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Hope Street, To Be...or Not to Be


The UN's Aarhus Convention Compliance Commission (ACCC) isn't really there to 'do detail' and second guess experts about their schemes and the plans, in order to make a judgement on whether this or that tram system is better or worse.

So when they mention a detail it is significant.

In their recent judgement they highlighted the offer made by Edinburgh to residents that Hope Street, which connects Queensferry Street and Charlotte Square, could work as an alternative route for traffic releiving pressure on the residential streets from the inc reases in traffic created by the demands of the tram plan for 'traffic cleansed' roadways for the track route.

Edinburgh Council mentioned this to the UK Government's lawyers, the Aarhus Convention being a government level agreement Councils don't directly answer a case there, government does; as evidence of their anxiety to properly enage and find mitigation solutions.

Something explicitly noted by the ACCC.

It is strange therefore that the Council had simultaneously made a different offer about the use of the street to the Developers presently working on a major redevelopment of Charlotte Square.

The aim of which was to reduce both the size of traffic able to use the street and the voiume of traffic of any size that in practice would be able or likely to use the street.

This 2nd offer, totally at odds with the one used in their defence at the ACCC hearing, required a Traffic Regulation Order TRO to enable the chnages and this was due to be debated at the Council's Transport, Infrastructure and Environment committee recently until it was hastily pulled after the publication of the meeting Agenda.

Whether sloppy drafting and corner cutting had led officers to fear the TRO could fail on legal grounds, or whether officers suddenly realised this debate would be taking place at exactly the same time as the release of the ACCC Findings and the conflict between the two offers could become unavoidable, is impossible to say.

Or perhaps there is a completely innocent explanation?