1 THE PUBLIC INQUIRY FOR THE
2 PROPOSED CONGESTION CHARGING SCHEME IN EDINBURGH
3 MORNING TRANSCRIPT OF THURSDAY 3 JUNE 2004
4 MR PATTERSON: Good morning. As there are several present who have not
5 been previously at the Inquiry, we had better undertake some brief
6 introductions. At this table there are the three Reporters who have been
7 appointed to hold this Inquiry and to report to the City of Edinburgh Council
8 with recommendations on the draft congestion charging order. I am William
9 Patterson. I am a full-time Reporter with the Scottish Executive. I am also a
10 Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute. My colleagues will now
11 introduce themselves.
12 PROFESSOR BEGG: My name is Hugh Begg. I am a part-time
13 Reporter with the Scottish Executive Inquiry Reporters Unit. I was formerly
14 the head of the School of Town & Regional Planning in Dundee and a Dean
15 of the Faculty of Environmental Studies. I hold an honourary Chair at the
16 University of Abertay, Dundee. I have a PhD in economics. I am a Member
17 of the Royal Town Planning Institute.
18 MR MacBRYDE: Good morning. My name is John MacBryde. I am an architect
19 and town planner, formerly a Principle Planning Inspector with the Planning
20 Inspectorate in England. I am now a part-time Inspection, having been
21 seconded to the Scottish Executive for the purposes of this Inquiry.
22 MR PATTERSON: For the promoting authority --?
23 MR THOMSON: Good morning. I am Malcolm Thomson. I am a Queen's
24 Counsel instructed by Dundas & Wilson Solicitors on behalf of the City of
25 Edinburgh Council, who are the charging authority for the proposed scheme.
26 MR PATTERSON: Thank you. Take the gentleman and lady who are facing me
27 from my left. Could I make a note of who you are?
28 MR DUNCANSON: Murray Duncanson, Chief Executive, Primary & Community
29 Division, NHS Lothian.
30 MR PATTERSON: Thank you.
31 MR PENMAN: I am Alan Penman and, until April this year, I was a project
32 manager with the Acute Lothian Division.
33 MS SHIPPEN: I am Norma Shippen, Solicitor with the NHS Central Lead Office.
34 I should say that Peter MacIntyre is also with us.
35 MR GORMAN: I am Dermot Gorman. I am a Consultant Public Health, Medicine
36 and Deputy Director of Public Health at NHS Lothian.
1 MR DAWSON: I am John Dawson, the Director of the AA Motoring Trust.
2 MR GREIG: I am Neil Greig and I am Head of Policy for the AA Motoring Trust in
4 MR MacINTYRE: I am Peter MacIntyre. I am a Senior Manager at the Common
5 Services Agency of NHS Scotland. We are about to become the National
6 Services (Scotland) at some stage when the Minister makes the
7 announcement, so it could change during the lifetime of this Inquiry.
8 PROFESSOR BEGG: Perhaps for completeness you could keep
9 us up-to-date.
10 MR PATTERSON: If you notify the Programme Office of any changed, that will
11 be helpful.
12 MR MacINTYRE: Yes.
13 MR PATTERSON: Thank you all. Unless there is any request for a change to the
14 order, I propose that we hear from Mr Dawson, who is first on our list for
16 MR JOHN DAWSON
17 MR PATTERSON: If you could read from your summary precognition.
18 MR DAWSON: "My name is John Dawson and I am the Director of the AA
19 Motoring Trust. I am a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a
20 Fellow of the Institution of Highways and Transportation.
21 "I joined The AA in January 1995, having previously been Director of
22 Roads in the Scottish Office, responsible for roads, traffic and safety from
23 1989-1995 and, before that, Director of Transport for London in the UK
24 Department of Transport from 1985 to 1988. As a special consultant I
25 supported transport ministers in the Far East and South America in the early
26 80s on road pricing and traffic and environmental management.
27 "I am Chairman of the world motoring organisations' Traffic
28 Commission and Honourary Secretary of the FIA Foundation for Automobile
29 and Society. I have served for 6 years as a Director of ERTICO, which is the
30 consortium of major European companies and governments developing
31 advanced transport technologies such as road charging. I am a member of
32 the DfT's Motorists' Forum and also the Government's UK Road User
33 Charging Group. And, finally, I am chairman of the European Road
34 Assessment Programme, which is rating roads for safety across the
36 "Today I am accompanied by Neil Greig our Head of Policy for
37 Scotland. Neil has an Honours degree in Geography and an MSc in Urban
38 and Regional Planning. He is responsible for research and advocacy in
1 Scotland and, apart from a short stint at the Royal Society for the Prevention
2 of Accidents, he has worked in public affairs with the AA for most of his
4 If the Inquiry would like, I would seek to make a few opening remarks
5 and the present some views on our international experience of road user
6 charging and then, finally, discuss the four policy criteria for charging
7 schemes issued by the Scottish Executive.
8 MR PATTERSON: This is the opening statement section of the precognition, is
10 MR DAWSON: Yes. If you would allow me - events have moved on - I would like
11 to make one or two opening observations. The first is, a very great welcome
12 for this Inquiry. The processes in Scotland are noticeably better and more
13 considered than they were in England.
14 I would also like to say that I have great respect for those actually
15 developing scheme: it is a very complex and challenging scheme in an area
16 where the best is often the enemy of the good. There is a lot of energy being
18 At present, with feelings running high over fuel prices, we must all be
19 very aware how sensitive taxing and charging road users is. The typical
21 road tax. Our surveys are showing currently that only one in four feels they
22 are getting value for what they are paying.
23 The AA Trust has no philosophical arguments against different types
24 of direct charging, but there do need to be clear goals and changes need to
25 be part of a coherent whole. Internationally, there are even popular schemes.
26 But we do not believe Edinburgh Council's scheme yet adds up. Its
27 fundamentals are weak.
28 In round numbers, it proposes to raise
29 in the years ahead, but it will lose 500 million of that simply in the process of
30 collecting the charge.
31 It then proposes to spend the balance of ----
32 MR PATTERSON: Enlighten us as to where this figure comes from. We are
33 having some detail in getting to details on just this kind of matter. We are still
34 to hear detailed evidence on the net ----
35 MR DAWSON: On the proceeds and revenues. I think it is paragraph 7.27
36 onwards we have been studying in particular.
37 MR DAWSON: I have just rounded it to make the numbers clear and obvious,
38 rather than use 429 million and so forth. What I have used is 1,250 million,
1 which is a rounding off. Neil --?
2 MR PATTERSON: We are taking evidence from one person. The source for this
3 is the statement of case from the Council. Can we just have a note of which
4 part of it?
5 MR DAWSON: It is 727.
6 MR GREIG: 726.
7 MR DAWSON: 726. So we interpret what has been said there in round numbers
8 e years ahead and
9 losing around 500 million of that simply in the process of collecting the
10 charge. That is not unusual for schemes that have been considered and
11 rejected around the world.
12 It then proposes to spend the balance of 750 million on a package of
13 schemes which, overall, are poor value for money in our judgment. In fact,
14 they are so poor that you have also received evidence from the Council that
15 the ----
16 MR PATTERSON: I am just concerned that what you are saying now is in the
17 way of generalities which could well have been put into a written precognition.
18 MR DAWSON: Chairman, I am happy to give evidence exactly as you would like.
19 I was trying to help the Inquiry by making a short opening statement to
20 summarize the essence of the ----
21 MR PATTERSON: That is what the summary precognition is for.
22 MR DAWSON: Yes, indeed.
23 MR PATTERSON: To summarise the case.
24 MR DAWSON: Would you like me to continue or shall I read the ----
25 MR PATTERSON: If you have any particular up-dating or changes, that would be
26 the proper use of additional evidence, but otherwise it is preferable to read
27 from the precognition.
28 MR DAWSON: You would like me to read what we have said previously. I will
29 do. I would like to emphasize the changing conditions of the fuel price issue
30 to the Inquiry: that is something that has developed in the last week or two.
31 PROFESSOR BEGG: If that is relevant to congestion
32 charging, but my understanding is there is no hypothecation from the fuel tax.
34 MR DAWSON: It is very relevant to the public's perception of fairness, which is a
35 fundamental issue before this Inquiry. The public do not distinguish between
36 charges and taxes: they consider what they have to pay and whether that is
37 fair in the round. I think that is a very important matter for the Inquiry to
1 If you would like me to continue with the written precognition without
2 the up-dating.
3 MR PATTERSON: Yes, please. That is the procedure of the Inquiry.
4 MR DAWSON: Sir, if I may turn to the last paragraph of the opening statement in
5 what has been written in front of you.
6 "This inquiry may find it more than surprising that the Council's
7 economists expect negative economic gains for this proposal. In London,
8 government approved the scheme primarily on the case for economic gains.
9 In order to achieve this negative result in Edinburgh, an estimated
10 will be risked on equipment, operating and other costs in order to run the
11 scheme. The AA Trust is not convinced that this represents value for money,
12 nor that it is a fair and efficient way to raise funds for transport projects."
13 If I can turn to the international experience of congestion charging:
14 "There are only a handful of congestion charging schemes in the world today.
15 None of the schemes noted by the Council bear close comparison to the
16 proposals for Edinburgh.
17 "Norway - The schemes in Norway were first set up to provide new
18 road and tunnel infrastructure particularly and were popular, but they were not
19 intended to reduce congestion by reducing traffic. Opinion in Norway has
20 changed on the schemes as they have moved towards general
21 revenue-raising, contrary to the agreements on which consensus was built.
22 "Singapore - The electronic road pricing (ERP) scheme in Singapore
23 is widely accepted and it does not seek to raise extra revenue from motorists.
24 The revenue has been used to reduce fixed motoring costs so that the
25 average motorist in Singapore now pays less. The scheme manages
26 congestion with precise algorithms, is highly versatile and offers high quality
27 public transport options. An imaginative tunnel strategy is being brought
28 forward recognising many motorists are willing to pay if they get value.
29 "Rome - The scheme covers a small area at the heart of the city and
30 is essentially an electronic update of a long established access control
31 initiative. It allows local residents and essential services to pay a fee to enter
32 the sensitive historic core of the city. Motorists everywhere accept the need
33 to manage environmentally sensitive areas and do support such restrictions
34 on movement.
35 "London - This scheme has reduced congestion but at high cost. The
36 economic benefits are now known to be marginal and well below those
37 forecasts on which approval to go ahead was based. It is debatable if the
38 overall 'pain' in terms of paying the charge, the negative impact on some
1 firms, and the problems caused to those improperly pursued for unpaid
2 charges has matched the 'gain'. AA Trust surveys show only 40% of London
3 motorists support the scheme and over 70% do not want it extended."
4 I would like to mention just one addition on London, if I may, because
5 things are moving on. We helped develop the London scheme and our
6 important contribution was to focus the Government working group towards a
7 central area, where we believed it was most plausible.
8 "London has extensive public transport options and improvements on
9 the 'ring road' around the charged area have worked well. Edinburgh Council
10 has failed to provide a suitable ring road, despite stating that 'through traffic is
11 a serious problem in the city centre'.
12 "Austria/Netherlands - In recent years there have been mass protests
13 against road user charging schemes in Austria and the Netherlands and
14 proposals have been withdrawn.
15 "United States - The Transport Equity Act in the USA has led to
16 'choice' and the concept of 'value pricing' as a key element in developing
17 charging schemes. This has led, in particular, to the implementation of
18 combined bus/pay lanes on key arteries with free access for car sharers. Up
19 to 85% of motorists, almost independent of how much they earn, support
20 extension of these schemes and use them around 1 day in 5 when time is at
21 a premium.
22 If I can turn to the Scottish Executive policy criteria: "The AA Trust
23 believes congestion improvements can still be gained by defining high value
24 road and public transport improvements, more efficient de-criminalized
25 parking controls, and focused traffic management. For example, in London
26 improving the ring road led to a 5% increase in capacity just through simple
27 traffic engineering improvements.
28 "Experience from around the world suggests combining time
29 dependent charging and selective road improvements can work well and is
30 popular. In particular, drivers may be prepared to pay to bypass known
31 congestion hotspots. Tolling in this way encourages desirable car sharing
32 and time shifting through choice. The tolling restrains the growth in traffic
33 that can happen if just new capacity is provided. Extending the Western
34 Relief Road to the City Bypass as a priced facility might work well as might
35 some ring road improvements to remove through traffic from the city centre.
36 "The AA Trust is disappointed that Council have not explored these
37 options in their business case, nor looked at the growth worldwide in self
38 financing tolled tunnels which are leading to major environmental gains in
1 cities such as Paris, Boston, Melbourne and Sydney.
2 "The Council have also failed to quantify the levels of congestion
3 adequately. Without clear benchmarks the overall benefits of the congestion
4 charging scheme cannot be tested or compared with alternatives.
5 "In particular, we do not understand the arguments on emissions on
6 which The AA Trust has worked at international level. As the result of
7 regulations, exhaust emissions of the five major toxic gases have fallen from
8 cars overall by between 25% and 50% between 1992-2001. As new cars
9 which are 50 times cleaner replace old, this rapid improvement is set to
10 continue. Cars are not the problem we face. It is old diesel engines.
11 "Ultra-low sulphur petrol and diesel have also brought significant
12 emissions reductions in existing vehicles and the UK government plans to
13 accelerate the introduction of 'zero sulphur' fuels which we have advocated to
14 help things further. The AA Trust agrees with the views of Professor Seaton
15 of the UK Air Quality Standards Committee that Edinburgh will meet all UK air
16 quality standards.
17 "Increased levels of bus and taxi use in the city centre may in fact
18 degrade air quality. The AA Trust does not believe that it is reasonable for
19 drivers who have paid for modern clean cars to be asked to pay for cleaning
20 up dirty buses.
21 Turning to the second policy criteria: "The AA Trust hears the
22 assurances of The Scottish Executive and the Council that all revenues
23 raised by the scheme would be additional to existing sources of funding. It
24 does not believe, however, that the institutional arrangements are in place to
25 deliver these pledges. Similar assurances to British motorists have been
26 given and broken frequently, most recently in 2003 at the M25 Dartford
28 "Our belief is that the minimum institutional requirement is for receipts
29 to be paid into a Trust fund with independent audit and transparent
30 accounting of all expenditure, including value for money audit. Many
31 problems worldwide stem from public authorities substituting existing revenue
32 with new revenue. Recent press reports indicate that the Chancellor is taking
33 seriously proposals we have made for institutional change because transport
34 authorities continue to invest scarce resources in low value projects.
35 "The complex current arrangements for GAE expenditure within the
36 Block Grant system already make it difficult to identify what 'should' be spent
37 on roads. Without transparent and independent control it is all too easy for
38 resources earmarked for transport to be diverted to other Council services.
1 "In London, despite repeated assurances, central government grants
2 to TfL may have been substantially reduced due to the new revenue stream
3 being 'taken into account'. Programmes are now being cut back rather than
5 "Parking revenues within the London zone are said to be declining.
6 In the case of Edinburgh, parking income currently plays a key role in the
7 finance of road maintenance. The system may be unpopular but it is much
8 cheaper to extend than a new congestion-charging scheme.
9 Turning to the third policy Criteria: "The extension of the exemption
10 to Edinburgh residents living outwith the City bypass has only served to
11 highlight the fundamental unfairness of arbitrary lines on maps. A 'charge'
12 that cannot be avoided and does not relate directly to services relevant to
13 those paying is a 'tax'.
14 "The Council state that 40% of the city's residents have no car. But
15 this misunderstands that travel with family and friends means many non car
16 owning households still rely on the car to access work and basic services.
17 UK-wide, there is more travel like this in such households than on buses and
18 taxes ----"
19 MR PATTERSON: You have "buses and taxes". Should that be "taxis"?
20 MR DAWSON: There is a typographical error there: it should be "buses and
22 MR PATTERSON: Trains, not taxis.
23 MR DAWSON: Not taxis, yes. "Many low-income car-owning families spend
24 large amounts of income to run a car because it is so important to them.
25 Increasing the cost of car use has a negative impact on social inclusion.
26 "The greatest scope for unfairness in the scheme lies in the treatment
27 of drivers living outside Edinburgh. As major stakeholders, their exclusion
28 from the final referendum is unacceptable. Despite working with SESTRANS
29 to produce regional plans the Council claim they cannot set up a referendum
30 outside their own boundaries. The AA Trust would urge the Reporters to
31 examine possible methods to extend the referendum into the surrounding
33 "In the past the Council has allowed the building of many out-of-town
34 shopping and office developments designed to be attractive to car users. The
35 location of the outer cordon to cover these locations is fundamentally unfair.
36 These schemes attract a far-flung audience whose needs simply cannot all
37 be catered for by public transport. It seems very unfair that an Edinburgh
38 resident can drive across town for free whilst a worker from beyond the city
1 has to pay. The former has a range of public transport alternatives whilst the
2 latter has not.
3 "Unlike London, where a clear mandate was secured by the Mayor to
4 implement congestion charging, surveys have failed to find a majority in
5 favour of the idea in Edinburgh. Indeed the Council's own surveys show a
6 majority against the plans for a double cordon charging system.
7 "The Reporters should be aware that the crucial reason that the
8 forecast benefits have not materialised in London has been the run away
9 escalation in costs of the scheme, now double original estimates and still not
10 enough to operate it properly.
11 "The AA Trust is concerned at the increasing role that penalty income
12 is making as part of the overall budget in London.
14 authorities are targeting to increase revenue rather than increase compliance.
15 "The AA Trust supports tough sanctions against deliberate
16 non-payment or avoidance of charges but unfortunately in London many
17 innocent drivers have become unwittingly embroiled in the process. The
18 combination of a slow DVLA system, mistakes in reading number plates and
19 deliberate 'cloning' of vehicles has brought many into contact with a system
20 that shows little regard for the individual. With serious ongoing problems in
21 call centres and registration systems, it is essential that Edinburgh Council
22 learn from the mistakes made in London and put customer care at the top of
23 their agenda if any scheme is to forward.
24 Turning to the fourth policy criteria: "The Council should be
25 congratulated on successfully raising advance funding to provide modern
26 trams, 'park and ride' sites, a new busway and a 'car free' Princes Street.
28 "But this raises the question as to why similar levels of investment
29 cannot be secured in the future when Westminster and Edinburgh
30 governments continue to indicate that the improvement of transport systems,
31 reversing decades of under-investment, is a policy priority.
32 "In comparison, the post-charging package appears to deliver no
33 more than one extra tramline as a major project. The AA Trust questions why
34 no road schemes have been included in any of the packages. Bus lanes are
35 generally effective only in small windows in peak hours and are most
36 successful when designed as new capacity, such as the successful A90
37 Busway. The new 'West Edinburgh Busway' has new capacity where it is
38 easy to build but encroaches on scarce road space when it enters the city
1 centre. New or improved roads in the pre- charging packages would be more
2 likely to engender public support for the overall scheme.
