Skip to main content


Submitted by Editor on

A petition signed by over 160 East London Street and other residents was presented to the Transport & Environment Committee yesterday. The TEC accepted the petition and resolved to consider a report on the topic by Council officers at its scheduled meeting in October.

A verbal deputation was presented by local activist Ross MacCallum, who outlined the 5-year problems locals have experienced due to excessive use of the road by motor traffic, especially HGVs and Lothian Buses in particular (see Issue 328).

Signatories call for asphalting of the carriageway’s surface and an immediate reduction in heavy-traffic usage (Edinburgh Council has the power to impose a weight limit for vehicles).

At its height, 400 buses per day have used the route (many of them out-of-service) causing air pollution around homes and a primary school, structurally damaging vibration, and noise levels on average 30 per cent above the guideline recommended by the World Health Organisation.

MacCallum attested to his own and others’ mental-health issues caused by chronic sleep deprivation. For 3 months this summer, he’s been forced to live away from home.

In answer to questions from councillors, he agreed that there had been a marginal reduction in traffic volumes since completion of the tramworks and reopening of North Bridge to two-way traffic. However, he insisted, the level of disruption was still unacceptable, and nowhere near the 50-buses-a-day limit promised by Lothian Buses to the New Town & Broughton Community Council some years back.

MacCallum said drivers speeding over the setts exacerbated the problem, particularly buses travelling at 40 mph during the night.

He ‘strongly disagreed’ with Convener Scott Arthur’s assertion that Lothian Buses were taking the issue seriously. Councillor McFarlane described his shock at learning LB were using the street for additional training exercises despite being in discussions with him about the problems here.

Next steps

Lothian Buses’ position was notably absent from the discussion, but will be included in the Council officer’s report in October. The report will lay out options for how to proceed, and will have appended to it the SNP Group’s Addendum calling for:

  • An updated traffic volume and speed survey
  • Monitoring of atmospheric pollution
  • The TEC Convenor to engage with Lothian Buses and explore options to further reduce the number of out-of-service buses using East London Street
  • Exploration of whether the Trams to Newhaven Project’s budget can cover repairs to setts, whether the Council should consider tarmacking the central carriageway and introducing appropriate traffic-calming measures.

LB representatives will be strongly encouraged to attend the October meeting.

Separately, a report on Edinburgh’s setted streets will go before the Transport & Environment Committee in September.

Also separately, officers will ask Lothian Buses to clarify what policies they have regarding drivers’ speed across the city as a whole, what advice they offer on the subject, and what measures they take to monitor it.

Protestors in E London St

Similar stories