) Act 2001) and the Greater London Authority Act (1999). But, as yet while a scheme was successfully implemented in central London in February 2003, with the exception of a single street in the City of Durham, there is no other congestion charging scheme in existence in the UK. In Scotland the City of Edinburgh has been looking to implement a congestion charging scheme as a way of tackling congestion for a number of years, but a recently held referendum on the issue resulted in a ‘no’ vote. This article seeks to outline why an instrument which has the general support of academic economists in terms of an efficient market-based instrument did not find favour amongst those who voted in the referendum. The following paper provides a brief background to the proposed Edinburgh congestion charging scheme, detailing the reasons behind the referendum and exploring the reasons for the ‘no’ vote. Finally it offers some conclusions.
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