3 "Commentators such as Professor David Begg and Transport
4 Minister, Alistair Darling, have publicly stated that improving public transport
5 cannot be the only way out of our current transport problems.
6 In conclusion: "When considering such a major scheme with
7 implications for the way ordinary people live their lives, the Reporters must be
8 convinced that the risks and the benefits far outweigh the potential problems
9 and that the scheme is fair to all who are asked to pay, especially residents
10 outside Edinburgh.
11 "The AA Trust believes that the case presented is not supported by
12 the evidence. On the contrary, the quantified" - I apologise for the typo -
13 "evidence presented indicates substantial investment and risk but at a loss of
14 wealth to the South East Scotland."
15 MR PATTERSON: Thank you. We Reporters have some questions for you and
16 then, with our consent, Mr Thomson also has further questions.
17 Questioned by the PANEL
18 Q. Go to the bottom of your first page of text. You are criticising the additional
19 investment packages as "weak and unimaginative on improved roads"; have
20 you any specific suggestions as to what should have been included?
21 A. I think this is a generic problem, and it is one which the Chancellor is taking
22 very seriously. We are not engaging as a nation and it is not a specific
23 criticism of any ----
24 Q. I think you are answering me that you are not offering any specific
26 A. I will, if I may, but I want to get there. The way you have to go about this is by
27 proper value engineering, which means actually measuring where the
28 problems are and trying to develop focused measures.
29 Typically across Britain we are seeing rates of return - paying back
30 their costs - two to four times on good transport projects. The package that
31 Edinburgh Council have come forward with is, overall, very weak.
32 I have suggested in the paper three themes, apart from the public
33 transport area. One theme I referred to specifically was a focus on the simple
34 traffic engineering improvements, which in London delivered a 5% increase in
35 capacity and a 1% increase in speeds when the traffic engineers had to focus
36 on it because they were made to do so by the intense pressure to cope with
37 displaced traffic from the centre.
38 Another theme I have tried to get through is the fact that we are not
1 being very innovative in looking at the best practise worldwide. Two types of
2 scheme, which are fundamentally the same but different in the way they are
3 implemented, are the Californian and American hot lanes which have been
4 developed in huge number now and I suggested there was a possibility that a
5 shared use scheme between buses, car shares and those who pay was a
6 possibility. These are the schemes that are receiving huge support across all
7 income groups, even though they are charged, in the United States. That is
8 why they are being extended. They are extremely efficient because they use
9 the available road space to the absolute maximum, because those that pay
10 are metered very carefully by price, depending on how much capacity is
11 actually available. "Hot lanes" is what they are called, and they are a key part
12 of the American value pricing programme.
13 Q. How do you pay for them?
14 A. In fact, the economics of these depend on a case by case basis.
15 Q. But how does an individual pay?
16 A. It is rather like many crossings of Britain and the M6 toll road, for example:
17 you can pay with an adaptor, a little electronic transponder. These are
18 common worldwide.
19 MR MacBRYDE: Can I be quite clear on this? Is this a variant on the scheme of
20 allowing private cars to use bus lanes on payment of a fee?
21 A. Yes, basically there are various implementations of this and the detail is
22 particular to particular local circumstances, but the elements of the scheme
23 are: buses use them free, car shares use them free - and whether it is two or
24 three occupants varies from place to place - and then the going rate for the
25 scheme changes by hour of day and day of week and direction of travel. The
26 method of payment is through an account and a transponder which, for
27 example, you can get for the M6 toll road or the Dartford crossing in London
28 and across Europe and North America.
29 MR PATTERSON: So these are the schemes where the urban myth is that
30 people have been putting blow-up plastic dummies in their cars so that they
31 can pass as car sharers.
32 A. That was more the Singapore scheme. You are quite right, there has been
33 some fun had with that, but I can tell you from our work that this is not the
34 everyday reality. These have been expanded and there are four running in
35 the US at the moment and there is a pool of about 18 going forward, currently
36 in preparation, in the latest programme. I can send you the United States
37 programme so you can actually see what is going on.
38 PROFESSOR BEGG: Could you give us one example of a
1 city where there are hub lanes?
2 A. They are basically a city-based ----
3 Q. Yes, but one example. Any city.
4 A. I have actually put some in the evidence. Three are actually described in the
5 evidence you have got, in "Innovations and Road Development Around the
7 Q. And that reference is --?
8 MR PATTERSON: I think you may be referring to something which we have not
9 got. We only actually have something called the precognition summary.
10 PROFESSOR BEGG: Appendix 2. I have "Congestion Charging
11 in London, One Year On." That is an interesting document that I think was
12 part of your research in London.
13 A. Yes.
14 MR THOMSON: It is appendix 2 in my copy.
15 THE WITNESS: Shall we sort this out afterwards? We certainly submitted this.
16 We could check on your website.
17 MR THOMSON: Sir, I have the document that was produced this morning, which
18 we had not seen before. We have this document, which has been around for
19 some considerable time. I have a summary precognition and a full
20 precognition, which I received by e-mail last night.
21 MR PATTERSON: It was not in my e-mail when I checked this morning.
22 THE WITNESS: I do not know anything about this. We submitted to the deadline
23 and what has happened after that, I do not know.
24 MR PATTERSON: I am just checking to see what my appendix 2 says. It is,
25 indeed, the congestion charging in London.
26 (Pause to check documents)
27 MR PATTERSON (To the witness): We are just concerned that we do not seem
28 to have the full documentation here and perhaps we have not got the full text
29 of your precognition. We have been working on the assumption that the only
30 one we had was the one which happened to be called "Summary".
31 A. I have a letter dated 13th April, acknowledging receipt of our full precognition.
32 Sir, if I could perhaps get us back on track. What I have tried to pull out is
33 short, medium and long-term options, because we are ----
34 PROFESSOR BEGG: No, I am asking a question about hot lanes.
35 A. Yes, sorry.
36 Q. You are well aware of the generic concept, but you have already pointed out
37 in your evidence that each introduction of a hot lane depends on the
38 particular circumstances.
1 A. Correct.
2 Q. I was asking you simply to give me one that you would regard as being an
3 example that I could then refer to to give support or otherwise to the evidence
4 that you are providing.
5 A. There are three that we have quoted in here. There is one in Orange County,
6 which is the straight route 91.
7 MR PATTERSON: Orange County - which area is that?
8 A. Orange County in California.
9 PROFESSOR BEGG: Can I just ask you if that hot lane was
10 to finance a new road?
11 A. The specifics of this - this is actually quite controversial because it was, one,
12 privately financed and it was ----
13 Q. Was it a new road?
14 A. This one was newly constructed in the median of a non-tolled motorway.
15 Q. Could you give me the other examples you have?
16 A. I have got two others I can refer to here. There is the Inter-State I15, which is
18 Q. Is that to finance a new road?
19 A. I am just trying to look - quickly brief myself.
20 Q. It is, is it not?
21 A. I think it is to finance the median section, the expansion, the incremental part
23 MR PATTERSON: The charging is in order to finance what?
24 A. What you are hitting the nail on the head is, there are multiple purposes for
25 charging schemes. Sometimes it is tactical traffic management and the
26 revenue, in a sense, is incidental and can be used either to give back to
27 motorists, as in Singapore, or to fund additional infrastructure.
28 PROFESSOR BEGG: I am trying to see the relevance of
29 your reference to hot lanes to congestion charging in a tightly controlled urban
30 area like Edinburgh. The third example was --?
31 A. And the third example is on the Inter-State I10.
32 Q. So it is another inter-state highway.
33 A. These are metropolitan inter-state highways and let us be quite clear, there
34 are read-acrosses and non-read-acrosses.
35 MR PATTERSON: I am sorry, I could not catch that term.
36 A. There are read-acrosses that you can read ----
37 Q. Reader --?
38 A. You can read across from the United States, but there are also things that
1 you cannot read across because of the densities of population. If you move
2 to Paris, which is where I wanted to give the third example and why we put it
3 in our precognition - because we are looking at 22 year horizons - in Paris,
4 they have fully self-financing toll tunnels.
5 PROFESSOR BEGG: I am sure we will come to tunnels, but I
6 am interested in hot lanes at the moment. I am sorry to be so direct, but
7 there is no confusion in our minds, I assure you, about the difference between
8 taxation and road user charging.
9 I am just trying to establish whether hot lanes are a practical
10 possibility in Edinburgh. You have referred me to three examples. All of
11 them would appear to produce new roads and to finance them. Of course,
12 there is a congestion element in all of this, but I just wonder what the
13 applicability of those three examples is to the City of Edinburgh.
14 A. The applicability is, first of all, that motorists actually find it acceptable and,
15 instead of getting 70% opposition, you find that you get 70% acceptance and,
16 given one of the conditions is that these are popular schemes and acceptable
17 and stakeholders across the community buy into them, that is a pretty
18 relevant consideration.
19 Q. Where would your hot lane in Edinburgh be? What alignment would you
20 have for this new road which would include hot lanes?
21 A. I will attempt to answer your question with as many qualifications as is given
22 in the evidence of others about schemes they have not yet developed or
23 thought through.
24 Q. Please, you are criticizing the Edinburgh scheme and you are suggesting that
25 hot lanes is something that they should have taken into account, and I am just
26 asking - broadly - I am not suggesting line by line or tenement block by
27 tenement block - where hot lanes of the type that you have described for two
28 inter-state highways and one intra-state, Orange County, highway - where is
29 the relevance to the City of Edinburgh in particular?
30 A. I will answer that, if you will allow me to put the caveat that I have to put
31 professionally across this. The principle I am talking about is pricing a facility
32 in order partly to pay for it and partly to manage traffic. There are applications
33 in North America, such as hot lanes, which are extremely interesting and very
34 popular. There are applications such as our own M6 toll road. There are
35 applications such as the Versailles tunnel, which is under construction now in
36 Paris. All of them philosophically are adopting this same approach, but the
37 actual scheme details and what is feasible varies depending on the absolute
38 specifics of each case.
1 That having been said, it would be interesting to say the least to look
2 at the toll facility on the line of what is the current Western Relief Road. It
3 would be interesting to know whether there were sections of that that could
4 make use of some of the redundant tunnel that is around in the centre of
5 Edinburgh, for example.
6 We are looking at projects over a two decade span.
7 MR PATTERSON: Which redundant tunnels? It may not be common knowledge:
8 it is certainly not mine, other than the famous Scotland Street tunnel and I
9 am sure we are not talking about that.
10 A. I am not sure - my geographic knowledge - I do not claim specific geographic
11 knowledge of Edinburgh, but I am aware there are some redundant tunnels
12 around in the centre of Edinburgh not far from the vicinity of the Western
13 Approach Road, for example. I am told. I am not speaking here as a
14 geographic expert on Edinburgh. Let me make that absolutely clear.
15 You can see that it would be exactly along the lines of the hot lane
16 model. One of the reasons why hot lanes have come along is that people
17 have been very upset with the lack of use of the bus lanes, the high
18 occupancy vehicle lanes, as they are called in the United States. These are
19 seen as a more acceptable way of using scarce resources.
20 MR PATTERSON: Is that because there are so few buses in the US?
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. It is a different situation here.
23 A. It is indeed, but it is the M4 bus lane in London, if we take that as an example.
24 It is not particularly heavily used either. The question is, how much capacity
25 is there and how much can you offer? This is why it is a scheme specific
26 problem. But the proposition would be that there are sectors of road along
27 the western approaches that you could actually consider for car share use, for
28 bus use, for paid use. Whether the economics of that stack up, whether the
29 tactical traffic management of that stacks up is as problematical, I suggest, as
30 some of the other schemes that you have got in that wish list of schemes the
31 Council have put forward. But these kind of innovative projects are not being
33 That is no specific criticism of Edinburgh. It is actually generic across
34 the nation and it is something that is being addressed in things like the Road
35 User Charging Group in London.
36 Q. Is that the only specific suggestion then?
37 A. What is interesting ----
38 Q. I am just asking you a plain question and I would be grateful if you would
1 answer plainly.
2 A. Specifically, tunnels ought also to be evaluated.
3 Q. No, I am asking you if the suggestion for the Western Relief Road is your only
4 suggestion for one of these shared roads.
5 A. It is an obvious illustration of a principle which is being generically applied
6 across the world.
7 Q. You are not suggesting any other examples.
8 A. I am not, because we have not done a geographic study in Edinburgh. We
9 would be foolish to be putting forward these kind of detailed proposals. What
10 I was trying to do, to help the Inquiry to some degree - because we want
11 constructive proposals and a better package out of all this - was to illustrate
12 the range of options that have not been considered and which have worked
13 successfully and are working elsewhere in the world.
14 PROFESSOR BEGG: Not considered as far as you know.
15 A. Not considered as far as I know, and certainly the evidence suggests that the
16 package has gone for a rather extreme proposition of, "Let's try and build our
17 way out of trouble." Whereas, around the world, the hot money, if you like, is
18 not on that, it is on the tactical strategic routes.
19 MR PATTERSON: You were commenting on London, that AA Trust surveys
20 show only 40% of London motorists support the scheme and over 40% do not
21 want it extended.
22 A. Over 70% do not want it extended.
23 Q. When was this done?
24 A. The numbers have not moved over the last two, three years. We have been
25 conducting regular tracking surveys of opinion. People are evenly divided
26 about the scheme: roughly 40% oppose, 40% support and 20% are pretty
27 much don't know. You have to remember that in London most people do not
28 actually go anywhere near the centre. It is not such a shared space as the
29 centre of Edinburgh, which is much more known to Edinburgh residents.
30 Q. How do you define a motorist?
31 A. You are asking me to think through - it is very well done by our corporate
32 research people. It is, I think, "Do you hold a driving licence?"
33 Q. Anyone who holds a driving licence?
34 A. No. I think that that is the definition. I can give you the precise definition
35 later, unless - I doubt, Neil, you would know the precise definition.
36 Q. Even if they have not got a car or have given up driving because of ill-health
37 or age?
38 A. No, I think it is cleverer than that. I have complete confidence in my statistical
1 people: they are very good on this sort of thing.
2 Q. What about non-motorists in London? Roughly what proportion would they
3 be of the population?
4 A. What we tend to find worldwide is that there is not a huge number ----
5 Q. Can you give me the figures for London?
6 A. Off the top of my head ----
7 Q. It is very helpful if we can get straight answers to questions.
8 A. I can only give you a broad indication. I do not know the precise figures for
9 non-motorists in London off the top of my head, no.
10 Q. Have you any information on what their opinion of the scheme is?
11 A. Yes. I have all the information and I can send it to you as reporters.
12 Q. I was just wondered if you knew it.
13 A. Off the top of my head, no.
14 Q. So knowing what motorists think is only of limited use to us if we do not know
15 what other people think as well.
16 A. No, I think that is unfair, if I may say so. We do have that information and we
17 have it very specifically broken down between drivers and non-drivers.
18 Q. Why does it seem to much more important to know what motorists think than
19 other people?
20 A. Because, you may have realised, the AA Motoring Trust is looking at road
21 users and we do compare that with the general population. What I was trying
22 to do was to make the observation to you that, in general, the views of
23 motorists are very close to the population at large. One of the paradoxes is
24 that the people who are not motorists actually tend to share the views of lower
25 income motorists, because they are closer to lower income motorists.
26 Q. To go on to the United States example, not specifically the kind of roads
27 about which we have been talking, but on the generality of those roads you
28 have the comment that people use them about one day in five when time is at
29 a premium. Presumably, their effect on traffic is much more than negative but
30 not radical.
31 A. It is fantastic.
32 Q. If people are only using them one day in five, 20% of the time, the effect is not
33 overwhelming, surely.
34 A. When you get to understand the micro-engineering, it is really vital. First of
35 all, remember people have the alternative free, uncharged lane, so they can
36 sit in the jams if they want. What you find is that these hot lanes have a much
37 higher through-put because they are much more efficient, because they are
38 kept running. The pricing keeps them running stably. So what you actually
1 find is, in some cases I have heard of, something like 40% of the total
2 through-put is actually coming on the hot lanes, because what you are talking
3 about is free fast-moving lanes versus stop-go traffic in the unpaid lanes.
4 These are the interesting dynamics.
5 Q. Where do the buses work on these lanes?
6 A. They just drive ----
7 Q. I take it from this picture that these are roads which are more like the
8 Edinburgh City by-pass than they are like, say, Queensferry Road, where
9 buses have to stop.
10 A. This is where you have to get the densities of different cities closely in mind.
11 These are much lower density cities, so this is why I keep referring back - and
12 I understand why it is troublesome - to things like the Versailles tunnel. That
13 is a version of the same philosophy in a denser area. So, although it is only
14 10 km long, you are travelling through a lot more urban activity. The whole
15 thing is just denser, but that still remains financially viable.
16 It is a surprise to me that the Versailles tunnel is financially viable and
17 some of the American hot lanes are actually not fully covered by the toll
19 Q. Perhaps it would be fairer to compare the Versailles tunnel project with the
20 Forth Bridge, rather than with city streets where buses stop.
21 A. The thing about the Versailles tunnel and a couple of other schemes like this
22 which I know to be financially viable although they are unbuilt is that they are
23 a kind of win, win, win proposition. What you are doing is, you are relieving
24 the surface streets and the claim is that the benefits above ground are about
25 twice the benefits to those who are actually paying. You are relieving the
26 surface streets and so you are getting public transport benefits on top; you
27 are getting the environmental and amenity benefits and then the drivers below
28 are actually benefitting as well by getting faster transit times. It is a new build,
29 but it is metered by time of day.
30 Q. Like the Forth Bridge.
31 A. It is not like the Forth Bridge in the sense that - what I have not answered is
32 the direct question. The Versailles tunnel is basically an orbital road
33 underneath the ----
34 Q. I am sure we are very familiar. It is a missing link.
35 A. It is a missing link on the north-south circular. If you say it is like the Forth
38 from the Californian hot lane. In fact, it is closer to the auto routes generally,
1 is it not, rather than the Forth Bridge?
2 Q. People in France are familiar with the idea of paying tolls for motorways.
3 A. Correct.
4 Q. Perhaps a minority of them do; most of them still seem to use the other
6 A. Thirty per cent. of the revenues come from foreigners, yes, the British
7 motorist largely among them.
8 Q. Just supposing we took further the idea of extending the Western Relief Road
9 and the City by-pass as a priced facility. That would end up at its eastern end
10 at Lothian Road, which might be thought to be one of the most congested
11 parts of the City Centre at present.
12 A. This is where I am not going to be drawn into the geographic temptation of
13 sketching lines on maps and what might happen. What I need to tell you is
14 that, in many cities - and I know this as a fact in Edinburgh - most of the traffic
15 is not city-centre-bound, although it can be on some corridors. Even if you
16 can have a sector of road which is helping to distribute traffic more efficiently,
17 it does not have to go all the way to be successful.
18 I think you really have to just look at the art of the possible, and it is
19 back to this value engineering, I am afraid, again. I am not clear in my mind
20 that the kind of stress point, hot spot analysis and what we can do to
21 eliminate these stress and hot points has been looked at in a systematic
22 value engineering way.
23 I worry deeply about the package of schemes that has been brought
24 forward, because I have never in my career seen a pricing proposal
25 associated with a negative economic return. That is quite astonishing, that
26 that is so. It appears to be because all the projects that have been brought
27 forward have not been brought forward and developed on the basis of how
28 they contribute to congestion relief. They are not being prioritized. The whole
29 strategy has not been developed with that fundamental guiding principle: that
30 the aim is to tackle congestion.
31 If you contrast this with London, where the Government only gave
32 approval on the basis of an estimated - that was
33 the basis of the transport strategy - you can understand how far apart these
34 two approaches are.
35 Q. You will be aware that the fundamental criteria for the scheme did not include
36 economic benefit.
37 A. I am aware that the situation in Scotland is very different, but I would be
38 surprised if somewhere in the process there was not a value for money catch-
1 all that would be found and certainly we would be looking for it. If it is really
2 the case that the motorist is going to be taxed for schemes that are not giving
3 value for money, that would be an outrage and we would be looking for ways
4 to catch that in other institutional places.
5 Q. To return to the idea of the Western Relief Road, the history of that scheme,
6 as far as I can recollect, was it started with the idea of a feeder road from the
7 west into an inner circular road, which would go around a very tightly defined
8 City Centre, through the Meadows and under Calton Hill and through quite a
9 lot of what would nowadays be regarded as sacrosanct historic properties.
10 In that sense, to resurrect the idea and propose to feed the road into
11 the existing system of roads near the west end of Princes Street, Lothian
12 Road, Tollcross does not seem to make a lot of sense, does it?
13 A. You are mixing two or three propositions together, none of which is valid.
14 Firstly, I am not suggesting any such thing. I am certainly not aware of the
15 detailed history of former proposals for that corridor.
16 Q. I am surprised that you seem to know so little about such things when you
17 have such a senior position in Scotland.
18 A. I am aware of the background of 30/40 years in Scotland - things have been
19 discussed. What I am trying to do today is actually point out that there is
20 under construction a bus lane proposal, there is a corridor from the west.
21 There are new innovative methods worldwide of pricing facilities to make best
22 use of scarce transport space in an efficient way.
23 To suggest that in any sense I am sitting here, proposing any
24 grandiose scheme - what I am proposing is value engineering against clear
25 environmental and economic objectives.
26 What troubles me is that there is a degree of muddle, if we are
27 throwing out that things do not have to be value for money, they do not have
28 to achieve congestion benefits that are meaningful or measurable, but we do
29 not have to specify what we are trying to achieve: we just have to raise
30 money and thrown them towards projects which have been on a wish list for
31 some time without consideration.
32 If that is the aspiration, that is worrying. However, if the aspiration is
33 to set goals in terms of reducing congestion and environmental impact, then
34 we should be looking without religious belief at which might actually best
35 achieve that end. What I am suggesting to you is that there are not many
36 people around the world who believe that you can crack congestion problems
37 solely by investing in public transport schemes serving another market from
38 the market where the problems actually exist. I am looking for practical
1 solutions that we will support.
2 Q. So far, the only suggestions we have had seem to be ones coming from
3 extremely different situations in a different continent or Paris, which is a much
4 larger city and had a specific topographical environmental problem around
6 A. Let me again summarize.
7 Q. Or suggestions for Edinburgh which, when we go down to the detail, do not
8 come to anything.
9 A. Let me summarize four propositions for you. Firstly, there are public transport
10 schemes on certain corridors that will be value for money and will relieve
11 congestion. The value engineering behind those is absolutely critical. Things
12 like the Western Edinburgh bus way, for example, were a specific and
13 welcome effort to look at the real problems and provide real alternatives with
14 park and ride and a fast rapid transit service. That was developed as a
15 proposition during the 1990s. I know a little bit about it and I know what its
16 driving forces actually were.
17 If we then look at the short-term road measures, most people find it
18 common sense that if you have a road congestion problem you might actually
19 look at the roads themselves as a first line of thought. The traffic engineering,
20 the detailed traffic engineering, can be highly effective if the leadership
21 actually focuses on it as a problem. It was a surprise to many people that in
22 London that rag-bag of a ring road that they had could actually be made to
23 have 5% more capacity simply by focus on the detail and focus on the job in
24 hand. It was a kind of necessity that required that that ring road operated,
25 otherwise the whole congestion charging scheme could not work and, lo and
26 behold, we produce some spectacular results.
27 The Traffic Management Bill going through the Westminster
28 Parliament at the moment is largely as a result, I know, from Government
29 Ministers believing that the leadership in this area has been poor and we
30 need more focus on it.
31 The next area is to look at the medium term things and the innovative
32 things that are beginning to work and attract favour around the world, of which
33 the most spectacular are the hot lanes in California. Whether those can be
34 made to apply in European situations is not yet known. We are at the foothills
35 of that. However, it would be daft to rule it out because they actually meet a
36 lot of the conditions of public support, pricing and for traffic management and
37 revenue which lie behind the philosophy that is hidden away in this particular
1 Finally, we move to tunnels, where, worldwide, tunnels, because they
2 are cheaper to build than they ever were and because some of the value
3 engineering is finding ways to separate cars and trucks on different streams,
4 the costs are beginning to come down substantially. Again, they are self-
5 financing and they give huge environmental benefits.
6 All I am suggesting is that there is, in there, more pressure on those
7 that are actually developing proposals than needs to be applied. The current
8 set of proposals would fail any rational test.
9 Q. Where would you suggest that in Edinburgh tunnels could be a useful
11 A. I am not going to be drawn into the geography, but what I am going to do is to
12 be drawn into the general principles. What we find worldwide is that on
13 strategic arteries most congestion is actually on strategic arteries and,
14 generally, the big problems in life tend to be found on suburban arterials and
15 the ring roads around the larger cities.
16 So what you are really looking for is, are there any suburban arterials
17 where we can actually run tunnel links that would take traffic off surface
18 streets and unlock a network. What you are trying to do is to look for a
20 The tunnel is not just a line, it is part of a network solution and,
21 around the world, there are various proposals that you will find it difficult to
22 see written evidence of, but they do emerge from time to time - of, for
23 example, tunnels leading into car parks, directly into car parks, to the vehicles
24 actually never surface in the streets.
25 Q. We are talking about very short tunnels. How do you charge for them?
26 A. Then we are back to the integration of the traffic management and the
27 charging. In Oslo, for example, the proposal was a cordoned ring to fund
28 80% tunnels and 20% bus lanes. That is what consensus was built on.
29 PROFESSOR BEGG: To produce new roads.
30 A. To produce new roads. The consensus was lost when it turned into a general
31 revenue-raising proposal, which is one of the other severe warnings ----
32 MR PATTERSON: I am just wondering, suppose you wanted to put in a tunnel to
33 by-pass the local high street in Portobello. You would charge for it - you
34 seem to suggest that tunnels are self-financing by their nature.
35 A. Let us take the Oslo picture and the Singapore picture and look at what they
36 are doing. In Oslo, in fact in Trondheim as well if my memory serves me
38 Q. It would be even better if you could just answer the question as I put it.
1 A. No, but the cordon ring proposal where motorists are actually charged to
2 enter an area and that then funds a tunnel solution but the tunnel itself is part
3 of a network amendment, when you build the tunnel link the smart thing to do
4 - it does not just serve the traffic on the particular place it starts and ends, it
5 allows you to re-model the network and how the network works in order to get
6 more capacity overall.
7 The reason why I am utterly reluctant to talk about specifics is
8 because you cannot actually say how something will work until you have
9 studied what you are trying to do and what the art of the possible actually is,
10 but you have got to be driven by value engineering goals as to what you are
11 trying to do.
12 Q. I have to summarise then by saying that you are offering global generalities
13 but nothing specific to Edinburgh.
14 A. No, given the quality of the papers that you have before you on what is going
15 to be done over 22 years, I would actually say some of what I am offering is a
16 darned sight more specific. The focus on traffic engineering, for example, is
17 very, very important and short-term and I would be very surprised if you could
18 not get another 5% out of the Edinburgh network by focused traffic
20 The specific of the idea - to illustrate - of actually looking at a multi-
21 use facility on the west, whether it is car sharing and buses, whether it is a
22 toll, whether it is a priced hot lane type facility I think is worth consideration.
23 Then when we come to the tunnelling area that is, frankly, the same degree
24 of development as some of the proposals that are in that 22 year package.
25 If we are looking at 22 years, we should be allowed to make fair
26 comment that it is extremely light on realistic road proposals.
27 Q. You have made some comments about emissions. Meeting standards does
28 not necessarily mean that there is no problem or nothing that could be
29 improved to the benefit of the environment and people's appreciation of
30 where they live or work or visit; do you accept that?
31 A. Yes, I think I would and the standard is not necessarily high enough. We
32 spend a lot of our time raising standards internationally: that is what we do.
33 The question is whether a congestion charging scheme would actually - is it a
34 justification of the congestion charging scheme that it would actually reduce
35 emissions by a perceptible amount?
36 Q. Or redistribute them to places where there are less sensitive ----
37 A. Or, in fact, it would increase emissions, on my reading of it, in some other
38 places, so there is a redistribution effect.
1 I have been surprised for the last 10/15 years about the concentration
2 on emissions in Edinburgh. I have worked in places like Santiago in Chile
3 which have real problems of air quality and where it is a national problem.
4 When I work in the South of Europe, it is a really serious problem. It just
5 strikes me as somewhat odd that we are looking at it in Edinburgh. In my rule
6 of thumb, until you get to about Paris and south of Paris it really is not a huge
8 Q. It may be very noticeable in typical Scottish tenement city areas.
9 A. I suppose I am also thinking of the 22 year horizon of this project. We have
10 spent a great deal of time pressing on Euro 1, 2, 3 and 4, which have brought
11 about these huge changes, and at the moment the Euro 5 Regulations are
12 under debate. We are pushing hard on the heavy goods vehicles because
13 basically that is the area where there is "a licence to pollute". However, it is
14 the old heavy diesel engines and, I would also add, the enforcement of
15 emissions against the gross polluters - people whose exhaust pipes have
16 fallen off and all the rest of it. These are the real issues that make a
17 difference to people. Basically, air quality is what you can see and, put
18 simply, you can see where the smoke is coming from, that is what it is all
20 Q. That is a very useful thing to have said because it leads on precisely to my
21 next question. If you can see where the smoke is coming out, the problem is
22 not just old diesels, it can be one and two year old turbo diesel cars.
23 A. If that is so, then they are illegal.
24 Q. It is a common experience.
25 A. It is not a common experience that I would pick up and certainly if you could
26 send me evidence of that I will take that up at national level, because that is a
27 serious indictment. What you are saying is that two year old diesel cars are
28 actually failing the emission standards test; is that correct?
29 A. I would suggest that there are many occasions when I have had to turn off the
30 air intake in my car because I have been behind a very new or two or three
31 year old diesel car, particularly turbo diesels.
32 A. We must be careful not to drift into the anecdotal.
33 Q. Not quite as bad as G registration Escorts, but not ideal.
34 A. I am a great respecter of the anecdotal because very often we find leads from
35 anecdotal evidence that turns out to have a strong element of truth in them.
36 However, on the respectable side of the science that would be quite a claim
37 and I would like to take that further, if I may. Neil, could you make sure you
38 pick that one up.
1 PROFESSOR BEGG: I think this is a Public Inquiry
2 into congestion charging, rather than an opportunity for you to be taking
3 matters elsewhere. Please answer Mr Patterson's questions directly.
4 MR PATTERSON: The other matter is about petrol cars. It is well-know - and I
5 am sure we all have experience if we drive a petrol car - that they do produce
6 considerable emissions until they are warmed up, when the catalyst starts to
7 become effective.
8 A. The catalytic converter on the Euro 1 regulations was the huge step forward.
9 The fast warming cats and all the rest of it are coming behind. You are
10 absolutely right, there have been problems, second order problems, of the
11 warming up, but the pre-warming areas are receiving considerable attention.
12 Again, if the Inquiry is interested we can give you specific details of exactly
13 where we stand internationally on the regulations on that.
14 Q. One of the criticisms which could be made of the congestion charging
15 scheme is that in many cases it would do very little to prevent very short
16 journeys which are the most polluting ones.
17 A. Could you put that question again?
18 Q. One of the criticisms which can be made of the congestion charging scheme,
19 which is a cordon crossing point scheme, two cordons, is that it does nothing
20 to control a lot of short journeys within the City, which are the worst for
22 A. That is true, subject to what detailed information I am going to send you later.
23 Q. We are only able to consider the information that we have had provided
24 timeously to us.
25 A. OK.
26 Q. Looking at page 4 - unfortunately the paragraphs are not numbered - you are
27 alleging that transport authorities continue to invest scarce resources in low
28 value projects. We may have some idea from what you have said what sort
29 of things you mean, but could you give us some more detail about what you
30 are referring to as "low value projects"?
31 A. I know there is some economic experience on the panel, so can I start from
32 the premise that something that does not actually have a positive rate of
33 return is a low value project? But the typical return from many transport
34 projects can be - if you take safety schemes, for example, of which we are a
35 strong supporter and developer - low cost safety schemes will be expected to
36 pay their way and give 100/200% rate of return and pay themselves back in
37 the first six months or year.
38 If we take a typical road project, if you take Stephen Glaister's work,
1 Professor Stephen Glaister's work analyzing the rate of returns, you will find
2 that they are typically 2, 4 times their cost and certainly there are no road
3 projects, I do not think, with any of the administrations in England, Scotland
4 and Wales that are pursuing this that are not positive.
5 The traffic management return schemes are, again, rather like the
6 safety scheme returns: they would typically be a 100% rate of return, paying
7 their costs back within the year.
8 If we look at some of the public transport projects, you can, with
9 proper value engineering, get positive rates of return out of public transport
10 projects, but many of them simply fail. The problem with rail I hardly have to
11 go into at this point: it is a national problem which the Chancellor and
12 Treasury - it is well-known - are extremely concerned about.
13 Q. How do you get the very high rates of return on safety schemes?
14 A. Because they are extremely low cost. It costs
15 simple rule of thumb. It is just skid-resistant surfacing, it is proper marking of
16 bends, it is proper signing, converting traffic signals to roundabouts, re-
17 modernizing the layouts of junctions, head on accidents - putting safety
18 fencing down the centre of dual carriageway and so on. All these are
19 returning extremely high returns, even in Britain and Sweden, which are the
20 safest roads in Europe.
21 Q. It has been a curious fact. While casualty rates in the UK have been
22 relatively low for vehicle users, they have been higher than average in Europe
23 for pedestrians.
24 A. Yes, in aggregate we have the safest roads in Europe. In fact, the world just
25 at the moment. In Scotland, the deaths, I think - 76% of deaths are outside
26 built-up - is it 76? 76% of deaths are outside built-up areas, so they are
27 largely on the rural single carriageway roads and they are largely car
28 occupants. But what we have in the past been weak at, particularly in
29 Scotland, is pedestrian accidents, but I have heard recent good news on that
30 front: that it is getting better. Certainly child accidents is also an area where
31 we have not been doing as well relatively, and that is why the national target
32 is for 50% reduction rather than the 40% for adults.
33 Q. You made the point that not having a car of your own does not necessarily
34 mean that you cannot benefit from other people who have cars, but the
35 converse would be that even people who own and drive cars sometimes
36 depend on public transport.
37 A. And, in fact, had you let me make my amendments, I would have actually
38 wanted to emphasize that the converse is true. In a city like Edinburgh, public
1 transport is a precious thing. The buses in particular are used by all socio-
2 economic groups. That is really something to Edinburgh great credit. In fact,
3 one can only think of Central London where that is also true. That is
4 something that must be secured and maintained. It is very important.
5 However, it is a problem that we face. I understanding people's lives and how
6 they like to live them, realizing that people want choice and are in different
7 circumstances at different days of the week, different activities is important.
8 There is a huge misunderstanding in the profession that thinks that if
9 you have not got a car you are somehow a prisoner of the public transport
10 system. That is true to some very socially excluded groups, but actually the
11 reality is, statistically, there is more travel in buses and trains UK-wide and by
12 non-car-owning households - sorry, there is more travel by car from non-car-
13 owning households than on buses and trains. That, if you think about it, is
14 obviously true because car ownership is so prevalent and so wide-spread that
15 getting lifts is an everyday fact of life.
16 Q. Is that private cars only, or would it include private hire cars?
17 A. Gosh, I am quoting ----
18 Q. It is a concern of some of the parties to this Inquiry, what status they should
20 A. I cannot remember where taxis come into this. In my mind, taxis are
21 particularly relevant and important to social mix in Liverpool, Belfast and
22 Glasgow and that is where car ownership is spectacularly lower but taxi use is
23 spectacularly higher.
24 Q. You have made the point that any cost of running a car can be very significant
25 to people at the lowest end of those who can just about afford to do so. One
26 would expect that those who, other than from inclination or physical or other
27 disability, do not use cars - those who are least well-off of all tend not to be
28 car users and therefore would benefit from anything which promotes public
29 transport rather than car use.
30 A. We are actually in the middle of a research project on who does not use cars
31 at the moment. What I would love to do is to give you a quantified picture, but
32 it is not quite as you would think. There are more people who are
33 disqualified, more people who have medical conditions, more people who are
34 institutionalized than you might imagine when you add it all up, but as a
35 general working presumption the work we have done from Glaister shows that
36 it is largely an income-relating thing in the round.
37 If you take a city like Edinburgh, I am not as sure or as confident as I
38 would like to be what the make-up actually is, what the real reasons for non-
1 car - if I can give you some hard evidence, we have evidence from one of the
2 car hire companies in West London near Heathrow Airport that there is a
3 substantial lifestyle group who basically do not have cars out of choice but
4 hire cars at weekends, and what they want is a fast 24 hour service at
5 Heathrow - they can pick up a car at Heathrow and drop it off at any time.
6 They are willing to travel out of their way to Heathrow for that kind of level of
7 service. So there are some strange things going on in the non-car-owning
9 Q. It sounds almost like a private version of the City Car Club, of which we have
10 heard a little evidence.
11 A. Yes, on the Motorists Forum, we have reviewed the car clubs and, basically,
12 you have got a kind of trade-off. This is what we call "bangernomics", which
13 is impossible to beat - a properly run, legitimate car hire company - and the
14 car hire companies will stretch because they are very market astute - they will
15 extend into a car club market, if that is genuinely there.
16 What we find is that buying a car for
17 very difficult strategy to beat for people.
18 Q. Referring to shopping in Edinburgh, particularly the edge of town facilities -
19 this is the fifth page of your summary - and people having to pay a cordon
20 charge to use those, they would not at weekends and in the present version
21 of the scheme that we have before us they would not after 10 o'clock in the
22 morning. Can we take it that it is only a very small proportion of shopper from
23 outside Edinburgh who would have to pay the charge because they had to get
24 to a shop before 10 o'clock?
25 A. Any relaxation obviously relaxes the degree of criticism of that aspect of the
27 Q. You have referred to the escalation of costs of the London scheme and we
28 have already mentioned that the overall net revenue and costs of the scheme
29 will be a matter to which we are going to pay close attention.
30 In principle, however desirable exemptions may be for various
31 meritorious categories of users, as far as running a scheme efficiently in
32 terms of cost and revenue is concerned, there is merit in being very
33 parsimonious within the exemptions. Is that a reasonable proposition?
34 A. I know from global experience over a quarter of a century that the biggest
35 problem that societies face at any toll facility is exemptions. The celebrated
36 Hong Kong Cross Harbour Tunnel Authority was the most envied in the world
37 because even the police and fire engines had to pay to cross the tunnel, even
38 though in practise the paid later.
1 I think herein lies the kind of really troublesome part of any
2 congestion charging scheme like this. If you can pass through the hurdled of
3 collecting it efficiently (which many do not do), if you can pass through the
4 hurdles of finding a sensible way to use the revenue - you do not necessarily,
5 from the textbooks, have to use the revenue on new transport schemes, as in
6 Singapore, where they just give it back to the motorist. If you pass through
7 that, you are then left with these awful distributional choices. You see in
8 London things like the health service workers, where it is a real burden on the
9 health service, the fact that they have to reimburse these charges and the low
10 income workers. You start then beginning to add up all the exemptions and
11 you start to add up all the people who are actually paying through their
12 company, one way and another, and you begin to wonder what it is all for
13 after a while.
14 However, a central area is very different from the suburban areas.
15 One of the things I do want to emphasize - because I had not thought of it
16 until re-reading the evidence this morning - was how quick we were on the
17 Rockall* Group - the Government's London road pricing - how quick we were
18 all round that table, 25 of us, who were fairly proficient in these things, to
19 realize that the central area was a precious space and the rules did not have
20 to be the same in the central area as they had to be in the suburbs, because
21 the whole problem is more easily coped with on a qualitative basis.
22 Q. I am not quite sure what the difference is to which you are pointing between
23 inner and suburban areas and whether the same would be true for Edinburgh
24 as might be true for London.
25 A. My memory of cities is that 80% of people travel into Central London by public
26 transport and it is about 60% in Edinburgh - is that right? - with more walking
27 in. So when you get very high proportions of people who are not actually
28 travelling by car anyway you can do things which you cannot do if it is
29 reversed. In outer London, for example, the behaviour is exactly the same as
30 in typical UK cities. It is completely average in terms of car use and what-
31 have-you. There you find that 70/80% of trips are actually by car. So you are
32 impinging on all trips and everyday life in a way that you are not if you just
33 say, "When you come to the centre you have to obey these special rules."
34 Q. You are questioning why similar levels of investment cannot be secured in the
35 future for Edinburgh. This is your sixth page of the summary. If one was
36 sceptical, one might think that Edinburgh has been doing extraordinarily well
37 in the last few years and would be pretty well-advised not to expect such
38 generosity in the future from Government, at least when other areas wake up
1 to how generous the Government has been to Edinburgh.
2 A. Yes, I am tempted to make comments (and I must not) that when Glasgow
3 does badly Edinburgh does well and it has been the history - I think I would
4 like to make the rather more strategic comment that there is, in current
5 parlance, a seismic plate shifting at the moment and the realization that the
6 UK cannot go on investing at less than Europe, less than the rest of the G7. I
7 simply think that the case for transport investment can actually be advanced
8 today in a way that it could not 15/20 years ago. Why should we assume that
9 the economy cannot fund what the rest of the world's economy actually funds
10 without much undue grumble? I think the congestion charging scheme, to a
11 large extent, is a bit of a red herring.
12 If it could be popular and if people vote for it as a way of funding
13 transport, in other words it becomes, essentially, the municipal tax base, that
14 is one thing. If it is imposed against the will of people, it is a completely
15 different kettle of fish altogether.
16 What we have tried to do from the Trust's point of view and
17 internationally as a motoring organization is act as a technical watchdog to
18 check that these project are properly considered, they are developed and
19 they are not just an opportunistic, "Here we can grab some funds and spent
20 them on some projects that we would like to do but we've failed through other
21 means." That is a real risk, as is the substitution.
22 In the Netherlands and in Austria in particular, what happened is
23 worth recounting to you. Every other car had a protest sticker when they
24 discovered that the money that they thought was going for additional projects
25 was actually just substituting for current expenditure. That is the biggest
26 problem of all that I think these charging schemes face.
27 Q. When would that have been?
28 A. In Austria?
29 Q. In the Netherlands.
30 A. In the Netherlands, it was about 1999 and Austria was 1997, I think. Those
31 case studies are actually in the documents that you should have had. That
32 was an example of the population and motorists thinking exactly the same:
33 there was a 2% difference between motorists and citizens in general.
34 Q. The point in the executive summary on congestion charging in London one
35 year on - it is on the third page - "The purpose of traffic penalties must not be
36 to generate revenue but to achieve better compliance with regulations." I am
37 puzzled as to why it should not have both prefaces.
38 A. Can I give you a practical example? I think it is on the back of the cover. In
1 Singapore, they have a scheme in operation sign, so that when the scheme is
2 in operation if you drive through that sign saying, "Scheme in operation" you
3 know you have failed to comply. In London, there has been a surge of tickets
4 recently seconds before 6.30 when the scheme actually stops, reflecting the
5 fact that they are using the Rugby atomic clock.
6 The question there is, were they trying to raise revenue or were they
7 trying to increase compliance? Increasing compliance would have cost
8 money, they would have had to put the signs up. To get more revenue, they
9 just have to start enforcing to the letter of the law and use the Rugby clock. It
11 million additional revenue from penalties. That is how we know what they are
13 Q. I think you have pointed out why there is a problem if enforcement is very
14 draconian on the margins, but as a matter of principle why should not traffic
15 penalties be used to generate revenue, if they are not done with undue
16 harshness? What is wrong with the principle?
17 A. If the genuine purpose of it is to increase compliance, then I do not think that
18 you will find any objection. If money is extracted without making it easier for
19 people to comply - for example, our surveys show - you will see in there - that
20 40 or 50% of Londoners - and that is Londoners - do not actually know what
21 some of the rules are.
22 You need to imagine yourself in outer London. You may have heard
23 a bit about the congestion charging scheme, but if you live in Barnet or
24 Watford or Bromley out in the London suburbs, your every day is not worrying
25 about, "What happens if I drive in Central London?" It is actually quite difficult
26 for people to know how they are supposed to comply. This is a constant
28 One of our objections to the scheme is that there is much more
29 interest in raising money through the revenue stream than there is in actually
30 making it easier for people to comply with the regulations. So that they are
31 making a lot of money from people who are not wilful offenders. That is
32 where we draw the line. We would throw the book at wilful offenders, people
33 who are cloning number plates and all the rest of it need to be gone for in a
34 big way. We have no problem with that. But, really, people who accidentally
35 fail to comply simply because they are not told and it is not made easier, that
36 is not acceptable. What we are saying is, the authorities are much more
37 interested in chasing the revenue than they are in making it easier for people
38 to comply.
1 Q. If the enforcement is done fairly, it is not a wrong principle, seeking revenue
2 from it.
3 A. If people feel that it is fair, we do not have any fundamental problem, but
4 perhaps the scale of what is going on in London - I am not getting that over to
6 PROFESSOR BEGG: Are you suggesting that it would happen
7 in Edinburgh?
8 A. My experience ----
9 Q. Yes or no?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You are suggesting that this would happen in Edinburgh.
12 A. I am suggesting if there are problems on revenue and if there is pressure on
13 revenue then human beings in organizations tend to follow the money. It is
14 one of those pressures that you have to guard against, and there have to be
15 watchdogs and all the rest of it to guard against.
16 MR PATTERSON: Otherwise it is just like - to take another example - speed
17 enforcement cameras: if they are doing the job of discouraging people from
18 speeding and thereby causing additional risk of death and injury on the roads
19 and also raising revenue, there is no harm in it.
20 A. You are entering a complex field where our research work is basically
21 showing a huge disengagement of motorists and drivers with them in general.
22 I think we have a strategic problem the like of which I have not seen in my
23 career before to rebuild confidence.
24 Q. Although, in general, these may be popular schemes.
25 A. My real concern is that the real safety schemes that are making a difference
26 may become less acceptable because of, shall we say, some over-energetic
27 pursuit of avenues which may be philosophically right in academic circles but
28 when you get it out on the street it just loses popular support.
29 Q. A comment on page 6 of the same document: "The vast majority of
30 Londoners are, of course, unaffected by it", meaning the congestion charging
31 scheme. I was puzzled by that, because everybody in London must be
32 affected in some way or another. Anybody who lives in or goes through or is
33 ever in the congestion charging area must be affected if there is considerably
34 less traffic.
35 A. I think visitors to London will think more about the centre. London is a city of
36 8/9 million people, depending on how you define it, and most people live and
37 work locally. It is a city of many cities and many villages, many towns. The
38 centre of London is just one small location which we all know about because
1 it is such a shared space.
2 Q. Some few tens of thousands of households are in the congestion charging
3 area, are they not?
4 A. We are getting to the difference between proportions and absolute numbers.
5 In size, of course, it is a significant size, but London is a huge metropolis of 9
6 million people with 30, 40, 50 towns in that conurbation.
7 Q. Are you saying that most Londoners will not go into the centre of London ----
8 A. Certainly not by car.
9 Q. We are not just talking about drivers. The proposition I am trying to put to you
10 is that it is not just drivers who are affected. Other people may be beneficially
12 A. I am putting two propositions. Firstly, that most Londoners - I have not got
13 the regularity statistics, but I am very confident that most Londoners in a year
14 will not go into Central London. Secondly, if they do, it is an 80% probability
15 they will not go by car and, therefore, the scheme will not even cross their
16 radar. You only notice the congestion charging scheme if you are driving.
17 Q. These Londoners who, when they do visit, do not go by car would, from what
18 we have heard, experience considerably less traffic and less pollution.
19 A. You have got this romantic notion. This is in the early days of the scheme.
20 With any traffic management scheme, you have got this huge tail off of
21 people coming in. Indeed, in London it was actually marked well before the
22 scheme even started as people prepared for it, but if you were to travel to
23 London today I do not think you would find perceptions - a huge difference
24 over what you noticed two years ago. That is partly because the roadworks
25 have returned, which were abandoned, and it is partly because the Mayor -
26 this is a value judgment I do not have a problem with - has increasingly taken
27 some of the capacity gains back for amenity purposes. What you will see
28 from our traffic speed surveys which were done by ITIS* is that towards the
29 end of the first 12 months you begin to see the first turn down of the traffic
30 speeds. There is a suggestion that the speeds are actually going down
31 again. But traffic fell by about 16%. The traffic speeds in Central London
32 over the year we measured went up by 2 mph.
33 Q. Presumably, if ground is being taken away from roads and allocated to other
34 purposes, this is beneficial in other respects.
35 A. Yes, as I said, this is a value judgment and I do not have any particular
36 quarrel with people making clear value judgments that say, "I'm trading this
37 for this." I think the problem is that, in terms of presentation, it is really quite
38 important that politicians tell people what they are doing and why they are
1 doing it.
2 MR PATTERSON: Thank you.
3 MR MacBRYDE: Can I attempt to understand your position regarding road user
4 charging? Would it be fair to say that you are in favour of tolling or taxing or
5 imposing some other form of road user charging, provided it is 100% devoted
6 to private transport?
7 A. No. We have had a number of studies done at Cambridge and LSE to try
8 and put a fairly holistic - I am sorry for using that word, which is over-used -
9 approach to this. Can I give you a number of strands of the problem? The
10 word "volatile" that you hear used is a word that was first written by the AA to
11 the Chancellor about five years ago, which was really beginning to sound the
12 warning that being reliant for so much revenue on a single commodity like oil
13 that was inherently volatile was a risky strategy.
14 You may think that that is a long way from the question you asked,
15 but actually, on the Government's road user charging group, these are central
16 questions which we are trying to address with Treasury and others.
17 Q. I will put the question in another way, if I may.
18 A. Can I just ----
19 MR PATTERSON: It is always very helpful in an inquiry like this if we do get
20 questions answered directly. We have some idea of the questions we would
21 like to put.
22 MR MacBRYDE: If you do not believe in 100% hypothecation of charging to
23 private means of transport, what proportion would you accept?
24 A. We have tried, in particular in the UK legislation, to get the test of local
25 acceptability, which is very well put in the Scottish procedures. But to actually
26 answer that question, this is about giving people choices that they can
27 actually vote for or not.
28 If you take Oslo, for example, with the 80/20 split, you can get a
29 benchmark of what the good citizens of Oslo actually found acceptable.
30 There is no answer to that question. It is very much a question,
31 fundamentally, of what adds up, what will actually deliver the goals that you
32 are actually trying to achieve that the population want and will then vote for.
33 There is no philosophical split between public and private transport.
34 What works is the governing test.
35 Q. As an hypothesis you have given us very useful figures. You had to consult
36 your colleague on the split, but I think they are probably sufficiently accurate
37 for my purposes.
38 There is a 60/40 split, public/private transport modes entering Central
1 Edinburgh and we will take that as a working figure. Would you think that a
2 60/40 split would be an accepted one in Edinburgh, in other words if 60% of
3 the revenue were devoted to private motoring?
4 A. I think you are not reflecting the answer I have given you earlier: it is what
5 people regard as reasonable, as the package that they want to vote for.
6 What I can do is tell you of analogies around different places of what tends to
7 work and people find acceptable.
8 If you found a fabulous tram proposal that cracked congestion and
9 motorists turned to it in huge numbers, 100% of the money could go to public
10 transport, if you put it like that, but the current package looks to me as a very
11 low yield package: it does not seem to be delivering the kind of congestion
12 relief, it does not seem to be returning to those that are paying the kind of
13 benefits that you would expect.
14 It is a question really of, what is the proposition that works in front of
15 people? It is not a philosophical public/private ----
16 Q. In other words, investment should be governed by the perception of the
17 private motorist rather than public sector involvement.
18 A. Again, we enter the area of tax and charge, do we not? If you are proposing
19 a taxation scheme on which the citizens are voting, you can have one
20 solution; if you are proposing a charging scheme, then the services delivered
21 have to be relevant to those that are paying. I think we need to be quite
22 careful where we are in all this. I know there is deliberate fudge because of
23 the constitutional settlement and this is an area of some sensitivity and I do
24 not really want to go there too much, because I am sure the Inquiry is outside
25 its locus as well if it does so. But one needs to have at the back of one's
26 mind in this the difference between a charge and a tax is actually pretty
28 Q. Our problem is that we are faced with a charging order which is pretty specific
29 about its application and the means of diverging its revenue; in other words,
30 we have got a comprehensive package of charging and investment in public
31 transport. What you are inviting us to do is to advise the City Council to
32 abandon this in favour of a more nebulous package which you cannot
33 precisely describe, but you seem to think it would be acceptable if a majority
34 felt it to be acceptable. I am not sure that this is really a very helpful choice to
36 A. Let me make it easier. The first proposition is, is this Inquiry surprised - is a
37 question I put for you to consider - that the benefits from this project are
38 negative? That is a complete shock to me. I am really surprised that that
1 should be the case, to bring forward a package of negative economic return
2 schemes. And that should be a warning that this package of proposals that
3 has been brought forward does not pass a rationality test.
4 What I am really saying is, the Inquiry would be very sensible indeed
5 in my view if it were to say that this package needs to be reconsidered so that
6 it at least passes a reasonable hurdle rate of value for money. That is not
7 nebulous. The Council have put forward a package and told us that it expects
8 to actually damage the wealth of South-East Scotland.
9 Q. You have not given us many examples of how we can build our way out of the
10 problem, but you have actually, helpfully, instanced one. You consider the
11 connection between Central Edinburgh and the City by-pass would be useful
12 in solving the problems of congestion, do you not?
13 A. If I were to go further, I would say the value engineering of some of the public
14 transport schemes needs a lot of work. I am surprised if this is the case and,
15 again, I have tried to help the Inquiry and actually give a wider perspective,
16 which we hope is valuable to you, but we have not got the in-depth
17 geographic analysis, that is not what we are offering.
18 What I am surprised at, if it is true, is that a busway is about to be
19 built and before the busway is built we are talking about upgrading it to a tram
20 system. I would be thinking about the learning process before I made a
21 decision to upgrade the busway to a tram system. I would regard that as a
22 fundamentally vital thing to do. What is the incremental value of upgrading
23 from the busway to the tramway? I do not know. Is this part of the risk
24 strategy that is before you? Certainly, the costs of the upgrade seem to have
25 been decided as a matter of faith, but there is an example of value
26 engineering on the public transport side. Are there not more public transport
27 schemes that could be brought forward that actually target the trips that car
28 drivers are actually making? The park and ride proposals are good.
29 Q. That is a matter to which we have given consideration and to which I will
30 return shortly. I am going to take you back to the west approach road. Do
31 not worry if you are not familiar with the details, because I will supply them for
32 you. Do you know the history of the west approach road; do you know what
33 it previously was?
34 A. I really can confess - ten years ago, fifteen years ago, I might have know what
35 I was told by somebody.
36 Q. I will tell you what it was. It was a multi-track mainline railway and it converted
37 to a roadway. One of the effects of its conversion was to allow the closure of
38 one of the two terminal stations in Edinburgh. The effect of that was to funnel
1 all long-distance traffic, east coast-west coat up to Aberdeen into one terminal
2 station in Edinburgh, which, from the point of view of transport rationalization,
3 was an excellent one. The trouble was that it used up all available capacity in
4 Edinburgh Waverley and we have precisely looked at the possibility of
5 reintroducing suburban train services in the City, and the City has received a
6 report from W S Atkins to the effect that it is not a feasible proposition
7 because there is no spare capacity left in the station. In other words, we have
8 made a shift from a public transport facility to a motoring facility at the
9 expense of any spare capacity. You will see the immediate moral of that, I
10 am sure.
11 Moreover, I would invite you to consider the example of the west
12 approach road, because since it was a converted railway it runs from Princes
13 Street Station more or less to a position on the Edinburgh/Glasgow railway
14 line. Therefore, if you wanted a new road facility to the west to connect with
15 the ring road, all you have to do is to tarmac over the Edinburgh/Glasgow
16 railway line and it would give a distance of perhaps 4 km, which would cost
17 next to nothing in terms of conversion. That seems to be where your logic is
19 A. I am very surprised at the line of questioning that is coming because nothing -
20 nothing - I had said has indicated any such - you are challenging, and I
21 understand that, but these propositions are basically ludicrous and a million
22 miles away from modern thinking or what we are actually saying.
23 What people are saying who think about these problems is that you
24 cannot expect to solve road congestion problems solely by public transport
25 improvements: you have to address the road network as well.
26 What is economically, environmentally and financially viable is the
27 challenge. That is why I go on and on about the value engineering and trying
28 to find solutions. What I am pointing out - which is undeniable - is that the
29 package before you is economically negative. That is basically not a good
30 package. What it is saying is, "You lose money if you proceed in this way.
31 You will be less wealthy." It is a long way from that proposition to say, "Let's
32 tarmac over the Waverley railroad." I do not see how on earth that advances
34 What we are looking for is to serve a prosperous economy that is
35 growing with smarter transport and more effective capacity. Pricing is
36 something that we have actually helped shape the legislation for so that,
37 certainly south of the border, it passes tests of public acceptability and value
38 for money.
1 If it is the case that the Scottish legislation has found a way round the
2 value for money test, I would be absolutely appalled - if that is the case.
3 MR PATTERSON: We need to make a distinction between value for money tests
4 for particular transport projects and a modelling result for the overall effects of
5 the scheme on the economy of Edinburgh. They are not the same thing.
6 A. I would fundamentally agree with that and amenity is worth paying for. One of
7 the great things that you can actually measure is that you can reduce
8 capacity, for example, pedestrianize a high street, and actually have an
9 economically positive result in terms of its being a more appealing place to
10 come, but that is the test that you actually have - you have to convince
11 yourself that the amenity advantages and the appeal is outweighed by the
12 reduced access if you do that.
13 Therefore, if I can just sum up - again - value for money tests are
14 vital; the value engineering is vital; this package before the Inquiry is pretty
15 weak, in my judgment, and it is something of great concern. It is also of
16 concern that a particular group is actually being asked to pay for this and I
17 would hope this Inquiry would be really wishing to probe why these particular
18 projects being put forward are the best that can actually be done. To what
19 extent do you believe - is a good question for you - that because money
20 seems to be available from some source that was not hitherto available -
21 have projects come forward which have not actually got a proper genesis
22 grounded in problem solving?
23 Q. I think I have got the message, thank you very much. I would be more
24 impressed if you had an alternative set of measures to put before us.
25 However, let us leave it at that.
26 MR MacBRYDE: Let us turn to basics. You are familiar with the essential thesis
27 of the Buchanan Report, are you not?
28 A. Yes, a dear old man.
29 Q. You know what Buchanan had to say, broadly speaking, about traffic
31 A. Indeed, I had the pleasure of dining with him just before he died.
32 Q. You remember his essential concept of rooms and corridors, in other words,
33 that through traffic and traffic having no business in the neighbourhood
34 should be restricted to a framework of roads and, in between, environmental
35 considerations should prevail?
36 A. And, indeed, these principles are coming hard in international safety thinking
37 back to the fore again, yes.
38 Q. You broadly accept that approach to traffic management, do you?
1 A. I think that it is an appealing thesis, yes.
2 Q. Yesterday we had an objector who was suggesting in a rather different sense
3 from you that the basic investment package following road user charging was
4 flawed in the sense that the City Council should adopt true Buchanan
5 principles and attempt to reduce traffic in that way.
6 I was obliged to point out to him, since I have some considerable
7 experience of the matter, that the reason why the environmental area concept
8 was not widely introduced was the fact that it tended to displace traffic onto
9 perimeter roads which could not take it and for which money could not easily
10 be found to improve.
11 A. In Britain, yes.
12 Q. That is right.
13 A. Less so in countries like Germany and Holland.
14 Q. The City Council's approach to this problem is an entirely positive one: they
15 are saying that, since you cannot introduce environmental management
16 measures in the situation of static or growing traffic volumes, the one thing
17 you should do is to try to reduce traffic volumes to allow you to carry out
18 environmental management. Do you have a problem with that approach?
19 A. No, if I go back a quarter of a century with the concept of environmental
20 capacity that was being developed, again, that is an equally appealing thesis:
21 that if an area cannot cope then you should not allow the kind of activities in
22 planning terms and ----
23 Q. You mean the land use activities?
24 A. Yes, that is right. "This corridor has an environmental capacity of so much
25 and therefore we must restrict activity." In effect, you see that if we look out
26 to the west of Edinburgh. I had not been to Edinburgh for a little while. Every
27 time I come, I notice the growth. That is, effectively, what is happening and it
28 is what has happened in London, incidentally, to the detriment of the inner
29 ring area: the activity is moving out to where the transport capacity is more
30 available to cope with it.
31 There is a logic in city centres in particular, is there not, of making
32 them more suitable for commercial, for leisure and governmental and court
33 purposes. You can see that trend happening in cities. Some of you are
34 urban geographers and I do not need to labour the point, but your
35 fundamental question I think is, "Wouldn't it be nice not to be between a rock
36 and a hard place? If we had the money, as in Germany and the Netherlands,
37 to create things like tunnelled access and all the rest of it, the Buchanan
38 theory might work."
1 There is another theory that basically says you limit activity to the
2 environmental capacity you have available and, again, in the real world we
3 live in a hybrid between the two.
4 Q. We have at this Inquiry been using the word "congestion" as a sort of
5 shorthand. We have been exploring the meaning of congestion and its
6 definition and its measurement and so forth. I would invite you to agree with
7 me that traffic congestion is really not so much a symptom but a syndrome;
8 in other words, it is a bundle of effects which, together, constitute congestion
9 or congestion has a multitude of effects which are harmful and which should
10 be remedied.
11 Traffic congestion, it seems to me, results in at least five identifiable
12 harmful effects on the environment: there is noise; there is pollution; there is
13 delay to journeys; there is community severance; and there is the incident of
15 It seems to me that the road user charging scheme in Edinburgh
16 addresses all these points. Actually, it does not address all of them as fully
17 as we would wish - for example, noise has been to some extent overlooked in
18 the calculations of the post charging situation. We have asked for more
19 evidence to look at this.
20 Would you not agree that to mitigate these effects it is necessary to
21 induce a fairly significant modal change between private and public transport?
22 A. I have not seen the evidence of the environmental assessments you have
23 had before you. I can recall considerable relief from political figures - I
24 remember when I was lecturing in Austria recently when I urged the political
25 leaders to think in terms of demanding the outputs and not the intermediates
26 like mode shift targets.
27 I see no logic whatsoever in concentrating on modal shift targets. I
28 see all the logic in concentrating on the outcomes of reduced noise, reduced
29 emissions and so forth.
30 If you will allow me something on the emissions front, we argued till
31 we were blue in the fact that the global warming target would be much more
32 effectively done by getting hold of a group of European manufacturers and
33 actually getting them to agree to produce more fuel efficient figures than
34 anything else.
35 In the latest review - I chaired an advisory committee on business and
36 the environment, a review for Government - we found that that single
37 measure was more effective than all the other measures Government was
38 pursuing added together.
1 The regulatory action on toxic emissions was way beyond anything
2 the environmental groups were calling for, because we simply concentrated
3 on the outcome: what are we after?
4 You very correctly and in a very direct and appealing way listed the
5 environmental outputs. One of the problems with traffic is that a lot of the
6 benefits environmentally are logarithmically based, so if you can get rid of all
7 traffic you make one hell of a difference to people; if you get rid of 5 or 10%
8 of it, they can hardly notice it. A lot of the scales and noise and severance
9 are logarithmic in this way.
10 So there is a lot more appeal, it appears to me, in getting rid of traffic
11 through tunnels, through pedestrianizing high streets than there is in making
12 10, 15, 20% shifts which people do not actually notice in their daily lives.
13 If we are looking at environmental outcomes, specific local dramatic
14 improvements are, to me, professionally much more appealing than small
15 shifts of this, that and the other where you have to invite a statistician in to tell
16 you that things have got better.
17 Q. But you have concentrated on one aspect. I have listed five. There may be
18 others, but this is not necessarily an exhaustive list. I have listed five effects
19 of congestion and you have concentrated on one, but there are the others.
20 A. Noise, severance and emissions are logarithmic.
21 Q. I will repeat the list. Noise, atmospheric pollution, delay, severance and
23 A. The safety one - I have to tell you that safety is also very logarithmic if you are
24 doing aggregate models. It is logarithmic, but it is a much more complicated
25 thing. In the London congestion charging scheme, people suddenly got hold
26 of the worry and concern that would this not lead to more motorcyclists, would
27 not this lead to higher speeds and therefore more accidents? Suddenly,
28 people stopped advocating the safety argument, because they were
29 uncertain, and the numbers are still very uncertain. I would like to take the
30 safety out, because I think you can address safety with very specific
31 measures indeed. They have to be local and specific to areas.
32 The others, like noise, toxic pollution and severance, are, I would
33 submit, fairly logarithmically related. The delay stuff is again more
34 complicated than logarithmic, but it has a logarithmic nature to it.
35 I come back to this fundamental point that you can reduce traffic
36 levels by 15/16% and get a disproportionate effect if you are in the right set of
37 circumstances on congestion. You can address safety with specifics, but
38 noise, pollution and severance are about more extreme changes, if you want
1 changes that people will notice.
2 I am sorry, I am not articulating this very clearly, but you are trying to
3 bundle five things in a crisp idea.
4 The three key environmental ones are very logarithmic; the other two
5 are pretty specific in terms of the actions and interventions you have to make.
6 Q. May I put a final set of questions to you? This is regarding park and ride.
7 You will probably gather that one of the features of the investment package
8 which we are invited to consider is the formation of park and ride on the outer
9 cordon. Presumably, in general terms, you approve of that as a measure to
10 effect modal switch or reduce congestion.
11 A. The choice of park and ride, we find from surveys, is popular. I think we all
12 understand the down sides of park and ride in making park and ride sites
13 environmentally and economically acceptable, but certainly motorists like the
14 choice and, under the right circumstances, will use park and ride.
15 Q. The problem with park and rides, I have found in my professional experience,
16 is that it has got to be a comprehensive measure, in other words, it is just not
17 merely finding the terminals and suitable locations it is also ensuring clearway
18 provision to the city centre or the urban centre.
19 What you are advocating in the hot lane proposal is filling up bus
20 lanes with cars so that the bus journeys are delayed.
21 A. I object, because that is fundamentally to turn it on its head. What you are
22 basically saying with the hot lane is, in fact, the customers revolt if there are
23 any delays. What they are buying - if you look at the American literature, you
24 will see this over and over again - is that they are buying the guaranteed
25 journey time, just as the park and ride bus service is buying the guaranteed
26 journey time. You have failed dismally if you run a hot lane and you end up
27 where you are. The whole point of operating this is to make sure you never
28 let customers experience that degraded service, otherwise you have failed
30 Q. I must admit, this concept is not new to me, because there was quite an
31 interesting article in the Institute of Transport Journal about a year ago by
32 some academic, who was suggesting precisely what you are suggesting: the
33 hot lane.
34 Interestingly enough, you use an American example. That strikes me
35 as being somewhat significant, because American freeways, inter-state
36 highways, are typically multi-lane. In Great Britain, we have a situation where
37 the typical radial route is more likely to be three, four or five lanes wide and I
38 doubt the practical possibility of sharing a bus lane with private vehicles
1 because private vehicles would get held up behind buses which were taking
2 on and discharging passengers. Do you think that is quite a difficult practical
3 problem to overcome?
4 A. We get back to the site specifics. One of the problems with the bus lanes
5 that we have at the moment is that buses pull out into the remaining traffic
6 because a bus is stopping, dropping people off, and what you have to do on a
7 system like this is design it properly. It will not work or you will have to have
8 much, much lower flows if you do not have pull-ins and bus stops or stations
9 or whatever you wish to call them for people that are picking up and dropping
11 I think you need to have in your mind that you have got a piece of
12 scarce real estate in terms of transport corridors. How can I most efficiently
13 use that corridor to the best effect?
14 Q. It is interesting that you should instance the case of buses pulling out,
15 because that is one of the aspects of Traffic Management (Edinburgh), which
16 has been criticized in this Inquiry: that bus embayment has been abandoned
17 in favour of either kerbside loading or a build out in favour of buses. That is
18 not regarded well by some of the objectors.
19 A. Did I not start by saying what a complex and challenging problem this all is
20 and the best is the enemy of the good? The question simply is, you have got
21 to be much more focused in looking forward about how you can extract value
22 from the space that you have got.
23 MR MacBRYDE: Thank you very much indeed.
24 PROFESSOR BEGG: Good morning. Could I just begin,
25 please, by asking you a couple of fairly fundamental questions? Why is the
26 AA Motoring Trust appearing at the Inquiry?
27 A. Because our charitable objectives can be summed up by the words
28 "championing the rights and safety of road users".
29 Q. Thank you. So you appear at this Inquiry for the sole purpose of promoting
30 the interests of road users.
31 A. In general.
32 Q. On whom you depend for your business.
33 A. No. We are a charity.
34 Q. How are you funded?
35 A. We are funded from grants from the European Commission, from the FIA
36 Foundation, from the AA, from insurance companies and so forth.
37 Q. Can we just be clear as to what you mean by "road users"? It is a somewhat
38 vague expression and some people even consider pedestrians to be road
2 A. Pedestrians are road users, hauliers are road users, bus riders are road
3 users. Anything that I have said this morning that actually appears in any way
4 partial to you, I apologise for. I think you have been making assumptions that
5 I have never been saying. I have been very clear that it is in the interests of
6 road users to improve train services if it reduces congestion. I have said all
7 these things very clearly.
8 MR PATTERSON: It is just that we have not really heard very much from you
9 promoting the specific interests of pedestrians.
10 A. In terms of the safety point of view, I think you made very important points
11 and, indeed, some of our work on elderly pedestrian accidents, for example,
12 is very well regarded.
13 PROFESSOR BEGG: You are branded as the Automobile Association, of
15 A. We are branded as - yes. This historic roots are very clear: everybody knows
16 what the roots of the AA Motoring Trust are. It was founded a hundred years
17 ago to champion the interests of pioneer motorists in Parliament.
18 Q. You have been very clear and it has been very helpful to us that you have
19 emphasized on a couple of occasions that the best can be the enemy of the
20 good. I do not think anybody appearing at this Inquiry - and that includes the
21 Council - believes that this is the best scheme that could possibly have been
22 produced, but I suppose our problem is to establish whether it is good enough
23 in terms of the criteria that we have been set.
24 A. I think you are right. As a practical mainstream organisation, I am in a sense
25 a bit sorry that the package of measures is economically negative. To me
26 that crosses a red line in terms of acceptability.
27 Q. But you in no doubt as to what we are doing by asking these questions: what
28 the remit of the Inquiry is?
29 A. You asked - it is a helpful question - what is our objective in coming today:
30 basically we are looking to develop these schemes - there is an element of
31 experiment here, as London was, which is to be commended - and innovation
32 - and what we are really trying to do is hope that this scheme could actually
33 be evolved to something, firstly, as a first criteria that people would actually
34 vote for. The referendum is extremely welcome. That is a fundamental test
35 which makes us relax, because if people vote for this then they vote for it.
36 Secondly, in the technical area, I think it has to be said that the
37 transport package is weak and we do hope that you will really draw attention
38 to this and a lot more energy has to go into developing ----
1 Q. Let us come to that, because you have gone to some trouble to broaden our
2 horizons with the tour of world experience and also to draw on the London
3 experience. All of that, of course, is very valuable.
4 Could I get down to one or two specifics? I am reading from your
5 main precognition here. The AA Trust - let us call them "the Trust" ----
6 A. Please.
7 Q. -- so there is no problem. The Trust view on charging. What do you regard
8 as being the purpose of this charge; why are we here at all?
9 A. Around the world ----
10 Q. No, I am talking about the Edinburgh charge. Please believe that we have
11 had our horizons widened, that we are well informed as to the basic principles
12 of road charging, but you have agreed with me that the purpose that we are
13 here is to focus on Edinburgh. It would be helpful, please.
14 A. I am surprised that the act of charging alone has not produced an economic
15 benefit and that has shocked me somewhat. I cannot think of any other
16 scheme of this sort where that has happened, though I do remember in
17 Singapore the cost of electronic implementation were at one point so high
18 they postponed it for three or four years to go back and re-think.
19 Going back to Smead and all the rest of it, the purpose of charging
20 alone should be to deliver some benefit. Then you have to think what you do
21 with the revenue. Now, I think the scheme has gone a bit topsy-turvey. If you
22 look at the promotional literature, it is very much a financial proposition in
23 terms of, "If we charge this, we get all these packages of schemes." I had
24 assumed that the main purpose of congestion charging was to manage
25 congestion more efficiently and better. Then the revenue is recycled to
26 people in a way that they benefit from.
27 This is an extremely important part of the fairness consideration.
28 Q. I think this is splendid, because at one stage I thought we might be talking a
29 different language, but in fact that is right. If we take Smead - let us leave
30 Buchanan to one side for a moment - my understanding - and I think it has
31 been confirmed broadly by the Council - is that the point about introducing the
32 congestion charge was an attempt to make the best use of existing roads by
33 matching the demand for these roads to the existing supply and that is why I
34 was taking a slight issue with you about the hot roads and all the rest of it,
35 where we are talking about building new roads.
36 It may be that improvements to existing roads are all part of it, but I
37 think we are agreed between you and I that the purpose is to make the best
38 use of existing roads by matching demand to supply and that one way of
1 using the revenues is to recycle that money into alternatives to the private car.
2 A. One way of doing it is that. The Singapore model is another.
3 Q. Leave Singapore out of this. This is not a nation state; this is not
4 hypothecation in the particular way that they do it; we are talking about
5 Edinburgh, please.
6 The problem in Edinburgh, can we agree, is the problem of the peak
7 in terms of the information that you would have from your members and from
8 other information? At 3 o'clock in the morning, for instance, there is no
10 A. At 3 o'clock in the morning there is no congestion. It is a specific problem in
11 Edinburgh and it is a specific problem internationally about the inter-peak
12 charge. It is a big issue.
13 Q. The problem is one of the peak. Does your trust subscribe to the concept of
14 sustainable development?
15 A. Absolutely no problem. That, and one of our objectives is environmental.
16 Q. One of the basic concepts - I have tested this with others and perhaps we
17 might be able to agree as well - there are three legs to this sustainable
18 development stool: one is to try to produce goods and services for the
19 current generation; secondly, to distribute those equitably amongst the
20 current generation; and, thirdly, to try to conserve resources for future
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. One of the ways in which one goes about conserving resources for future
24 generations is through the conservation of buildings. For instead, World
25 Heritage Sites. Secondly, conservation of land for the use of future
26 generations, either for alternative uses to, for instance, roads or just simply to
27 enjoy it.
28 A. Yes.
29 Q. So that there is a perfectly reasonable case to be made for - before one
30 builds new roads or gets involved in any type of works which might damage
31 buildings or areas which are deemed to be worthy of conservation - making
32 the best use of existing resources, existing roads.
33 A. Yes, but, as I put it, we have a working presumption against road building. It
34 is something you do when other things do not make sense.
35 Q. Please, I am happy for you to have clarified that point, because I am sure you
36 would have wanted to do so.
37 A. Indeed.
38 Q. There is a working presumption against the building of new roads. Like you, I
1 share a difficulty with process rather than outcomes. Could I just come to the
2 outcomes which really seem to disturb you very badly? First of all - again,
3 please help me if I am not quoting you correctly - your real problem is that the
4 benefits from the charge are negative, that is to say, it does not pass a
5 rationality test. That is the essence of it.Fife
6 We have already found that there is a business case here which says
7 that the schemes are capable of being funded over a 20 year period, so there
8 is another way of looking at this: can the schemes be funded?
9 Thirdly, I might be wrong here, but you seem to assume that that is
10 the end of the matter. However, have you heard of the Scottish Transport
11 Appraisal Guidance issued by Ministers in July 2001? It is a requirement of
12 the Scottish Executive that all projects for which it provides support or
13 approval shall be appraised in accordance with the guidance.
14 A. That is what I expected, and that is why I referred to the institutions ----
15 Q. But you thought that such an appraisal did not exist, that such guidance had
16 not been issued, did you not?
17 A. No, I was replying to, "Are you aware that economic return is not a part of
18 what we have to look into?", or words to that effect. I said, "I would be
19 shocked if there was not some institutional structure that required that", and
20 you are really ----
21 Q. Are you now no longer shocked? Are you reassured?
22 A. I am unsurprised to be not shocked.
23 Q. These are three different ways of looking at a project. I am not suggesting
24 that all of them lock: we know that they do not.
25 A. You have taken me down a theme and I realise that I have to give you some
26 information about pricing. Because most of the vehicle hours - travel, if you
27 like - is consumed on the strategic road network, what is beginning to
28 emerged in the chattering classes is that things like hot lanes, where you are
29 charging on the arterials, are having the same effect as a charging city-wide.
30 So I would not want you to think that this is charging for new roads. Charging
31 for use of scarce capacity has the same effect as but is more acceptable to
32 people. It is evaluating things like hot lanes against charging alternatives.
33 Let me give you a second big analogy, which is this. Here we are,
34 million on
35 collecting the charge.
36 Q. Could I come to that in a line of questioning? It is something which is very
37 interesting and I really would like to go into that in some detail. I read very
38 carefully your assessment of the London scheme, and it seemed to me that
1 this was something that was important. I would like to come to that.
2 Just quickly on hot lanes. This is really for my information. Is it
3 possible to think of a bus lane as simply a very crude hot lane; in other
4 words, rather than charging for the lane, you are enforcing?
5 A. Not really, because you are not introducing the principle of pricing for
6 management or pricing for finance.
7 Q. I would rather leave hot lanes to one side, because I gather that you do not
8 make a proposal for a hot lane in Edinburgh at the moment and I think it
9 would be fair to say that the transport officials in Edinburgh are extremely well
10 versed in the principles.
11 A. I should hope so.
12 Q. I think it would be quite wrong to think otherwise. I am sorry, but I am going to
13 have to go into a number of matters in a little bit of detail. You tell me that
14 worldwide experience and British mathematical models show it is not
15 necessary to increase charges overall to reduce congestion. Let us leave
16 worldwide experience out of it and come to the British mathematical models.
17 Firstly, can you tell me where those are and, secondly, is this simply a
18 taster, if you like, for your proposition that, in fact, traffic management
19 schemes should be looked at a jolly sight more carefully than they have
21 A. I am a member of the Government's Road User Charging Group, which has
22 not reported, but I can refer you to the Independent Transport Commission's
23 work from Professor Stephen Glaister, which looked at what happens if we
24 priced according to congestion and produced a revenue-neutral return to the
25 Treasury. What you find in that model is, surprise, surprise, congestion - and
26 this is why I underline again my shock that this proposal did not work - what
27 you find is that in the urban areas the charges go up and in the rural areas
28 the charges go down and the revenue neutral solution is very, very close to
29 an economically optimum solution.
30 Q. I am sorry, the question I asked you was this. British mathematical models
31 show it is not necessary to increase charges overall to reduce congestion.
32 A. That is what the Glaister model for the ITC.
33 Q. Is that published on their website?
34 A. Yes, it should be on the Independent Transport Commission's website.
35 Q. I am obliged to you. I just want to make sure I am fully informed.
36 A. But can I emphasize you how right you are to pursue that particular thought
37 process in the light of what might happen?
38 Q. Thank you. The City of Edinburgh Council. I am now on page 4 and it says,
1 "The City of Edinburgh Council have failed to quantify the levels of congestion
2 that Edinburgh road users would rate as unacceptable." My understanding is
3 that they have gone quite a long way in trying to establish what would be
4 acceptable and what would be unacceptable.
5 A. Yes, I think that in our shorter version we actually were more precise. The
6 criticism that we have is that the benchmarks and the different ways in which
7 that may be attacked have not been well addressed, in our view. By take a
8 "build your way out of it with roads" approach as a scenario can tell you
9 things, but it does not take you towards an optimum package.
10 Q. You have used that phrase on a number of occasions, "try to build you way
11 out of trouble". I would just like to have a look at that. I do not see Edinburgh
12 with a very large road building scheme here, so you must be referring to ----
13 A. There was a scenario around which was lots of roads built in one of the
15 Q. That is not before us.
16 A. That is not before us, no.
17 Q. So what is your criticism at the moment?
18 A. The criticism is that what we have not had before us is a package, which I
19 would call the common sense package, of aggressive focused traffic
20 management, of some junction improvements, the possibility of some
21 innovative thinking in terms of pricing.
22 If I could just put before you now one thought. I think this helps
23 understand. If the Scottish Executive or Scottish Parliament would allow it
25 everybody in South-East Scotland with their road tax. That would not be very
26 expensive to collect. That, to me, is the kind of alternative option that
27 somehow gets lost off the scale until we realize we are going to spend half a
28 billion pounds collecting money because the institutional barriers get in our
30 I wonder if the real reason for this proposal is to raise money to pay
31 for some desirable transport packages and put it before a referendum if the
32 simple, easy way to do it is not to find a simpler way of collecting the charge.
33 Q. Let us come to that later, because that is to do with the costs of administering
34 the scheme and I have already indicated that I would welcome your
35 comments on that. Let us stick to where you started in the answer to that
37 First of all, you indicated that you felt that traffic management really
38 needed to be looked at a lot more carefully than has been done by the City of
1 Edinburgh Council. Have you had the opportunity of listening to some of the
2 questioning, which was fairly direct, to the officials of the City of Edinburgh
3 Council? They went to considerable lengths, very patiently, to go through
4 what they felt was adequate.
5 First of all, did you have the opportunity and have you read that?
6 A. I have not had the opportunity. I have, however, had under my direct control
7 engineers of this sort for many, many years.
8 Q. What do you mean by "engineers of this sort"?
9 A. Engineers of this ability. In London, I was responsible for traffic control
10 systems as one of my responsibilities.
11 Q. I completely understand what you mean by that.
12 A. Leadership is a vital commodity in some of these areas and I just want to put
13 before you - things like the Traffic Management Bill have not happened
14 because we felt in the body politic that the quality of traffic management was
15 good enough.
16 Q. As far as the specific evidence - and I am sorry to put this to you so direction -
17 you have not had the opportunity or the time.
18 A. I have not had the opportunity.
19 Q. That is no problem. So you would not really be able to offer a critical
20 examination of whether the City of Edinburgh Council have done a
21 satisfactory - let us leave "best" out of this for a while, because we can both
22 agree that the best is the enemy of the good. They simply have not done as
23 good a job as they might have?
24 A. I make no direct criticism of Edinburgh in this. I think this a national problem.
25 Q. You will excuse me if I go directly to the point then that you do not actually
26 bring any specific proposals to this Inquiry on which we could advise
27 Ministers, "If such and such a modification was produced, it might be of
28 assistance." This is merely a general statement that, in your professional
29 opinion, traffic managers really need to buck up and do a better job. That is
30 what I read from what you are telling me.
31 A. Yes, and that is so shared a professional view that the national legislation has
32 been brought forward to address the problem.
33 Q. Thank you. Your second answer - it seems a long time ago now - I certainly
34 understand what you are saying - let us go back to this "try to build our way
35 out of trouble" - I was saying that I did not see much in the way of road
36 proposals. You said, "Yes, fine, but there had been scenarios proposed and
37 these are now off the table." But there are quite large schemes - and I
38 wondered if this is what you were getting at - the tram schemes, obviously.
1 One and two we now find to be funded by the Scottish Executive, but three
2 possibly emerging from the congestion charge. That is the way I am
3 understanding the process.
4 I happened to make a note that you had a preference for doing this
5 incrementally in the sense of starting with buses and moving on to trams.
6 Would you care to elaborate a little bit on what the reasoning is behind this?
7 A. If we take something like airports and the modular growth is the method that
8 is used worldwide. Actually, one of the disadvantages of trams is that they
9 tend not to be so amenable to the modular approach. That is actually a
11 Q. The lumpy investment.
12 A. The lumpy investment thing. I am really trying to ram through the risk
13 management and the value engineering side of this. Obviously, if you can
14 build a short length of some innovative, unknown commodity and see what
15 the take-up is and have studied and used that as a test and learn, that is the
16 optimum way to grow a network, so if you lock yourself into a strategy of big,
17 lumpy, risky investment - basically in any board room investments of that
18 nature will tend to fail quickly. It is perhaps a problem in the public sector that
19 these risks are not as well understood as they are in the private sector.
20 I notice in particular, for example, that the banks would not be willing
21 to fund on the income stream until it was actually settled in. If you took the
22 London model, you would say, "Rightly so." The income stream is basically
23 one-tenth of what was forecast because the understanding of traffic patterns
24 and movements and who was using cars was actually extremely flaky
25 because of the rushed development of the scheme.
26 Q. To be fair, one-tenth of the revenue is actually the revenue taken in from
27 congestion charging: that is the net revenue.
28 A. In London, it is one-tenth of the forecast free revenue. They forecast 200
29 million and they got 80.
30 Q. It was slightly mixed up when we were talking about the trams. I am
31 interested in any experience which you might have had nationwide on the
32 economics of trams.
33 A. I have only worked in places like Hong Kong, where the grow with traffic and
34 protecting the market for a period while it settled in before the competition
35 was open and all that sort of thing.(sic)
36 Q. That is a different ball game.
37 A. A different ball game.
38 Q. Really, the second line you were taking was "trying to build out way out of
1 trouble" - it was more or less a specific reference towards trams and the risk
2 management. The risk basically is, is it not, that the fare box will not cover
3 operating costs let alone make a contribution to fixed?
4 A. You have got three risks. One is the patronage risk and the fare box revenue.
5 Second, of course, is the problem of cost over-run, which in that particular
6 industry is a real, real problem. Thirdly, you have got the impact on
7 congestion, which we have now put into the pot. If you take Manchester, for
8 example, where the off-peak usage was much better than forecast - actually,
9 that was not when the congestion was. So you have got this third element. Is
10 it targeting the hot spots? So you have got this indirect mechanism to target
11 a congestion problem. You have got to get everything spot on in order for this
12 to work, so it is highly risky.
13 Q. The right technology in the right place at the right time.
14 A. And meeting the right market place.
15 Q. Indeed. This is a matter, as you know, that is being dealt with by the Scottish
16 Parliament and we do not have any direct input to it, but it is useful to see, as
17 part of a holistic package, as you describe it, what your view is.
18 Given that trams run on city streets, do they increase or do they
19 reduce congestion for the period that they run on city streets?
20 A. The studies that I have seen on this are so flaky that I really cannot comment.
21 I do not think we know enough about it. We can all have our working
23 Q. Thank you.
24 A. Or lessons we have learnt from practise.
25 Q. Moving right on, you talked about value engineering. That was the third
26 strand that you had that was really worrying you. Does the STAG appraisal
27 and that type of appraisal - which I assure you is quite widespread in Scotland
28 - does that reassure you at all?
29 A. The British problem is that we analyze things to death, but we do not seem to
30 generate the same ideas and propositions. In other words, all our skills and
31 efforts have been focused on evaluating proposals that come forward,
32 whereas I think the new money, as I look around the world, is actually
33 developing the proposals.
34 The brilliant thing about the Versailles tunnel was to work out that
35 cars and trucks were on different tracks and therefore you could halve the
36 cost of the tunnel simply by not having to have the explosive containment
37 required for trucks and not have the gradient requirements for trucks and all
38 the height requirements. And the fact that the market place to which people
1 wanted to travel was different: the trucks wanted to travel to the strategic
2 motorways and the cars wanted to travel on orbital movements. Once they
3 had understood all that, they actually then thought, "This is what people are
4 willing to pay for", then, "What can I build for that?" And they made that fit.
5 We do not have that approach commonly in the way that we generate
7 Q. I used to work in the academic world. Is it the academics' fault for training
8 people in the wrong way? What is the issue here? Is it a mind set? This is
9 simply for information.
10 A. I will make my only reference to my period in Scotland with the answer to this
11 question. When the design and build technology was introduced first in
12 Scotland, the combination of consultants and contractors working together
13 made phenomenal value engineering advances and the cost of projects
14 dropped by 20/30%.
15 Q. I am sorry it has taken such a long time, but I have got two more lines. You,
16 interestingly, talked in the report which you did analyzing the London scheme
17 and, paraphrasing, I had the impression that the costs of administering this
18 scheme were (a) very large and had been predicted to be quite large but (b)
19 just got out of control. Am I over-stating the case?
20 A. No, I think one of our problems with the London scheme has been to
21 disentangle the PR from the actuality and I am actually grateful to TfL that
22 they have recently supported what we have been saying on this. They did
23 have problems with Capita. I think TfL's fundamental problem - and they will
24 tell you at international conferences in a way that they do not tell you in this
25 country - is that the timescale that they were given was impossible to work to.
26 They just simply did not have enough time to unwind all the complexities
27 involved, plus they had no experience to draw off in terms of what the
28 customer service requirements would actually be. But anybody who has been
29 involved with customer related work knows that these back office costs are
30 actually much higher than you could possibly believe, and people are
31 awkward to deal with: they keep on doing things which seem reasonable to
32 them and you had not anticipated and it costs - every phone call is costing
34 course, they will come back six times more, causing you more trouble; you
35 get into melt down.
36 Q. The general point that I would like to test with you is this. First of all, we do
37 not really at the moment have much in the way of detailed information about
38 what the administrative costs of this scheme are going to be. I hope Mr
1 Saunders would agree with that. We are going to have produced for us some
2 sort of a table which looks at London and also makes comparison with those
3 numerous schemes throughout the world to which you have referred us.
4 It must be a really big problem, administration. First of all, do you
5 have any estimate of what the administrative cost might be in Edinburgh? As
6 far as you understand the arrangements, are they going to fall into much the
7 same set of difficulties as the London people have?
8 A. Again, we have specifically not looked at the London costs. In Toronto, the
9 back office fell over. This is not new - these problems when you start
10 introducing - in fact, it had to be suspended for about three or four months
11 while they sorted it out. Again, traditional transport engineering is not about
12 this kind of customer service end. That is, again, part of the problem for the
13 project managers involved.
14 You very usefully focused me down the line of thought that is saying
15 two fundamental things. One, this package does not look value engineered, it
16 crosses a red line and unless you can get clear environmental benefits
17 against the costs - I will buy that. Secondly, I think I would want to focus on
18 where you are really going.
19 If the purpose of this scheme really - let us stop pretending - if the
20 purpose of this scheme is to raise money, then this is not a very clever way to
21 do it and there are other ways in which to do it. If the congestion charging
22 benefits are not there and all the equity and disruption problems are there, it
23 would be better to find a cheaper scheme to administrate, to collect the
24 money, and the great advantage of having a Scottish Parliament which has
25 already been committed to having a vote on this issue is that that, frankly,
26 should not be impossible.
27 I have not worked out what it would cost per South-East Scotland
28 resident, but if that is wha ----
29 Q. Not by me. When we read the transcript, we will get your view.
30 A. If that is the underlying purpose, then for goodness sake do not do this,
31 because 500 million may not be the end of it.
32 Q. Let us come to what I had you noted down as saying was the biggest problem
33 within that administration, leaving the technical aspects to one side. That is
34 this question of exemptions. There is what has been called the purist view,
35 which is simply no exemptions and that is an end to it, because buses, cars -
36 we might have to leave pedestrians and motorcycles out of it - buses, cars,
37 freight vehicles, the whole lot, all involve imposing marginal social costs (a) on
38 one another and (b) on the environment. That is the theoretical justification
1 that we are talking about here.
2 Where does your trust stand on what you have regarded as being
3 one of the distributional choices - that was a neat phrase you had for it - one
4 of the biggest difficulties? Do you take a purist view? I would have to warn
5 you, I am going to ask you where your red line is as you run down the list of
6 exemptions. We have fifteen categories that I have noted.
7 A. The fairness point - I would again refer to the US Transport Equity Act. The
8 fairness point defines - you are looking for a package which people perceive
9 as fair. If you care about public assent, you have to go down the route of
10 making exemptions for disabled people, for operational vehicles, for
11 emergency services ----
12 Q. Could I wind back just a bit? Where do you stand as a trust on the purist
14 A. We do not accept it.
15 Q. You do not accept it.
16 A. Because we know you cannot get public consent.
17 Q. That is the route. Thank you very much.
18 A. I think the health service in London is the real hot spot. It is a lovely, lovely
19 example of what really happens in the real world. "We can't exempt low paid
20 health workers", but everybody can see that that is unfair, so in the end there
21 is a deal with the health service. I do not know how it works. I am sure my
22 colleagues over there - but there you begin to get into the really hard cases.
23 What tends to happen around the world on toll schemes is, you end
24 up with emergency services and operational vehicles, disabled people,
25 special schemes or residents special schemes and so forth, and it is a
26 question of political consensus building.
27 Q. Obviously, we have a problem, because we have to hear evidence and we
28 have to make some sort of a report, but, taking it from a strictly economic
29 point of view, the fewer the exemptions the fewer of the scarce resources
30 garnered from the congestion charge will actually be spent on administrators
31 having to administer for the sake of what is perceived to be fairness.
32 A. But the fundamental thing about congestion charging which occurs in a lot of
33 the schemes that one sees is that the more exemptions you make the more
34 unfair it becomes on the people who are left, because they are picking up a
35 bigger and bigger cost. If the function of this scheme is just to raise revenue,
36 which, frankly, I suspect that it is, then this is not so much of an issue. If it is
37 a genuine congestion charging scheme there is no point in charging people
38 who absolutely have to be there, such as emergency services, operational
1 vehicles or whatever you put in that category. You could probably put street
2 utilities, in terms of dustbin collection - you can think about that. Will the
3 charge make any difference to their behaviour? The answer is probably no,
4 but beyond that you should keep the exemptions to the socially acceptable
6 Q. Funnily enough, street cleaning is one of the areas where it has been
7 suggested that there be an exemption. That is something within the Council's
8 own control, unless it is privatized here. I do not know whether it is or not.
9 I do not want to misinterpret you in any way. You are saying that the
10 cost of administration of the scheme is almost fatal, and you are also saying
11 that the more exemptions you have the greater the chance of that fatality.
12 A. But it is a second, third order cost on top of the particular scheme that we
13 actually have.
14 PROFESSOR BEGG: I am obliged to you. Thank you very
16 MR PATTERSON: Mr Thomson, are there any other matters on which you would
17 wish to ask questions?
18 MR THOMSON: Just a little bit about the relationship between the AA and the
19 Trust and exploring the AA's lobbying activities, as opposed to the Trust's
21 MR PATTERSON: We have not quite gone into that. There were some
23 MR THOMSON: I just wanted to pursue it a little bit further and perhaps also the
24 AA/Trust's position in the immediate lead up to the introduction of the scheme
25 in London: what their position on that scheme was at that time.
26 Cross-examined by MR THOMSON
27 Q. Mr Dawson, there is a public perception at the moment that the AA is lobbying
28 on behalf of put-upon motorists with regard to the attempts to persuade the
29 Government to postpone the introduction of the fuel tax increase presently
30 proposed for September in light of the current movement in world oil prices.
31 First of all, is that a correct perception?
32 A. You can take it as read as yes and, yes, we had discussions with the
33 Economic Secretary before the last budget about whether we should have a
34 postponed rise this year. The volatility thing, as I think I mentioned earlier, is
35 something that we put on the agenda about five years ago.
36 Q. Is it the Trust or some other arm of the AA that is doing that lobbying at the
38 A. Let me clear this up for you. The AA Motoring Trust is a new charity which
1 was formed of the former charity, the AA Foundation for Road Safety
2 Research, and the former public affairs, public policy committee of the AA. It
3 has been put into a charitable structure because the AA is a commercial
4 organisation and so we have separate and independent trustees and a
5 separate charity and different governance.
6 Q. So the sort of lobbying that I have mentioned that is being done by the AA ----
7 A. You are looking at it, yes.
8 Q. Am I right in assuming that the AA is promoting what it perceives to be in the
9 interests of motorists and the subscribers to the AA in particular.
10 A. No, not in particular. It is motorists as the majority group of road users in that
11 case. The argument to the Chancellor has been that he has become too
12 reliant on a single volatile commodity for so much of his revenue. It is a huge
13 proportion of public spending which is reliant on this one tax and you only
14 have to read this morning's newspapers to realise it is not a sound place to
15 be. We are certainly advocating that he should not continue with the 1.5 or
16 1.9 - whatever it is - pence increase in October. We have had continuing
17 discussions with Treasury about these issues.
18 Q. It is not my intention to ask you about that matter: I was simply using it as an
19 illustration to try to understand where the lobbying fits in.
20 A. It is research and advocacy on the Charity Commission website.
21 Q. So far as the London scheme was concerned and the AA's position, I have
22 been trying to work it out from the various documents that you have produced
23 to the Inquiry. Am I right in understanding that at first the AA - because it
24 was the AA before the Trust - in 2000 adopted a position of something like
25 armed neutrality in that at that stage it was offering to keep a technical eye on
26 developments but had not yet got a pro or anti view.
27 A. At that point, the AA was a member organisation and, I put it to you, with 40%
28 of your members in favour and 40% against, you would be in a difficult
29 position to know which view to strike; but what people were looking to the AA
30 for was trusted advice.
31 Q. So "armed neutrality" would not be an accurate description.
32 A. No, I think "constructive opposition" would probably be better.
33 Q. It was actually opposed from the summer of 2000.
34 A. No, the fundamental problem in London - it is not interesting to this Inquiry - in
35 a nutshell was that the professionals were being required to develop a
36 scheme into a timetable which was two years faster than the advisory group
37 reckoned was the fastest possible. Therefore, the technical watchdog very
38 quickly became quite aggressive because of the short cuts being taken,
1 particularly in procedures.
2 Q. I was going to take it a little more slowly. My impression was that there was a
3 neutral view of looking carefully at the technical aspects of it, starting in the
4 summer of 2000. That moved on by September 2001 to being against it on
5 the basis there was not enough information publicly available to come to a
6 better informed view; is that correct?
7 A. My first answer was really - it is the same answer as you have got to.
8 Fundamentally, they were rushing through the procedures. To give you an
9 idea, in order to meet the statutory timetable, you would submit a consultation
10 which was not even responded to or looked to before they were pumping out
11 the next piece of the statutory process, so it was very much a tick box
12 lawyer's approach - which you will perhaps recognise - of, "Have I gone
13 through the processes that I'm required to go through?" without actually
14 looking at what was being said. One had to get onto the details to meet the
15 timetable of what hours this would operate. There was actually no discussion
16 on whether the overall economic case was sound.
17 The thing you need to understand is, in London the Government gave
19 discussion on whether that was a probable out turn.
20 Q. Am I right in understanding that things moved on from September 2001
21 towards the introduction in - I think it was - February 2003 and the more the
22 AA learned about what was proposed the more opposed they became to the
23 introduction of the charging scheme in London?
24 A. What we were zeroing in on is the areas of weakness. In the case of the ring
25 road, for example - in fact, in the report that the Inquiry has before it you will
26 see we identified five areas where we were going to carry out our assessment
27 of how well they performed. In some of them, like the traffic performance, we
28 gave them a four star out of five, which is pretty good in terms of their
29 performance. For things like text messaging facilities, we gave them high
30 ranking. But what you will see is, naturally, a focus on the areas of
31 weakness, which is what you would expect if you were acting as a technical
32 watchdog, because if in private you are resolving the issues which might have
33 concerned you you then move into a public arena and focus on the areas that
34 divide you in order to try and make progress on those. That is all you were
35 seeing. Our overall assessment reflects where we stand on the scheme, and
36 people are now increasingly accepting that analysis.
37 Q. What I was interested in was to understand what the AA's position was before
38 the scheme started; in other words, looking more at the position in which we
1 find ourselves, where it is difficult to predict with any certainty what is going to
2 happen. What I was interested in was what the AA's position was in, say,
3 January 2003 before the scheme was introduced.
4 I was putting to you the general proposition that the AA had been
5 becoming more anti the scheme on technical grounds before it was
6 introduced; is that correct?
7 A. It is true that we were increasingly concerned about some of the things that
8 were happening and today we still have very great concerns and are talking
9 about the things that concerned us in January 2003. When we came to give
10 a more magisterial report to the media before the introduction of the scheme,
11 you will actually find that the press notice that we gave them was really rather
12 more standing back. We particularly welcomed in the latter stages that the
13 Mayor suddenly went into, "This is a huge experiment" mode. That was a
14 very welcome - because what he was really suddenly saying was, "We're not
15 sure what's going to happen either."
16 Leave aside the sort of tactical customer service areas or the worries
17 about the ring road, the underlying them was, "How do we de-risk this? How
18 do we make sure this element of the system, the element of the ring road, this
19 element of behaviour in terms of the huge load on particular public transport
20 corridors - how do we de-risk each of these elements so that we are resilient
21 against any out turn that might actually happen?"
22 The ring road was where TfL really did well. They actually had over a
23 hundred different traffic signal plans waiting in their locker for the various out
24 turns that might actually happen.
25 Q. Did public support for the London scheme fall away in the lead up to
26 introduction in February 2003?
27 A. No, it stayed - our tracking had support for the scheme today as roughly what
28 it was two, three years earlier.
29 Q. While we were looking for something else in the press archives, we stumbled
30 across a story from the political section of the "Observer" on Sunday, 26th
31 January 2003. You may remember it.
32 A. No. Do believe me, the volume of press coverage involving the AA and the
33 AA Trust fills - I have no idea.
34 Q. The headline that caught my eye was, "Gridlock fears outside London
35 charging zone", and the sub-heading was, "The AA predicts a band of near
36 stationary traffic 4 km deep will encircle Central London once the congestion
37 charge is introduced." Then the story went on to explain that, "A band of near
38 stationary traffic 4 km deep will encircle Central London for up to six hours a
1 day once the congestion charge is introduced, new predictions by the AA
2 reveal." It explains that, "Using its own traffic movement models, Britain's
3 biggest motoring organisation said that all major routes, side streets and
4 residential rat runs within a vast area bordering the charging zone will become
5 snarled up with crawling traffic during week days, bringing misery to millions
6 living outside the charging area."
7 What I was wondering was whether your Trust research department
8 had been involved in producing that information at that time.
9 A. Lesson one, don't believe all you read in the newspapers. Lesson two, if you
10 can find that report on our website, sir, you are a better man than I. What you
11 will be able to find is the fact that we split the measuring zone into three
12 zones, including a zone outside the central area. Whether that is a garbled
13 report of somebody who said, "What could happen? What could happen?
14 I'm going to write this because I'm writing for a Sunday newspaper" or not - I
15 have no idea what the basis is. But certainly it is a plausible outcome with
16 some of the volumes that could happen on a ring road: that you get that kind
17 of gridlock. TfL would not have been working so hard to put the
18 contingencies in place against such an outcome - the queuing theory is pretty
19 awful, but certainly we did not model that and it was not a forecast or a
20 prediction, but it was a concern.
21 Again, I would ask you not to take newspaper reports as evidence.
22 Sometimes it is beyond me where they come from.
23 Q. I would not dream of doing that. Simply having you here it is the opportunity
24 to gain your evidence on the strength of this. Do I understand that the Trust,
25 which was in being by that time, was involved in doing this sort of modelling
26 work on the run up to introduction?
27 A. The Trust started on 1st January 2003 and our first publication came out on
28 14th February. That is the point at which we started switching in public to the
30 Q. In the spirit of balanced fairness, I had better read to you what the TfL
31 spokesman said. "However, a TfL spokesman said that the repercussions of
32 the charge had been researched for two years" - and the quote is, "'We would
33 love to see the AA's detailed research into the scheme, which they originally
34 supported', he said." I am happy to make a copy of it for you.
35 A. It is stretching things that we actually supported the scheme. The technical
36 watchdog phrase - the phrase that we have used, which may help the Inquiry,
37 is that we were looking to see whether the scheme was reasonably likely to
38 deliver the promises made of it. That was the fundamental strategy.
1 Q. On a different but related topic, you were asked by Professor Begg about the
2 funding of the Trust and you referred to various sources. Could I ask you
3 this? In the first year of operation of the Trust, are you able to say
4 approximately what proportion of the income and capital grants received by
5 the Trust has come from the AA?
6 A. Obviously, in the first year it was very much from the AA. We have been
7 guaranteed a million - underwritten, not guaranteed a million from the AA.
8 The first year was also a very good year in terms of grants from external
9 bodies, so, off the top of my head, about 40% of the income would have been
10 from Government grants, European Commission grants, FIA Foundation
11 grants and other donors. We have been running off the donation scheme to
12 the AA Foundation because we are about to launch a new scheme for the
13 Trust. I cannot say too much about that at present.
14 Q. Does that mean that about 60% has come from the AA so far?
15 A. Yes, the AA is our major donor. There is a pledge to support the work - back
16 to the origins and heritage of the AA. That was a pledge on acquisition of the
17 AA by Centrica, if you recall, when we moved from mutual to Plc status and
18 the charity is the way that they are going to honour that pledge that they gave
19 to millions of AA members.
20 Q. One final very minor point. A couple of times when you were giving evidence
21 you referred to a 22 year horizon for the scheme. Are you aware that the
22 scheme, as presently proposed, in fact has a 20 year horizon?
23 A. Yes. Every now and again there is a reference to "stretching if the money
24 isn't quite there" for 22 years and so forth, but we are talking about a two
25 decade horizon, I think. I think those of us who have been involved in
26 projects of this sort know that these periods can be elastic. I referred to the
27 Dartford Crossing, where the promise was the tolls would end when the
28 scheme had paid off its capital debt, and, of course, we now know that 60/70
29 million a year is being kept by the Government in breach of that promise.
30 Q. In this part of the world, we remember the Forth Road Bridge.
31 A. Yes. We are all watching the Skye Bridge particularly, as we not?
32 MR THOMSON: Thank you very much.
33 PROFESSOR BEGG: I must insist on adding the Tay Bridge
34 to that!
35 MR PATTERSON: Thank you very much, Mr Thomson.
36 (The witness stood down)
37 MR PATTERSON: I am afraid we have been applying the infamous old hospital
38 appointment system of "Everybody come at 9 o'clock whether you are going
1 to be seen at 4 o'clock in the afternoon or at 9 o'clock." I hope you will forgive
2 us for that.
3 Is there anyone who really needs to be away before lunchtime? We
4 normally break at about 1 o'clock. I think we had better take five minutes until
5 20 to 1.
6 (A short adjournment)
7 MR PATTERSON: Whenever you are ready, Mr Penman, if you would like to
8 read from your precognition.
9 MR ALAN PENMAN
10 MR PENMAN: "My name is Alan Penman. I was until April this year a project
11 manager with the NHS Lothian Acute Division, based in Morrison Building on
12 the site of the old Royal Infirmary."
13 MR PATTERSON: Could you perhaps enlighten us as to whether you are now in
14 the happy position of being retired?
15 MR PENMAN: No, unfortunately not yet. I am now head of learning and careers
16 with the Scottish Executive.
17 "I am a management graduate of Herriot Watt University and a
18 Member of the Institute of Health Service Management. I have over 34 years'
19 experience in the Health Service, mainly as a personnel manager, human
20 resources director and project manager.
21 "Most recently, I was one of the project team responsible for effecting
22 the move of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh from the Loriston* site to the
23 Little France site. I have in that period also had considerable contact with the
24 City of Edinburgh Council and tie over transport issues in Lothian."
25 I think I would wish to begin by recognising that that, in the main, has
26 been a very good working relationship which has been built up over a number
27 of years. I am hopeful that building on this good working relationship will
28 enable the Trust, NHS Lothian, to resolve a number of the challenges that lie
30 "My evidence will cover the following areas: recruitment and retention
31 of staff; parking charges in context; and a brief conclusion.
32 "Firstly, in terms of recruitment and retention of staff. This is an area
33 where NHS Lothian predicts a significant impact from the proposed
34 congestion charging scheme. NHS Lothian is Lothian's largest employer
35 overall, with over 26,000 staff. These staff are based both in hospitals and in
36 the community and currently approximately 40% of staff who are based in
37 hostels or community locations within the City live outside Edinburgh. That
38 figure continues to rise.
1 "It is accepted, however, that only a proportion of those will need to or
2 want to commute to work by car and thereafter require to use their vehicles
3 for work purposes.
4 "The City of Edinburgh Council, in partnership with Lothian University
5 Hospitals Division and University of Edinburgh has carried out a transport
6 survey, the first of five, over the next five years. The most recent was in
7 February/March 2004 relating to the new Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh." The
8 results of that survey are shown in brief, Chairman, in the graph that I have
9 provided with the paper.
10 "Although the number of staff who travel by bus to the new hospital
11 has increased marginally, there has, perhaps understandably, been a marked
12 decline in the number of people walking and cycling. We were a City Centre
13 site; we are now on the periphery of the City. Conversely, car journeys to
14 work have increased.
15 "A post code analysis of the survey suggests that approximately 40%
16 of staff live outside the City by-pass. Those 1,200 staff would inc
17 charges on a daily basis. If one takes a further 800 staff domiciled in the City,
18 we could add more to that figure, approximately 4,000 per day. These figures
19 are, of course, projections. In a single year, we anticipate that staff working a
20 46 week year would, at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, pay more than
22 "If this model were applied to the Western General Hospital, the
23 Royal Hospital for Sick Children and the other hospitals within the City, it is
24 conservatively estimated that staff based at City hospitals would, overall, incur
25 - and again conservatively -
26 this equates to 1.8 million per annum, assuming a 46 hour working week.
27 "Most of those staff are based at a single base, so the prime issue is
28 one of recruitment and retention, particularly amongst the lower paid." This is
29 one of our greatest concerns, despite the fact that NHS Lothian has had a
30 history of championing fair pay for low paid workers, i.e. many of our staff,
31 albeit they are on low pay, are paid above the national minimum rate.
32 "Staff and patients and visitors at all Edinburgh's hospitals are faced
33 with what they perceive as inadequate parking provision and also inadequate
34 public transport from Mid, East and West Lothian to Little France in particular.
35 Staff travel, and particularly the needs of shift workers, are extremely
36 important to us in terms of recruitment and retention and are given careful
37 consideration by NHS Lothian, especially with the continuing increase in the
38 use of 12 hour shifts.
1 "NHS Lothian already has a number of examples of good transport
2 practice. For example, the allocation of parking permits is now on the basis of
3 clinical and personal need and not on status. In partnership with the City of
4 Edinburgh Council, cycle lanes have been developed through Craigmiller to
5 the Royal Infirmary. There is a bicycle pool now in operation at Lothian NHS
6 Board. We offer loans for the purchase of cycles and, until it became
7 cheaper to do so through the bus companies, we in fact were offering bus
8 season ticket loans to all staff."
9 MR PATTERSON: You say that does not apply now?
10 MR PENMAN: No, that has fairly recently been overtaken.
11 "NHS Lothian continuously reviews its overall strategy that links
12 transport to recruitment and retention. Ensuring that staff can access regular
13 reliable public transport is absolutely vital, but there has to be a recognition
14 that a significant number of staff require to continue to use vehicles to both
15 commute and carry out their jobs, particularly those who are providing primary
16 care or community health services and those working on shift patterns.
17 "I mentioned before that 40% of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
18 workforce live outwith the City. The cost implications for those individuals are
19 significant. With many NHS workers being paid at modest levels - full pay for
20 -11,000 per year - the impact
21 of congestion charging would be keenly felt and, for some staff, would prove a
22 disincentive to work for the NHS in Edinburgh.
23 "There is particular concern about the potential secondary effect for
24 NHS services should it become more difficult to retain and recruit key staff
25 groups in Edinburgh.
26 "The effects on West Lothian NHS facilities, and in particular St
27 Johns Hospital, are less clear and it is possible that recruitment in some
28 areas will improve as some staff choose not to work in Edinburgh and move
29 to other sites. However, staff who presently travel from Edinburgh to work in
30 West, Mid and East Lothian would be disadvantaged.
31 "There has been a major problem in ascertaining what provision will
32 actually be made for staff should the proposed congestion charging scheme
33 come into operation. The staff need to know not what may happen in a
34 number of years' time but what will happen from day one. This is not
35 something that can be lightly ignored or brushed aside.
36 "At present, there is insufficient provision of public transport to fully
37 meet the needs of those, for instance, in Pennicuik, in East Lothian and in
38 parts of the North of the City and there is little indication of what, if any,
1 additional or extended services would be made available. Detailed
2 information in this respect is, I would suggest, absolutely essential to ensure
3 that NHS Lothian does not lose key staff in significant numbers.
4 "In terms of parking issues, we note that tie has suggested that the
5 relationship between the congestion charging and parking charges levied at
6 NHS institutions needs also to be considered in this context.
7 "The present agreement with the City of Edinburgh Council and
8 Consort Health Care" - Consort Health Care owns both the building and the
9 car parks at Little France. "The agreement relating to income from car
10 parking charges at the Royal Infirmary determines that net revenue exceeding
11 an agreed level will be used to support measures set out in the green
12 commuter plan. Other NHS car parks in Lothian charge to cover operating
13 costs only and do not have any revenue-generating function."
14 By way of interest, I have included a copy of a paper issued recently
15 by the Scottish Executive concerning car parking in Scotland. It is submitted
16 that this is a national question for the NHS and not one that NHS Lothian can
17 resolve independently.
18 "In conclusion, NHS Lothian is committed to developing a clear
19 overall strategy that links transport issues to recruitment and retention of staff
20 in collaboration with all local authorities. And NHS Lothian looks forward to
21 continue working together with tie and the City of Edinburgh Council to
22 overcome the potential obstacles that the congestion charge presents to the
23 safe delivery of health care.
24 "In response to the concerns expressed by NHS Lothian, it has been
25 argued that the challenges facing NHS staff are no different to those faced by
26 other low paid sector workers within Lothian. However, it is submitted that
27 those who employ council workers and private sector workers can raise
28 revenue in different ways and pass on charges to council tax payers or
29 customers. The raising of revenue for the NHS in Lothian will have a direct
30 impact on patient care and it is, therefore, submitted that the City of
31 Edinburgh Council is, in effect, levying a tax on the NHS for delivering its
32 services within Lothian." Thank you, Chairman.
33 MR PATTERSON: Thank you.
34 Questioned by THE PANEL
35 MR PATTERSON: We have nothing like the number of questions for you and
36 your colleagues as we had for the earlier witness this morning, but just a few
37 from me. If we could turn to your paragraph 2.3, where outline some of the
38 costs that would have to be paid, I am sure everyone can appreciate that for
1 individuals on low pay these would not be insignificant and, for the total
2 number who would be affected, they would not be insignificant. But perhaps
3 there is some over-statement in these figures in that you are assuming that
4 the 1,200 staff coming from outside the City by-pass would incur
5 charges daily. If we assume that these are people who do not live in the area
6 within the City boundary but outside the by-pass, which is proposed in the
7 scheme to be exempted but about which you will be aware, no doubt, there
8 have been many criticisms, they would not all be coming in during the
9 charging hours of 7.00 to 10.00 in the morning.
10 A. The vast majority would. Even those staff who are on 12 hour shifts - and
11 that is, in the main, staff who work during the day shift period - their shifts
12 begin after 7.00. The most popular starting times are between 7.00 and 9.00
13 in the morning, so a significant proportion of those staff would come into the
14 City and cross the boundary during the charging period.
15 Q. Can you give an indication of roughly what sort of proportion would be
16 affected in that way and what proportion would work outside the hours when
17 they would be likely to be caught?
18 A. In terms of shift workers?
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. The number of staff who work 12 hour shifts - it is primarily that group we are
21 talking about - is approximately 40% of nursing staff, which in the case of the
22 Royal Infirmary - if you take that group plus other categories of staff we are
23 talking about 1,000 staff, approximately, who work 12 hour shifts. It is
24 reasonable to state that, of those, 800 would enter the City during the
25 charging period.
26 Q. Would there be any scope for adjusting hours so that people would be able to
27 avoid charges by an earlier or later start or is it such an ingrained institutional
28 or personal habit that people would be reluctant to do that?
29 A. Service re-design in the health service has been a big issue and continues to
30 be a big issue in the health service, but mainly for clinical reasons and clinical
31 reasons must remain the most important reasons for such changes.
32 I would imagine that there is little scope - I would not say any scope
33 but little scope - to adjust working hours to take account of the charging
35 Q. I am not quite following why staff domiciled in the City would require to cross
36 the outer boundary in commuting to work, given that the hospital is quite well
37 within the boundary, so that the attractions of using the by-pass as part of a
38 route from home to work and back would be rather less than they would be if
1 it were right next to the by-pass.
2 A. If I have picked you up right ----
3 Q. You were saying that a further 800 staff domiciled in the City would require to
4 cross the outer or inner boundaries in commuting to work. I am rather
5 puzzled why a significant number would have to cross the outer cordon.
6 A. If you live in the north or north-west of the City, our experience is you may
7 well seek to go out onto the by-pass, seek to move out of the City, out of the
8 boundary, before coming back in. There may be a perverse temptation to
9 avoid the congestion charge, but it remains to be seen.
10 Q. How about the crossing of the inner boundary? It is only in-bound journeys in
11 either cordon which would be charged under this scheme as proposed. If
12 people are starting work at some time around, say, 7/8 o'clock in the morning
13 and they are working 12 hour shifts, when they are going home they would
14 not have to pay.
15 A. If they have incurred that daily charge by moving through the boundary on
16 their way to work ----
17 Q. They do not have to pay on going out.
18 A. In going out --?
19 Q. If you are living, say, somewhere round here and you go out to work at the
20 ERI and, for whatever reason, you are using a car, going out at 7/8 o'clock in
21 the morning you do not have to pay. By the time you come back, you would
22 not have to pay either.
23 A. I think when you look at our postcode profile most of our staff who live within
24 the City live in the outer area, Sitehill*, Cramond, Barnton*, Silvernhouse*,
25 Westerhills* or they live outwith the City entirely. The greatest concentration
26 of staff within the City is within the Sitehill area.
27 Q. That is a very interesting and quite strange thing to find.
28 A. Yes, it is.
29 Q. We have had some information from you already about shift hours. They are
30 presumably just 12 hour sequences which run from, say, 7.00 in the morning
31 until 7.00 in the evening and then from 7.00 in the evening to 7.00 in the
32 morning: they are not a series of overlapping ----
33 A. Yes, there are. In most cases there are overlaps. They may be as short as
34 15 minutes, they could be up to half an hour or three-quarters of an hour. In
35 most cases, there are overlaps.
36 Q. There are two main periods which most people would work one or other of.
37 A. Yes.
38 Q. It is not as if some people are starting at 7.00, others at 11.00 and 3.00 and
1 so forth.
2 A. That is correct. If we are talking about 12 hour shifts, it is mainly two shifts in
3 a day. If we are talking about part-time staff, then it could be a combination of
4 any group of hours at any time.
5 Q. Those who are using the other forms of transport that you mentioned in
6 paragraph 2.6, whether it is convenient to use them or whether they have
7 been browbeaten into not using cars, these people would not actually be
8 charged; these people are probably causing less congestion than anyone
9 who uses a car inevitably causes, however meritorious the use and purpose
11 What we have, therefore, is whether it is justifiable or not in other
12 senses. Those who are not causing the congestion to the same extent are
13 not being charged, whereas those who do cause the congestion would be.
14 A. In answering that, I think I would go back, in the main, to the criteria that now
15 operates not just in the Royal Infirmary but throughout Lothian for the
16 allocation of car parking permits. At most sites, car parking is a scarce
17 resource, so it is highly managed. Car parking permits are, by and large,
18 allocated to staff who clearly have either clinical need - in other words, they
19 have to use their case for clinical needs - or who have to use their case
20 because of personal needs. There might be carer implications, because they
21 have young children or elderly relatives or they simply live in a part of Lothian
22 or beyond which does not have adequate forms of transport to allow them to
23 work with us unless they come by car.
24 Q. Are these free places or are they still charged under the normal
25 arrangements? Where people have an allocation on the basis of need, is it
26 still charged for?
27 A. Yes. For example, if you are allocated a permit at the Royal Infirmary of
28 Edinburgh, that
29 allocate permits to staff who have other easily useable, practical and
30 affordable means of transport.
31 Q. There has been quite a lot of publicity or general chatter about nurses and
32 other staff being deterred by having to pay huge parking charges. Are you
33 telling us that there is no basis for that and if there is a real need people get a
34 space ----
35 A. There is no basis for that.
36 Q. -- at a quite favourable rate?
37 A. I think what is referred to is staff who have chosen - and there is a small but,
38 unfortunately, growing number - to use the public car park, which is mainly for
1 patients and visitors and park there for the duration of their shift at a cost of
3 Q. Presumably these are people who could have applied for a special place but
4 have been assessed as not deserving it as much as others.
5 A. Some of them will have applied and been rejected; some of them, despite
6 the fact that they have got options, have chosen to come by car and to make
8 a day.
10 A. The one thing we took from the most recent survey was that car usage had
11 gone up, it had gone up to 52% from 45 when we last surveyed in 1999.
12 Q. That was at the old hospital.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. It is actually remarkably small change.
15 A. It is. I think it is indicative of the fact that, although there are gaps in the
16 public transport system, it is, for an outer city site, nevertheless well served, in
17 the main, by public transport.
18 Q. This is certainly very interesting evidence. It is so different from the picture
19 that we have had from some others who are perhaps less well informed.
20 A. Yes.
21 MR PATTERSON: Thank you, Mr Penman. Professor Begg will now have some
22 questions for you.
23 PROFESSOR BEGG: Good afternoon. Just a couple of
24 questions which I hope will be informative for us. Could you tell us roughly
25 what the annual spend is of NHS Lothian per annum?
26 A SPEAKER: It is about
27 PROFESSOR BEGG: Thank you very much. (To the witness):
28 At paragraph 4.3 you indicate that those who employ council workers/private
29 sector workers can raise revenue in different ways and pass on the charges
30 to council tax payers, customers and so on. We have been questioning a
31 number of witnesses about the incidence of who would in the end pay the
33 The question that I must ask you is, what opportunity is there for NHS
34 Lothian to shift the incidence of this charge from low paid staff to NHS Lothian
35 itself? At first sight, it seems to me that
37 efficiency gains which could readily accommodate that.
38 A. Can I first of all explain that the 1.8 million referred to is in respect of charges
1 which NHS Lothian would not be responsible for reimbursing staff.
2 Q. If you have such a problem as is being identified here of retention and
3 attraction of staff, why would you not strike a bargain with those workers to
4 actually pay them - they are, in the main low paid workers - to cover that
5 particular charge?
6 A. That obviously is an option that would have to be considered, along with a
7 number of other options. If I may just explain, when staff use their cars in the
8 course of their business there is already an obligation to reimburse them.
9 Q. Yes, I understand that.
10 A. Our evidence later on will identify that very specific cost.
11 Q. I have read the evidence, and thank you for that.
12 A. But the 1.8 which would be incurred, in the main, by staff in terms of
13 commuting - yes, that is at face value an option. I suspect it is not an option
14 we have pursued in any great depth. I suspect it is an option that would have
15 a number of complications: practical complications as well as financial
17 I do acknowledge that out of a budget of the size that has been
18 referred to it might seem that 1.8 million is not an awful lot at all, but bear in
19 mind that every single penny of that very large budget is committed as far as
20 possible on patient care issues and NHS Lothian, in common with other NHS
21 boards, is struggling quite hard to keep within its overall budget.
22 Q. I am not suggesting this in any way intending to be offensive (if I may put it
23 that way) to the interests of either the administrative or clinical staff. I have
24 family who are engaged in that very worthwhile effort. The point of my
25 questioning is that 1.8 million for the congestion charge - to lose that, if you
26 like, would be quite a lot over a 20 year period in terms of the take which it is
27 expecting to have.
28 I think you heard evidence - how much weight you would wish to give
29 to it I do not know - you were present this morning when the Trust gave
30 evidence that administering exemptions was a really tough job for the London
31 set-up and that witness was certainly very worried that a similar sort of
32 outcome - if you like, bureaucracy with not outcome - might possibly be
33 endemic in the charge as we have it before us.
34 I am just trying to examine all of the exemptions that we have before
35 us, all of which have good reasoning behind them, I would have to say. I am
36 trying to establish if there are other ways of dealing with the situation. Your
37 position, I think, is: no, it cannot be done.
38 A. In terms of --?
1 Q. In terms of this 1.8 million, which, frankly, does not seem a lot in terms of a
2 turnover of 770 million, given the efficiency changes - I do not like the term
3 any more than perhaps anybody else - the possible efficiency gains that are
4 available in an organisation as large as your former organisation.
5 A. I suspect that in audit terms we would be prevented from doing this in the
6 sense that it almost amounted to a misuse of public funds made available for
7 patient care services.
8 Q. That is a matter of law perhaps, which is beyond us. So the only option, as
9 far as you know, is to invite these already low paid staff to absorb this
10 particular charge. The incidence, in fact, would fall on them.
11 A. Yes, as things stand at the moment, that is the case.
12 Q. I know you are not here to argue the case for anybody else, but you must
13 understand that there will be a lot of 24/7 workers who are in exactly the
14 same boat.
15 A. I acknowledge that.
16 Q. And that they would feel perhaps unfairly treated were the exemptions not to
17 extend to them. You will appreciate that one of our difficulties is we have to
18 establish whether this charge is fair treatment.
19 A. I acknowledge that as well, yes.
20 PROFESSOR BEGG: I am obliged to you. Thank you.
21 MR MacBRYDE: I will try and be fairly brief on this matter since it is getting late. I
22 am just looking at your helpful table of figures under 2.2 regarding mode of
23 travel and relating to the March 2004 survey. I am having a bit of difficulty
24 interpreting the figures, and perhaps you would help me. First of all, the 52%
25 of staff only travel to the Royal Infirmary in 2004 - lumped together, car and
26 taxi - would you not agree that that is rather misleading in the sense that a
27 taxi is (a) effectively public transport and (b) would be exempt from charging?
28 A. Yes, I would agree.
29 Q. Have you any estimate of what the taxi travel might be?
30 A. From my initial discussions with those who compiled the information, use of
31 taxi was minimal, statistically minimal. Worthy of an asterisk at this stage, but
32 not much more.
33 Q. The other question I was going to ask is this. If you aggregate the bus, walk,
34 cycle, motorcycle modes as against car, you will get a more nearly 50:50 split,
35 will you not?
36 A. Yes.
37 Q. The other thing I found difficult to interpret from the figures is, of the 52% of
38 journeys carried out by staff using cars or (as you say) a minority of taxi use,
1 do I take it that all that 52% would be accommodated by parking on site?
2 A. No.
3 Q. Where will they park?
4 A. At Little France, there are very few opportunities other than street side
5 parking, the old Dock Heath Road on top of the cycle lanes. There are no car
6 parks such as NCP car parks which existed in the centre of town. There are,
7 if you like, very few bolt holes as existed near Loriston.
8 Q. Would it be fair to say that it would be environmentally favourable to try and
9 squeeze this parking further; in other words, to try to reduce the 52% of car
10 mode in the interests of the environment at large, the surrounding
11 environment, the streets and so forth?
12 A. Provided it were compatible with our prime requirement to provide patient
13 services, yes.
14 Q. I just wanted to look at the question of public transport access. You have
15 very helpfully suggested that, as a suburban location, it is not badly served by
16 public transport. I think your concern, quite rightly, if I may say so, is that the
17 longer-term future situation may be favourable, but what your staff are worried
18 about is the interim situation on the on-set of road user charging; that is right,
19 is it not?
20 A. That is correct.
21 Q. It seems to me that, looking at the details of tram road 3, you are very
22 favourably situated in relation to that service as it is presently conceived. In
23 that sense, the long term prospect is fairly bright, but can I just possibly
24 suggest to you that in the shorter term it is likely that the ring of park and ride
25 locations will be in force either at or shortly after the time of the road user
26 charging introduction. What I am saying is that perhaps your staff would have
27 to get used to a mixed mode, in other words, a change of mode at park and
28 ride rather than enjoy a single mode all the way to their place of work.
29 A. We have already made contact in respect of the various park and rides that
30 are currently being built and we do anticipate that using them will be of value
31 and appreciated by a number of staff. It is too early yet to determine how far
32 that usage will go and how beneficial it will be to us.
33 Q. So the lesson we should take away from this Inquiry is that, whereas you
34 seem to be reasonably satisfied with long-term provision of public transport,
35 we ought to give our attention and direct the attention of the City Council to
36 the short-term provision at about the same time as road user charging; is that
38 A. Very much so.
1 MR MacBRYDE: Thank you very much indeed.
2 MR PATTERSON: One further question that occurs to me is whether the
3 information on where people live, how they travel to work has been passed to
4 the bus companies in case it might help them to improve services.
5 A. Yes, it has and it has proved helpful in the past in determining either new
6 services or the extension to existing services.
7 MR PATTERSON: Thank you. Mr Thomson --?
8 MR THOMSON: Thank you, sir. I would like to ask - briefly, I hope - a question
9 or two about the car parking for staff issue which is reflected in document
11 MR PATTERSON: We did not go much into detail on that, so it seems fair
13 Cross-examined by MR THOMSON
14 Q. Mr Penman, I am interested in your evidence in section 3 of your precognition
15 where you respond to the parking issues. I just wondered if we could look at
16 that for a moment and see if I have got the right end of the stick about what is
17 going on.
18 The Council has put together a production from various websites and
19 sources of public information, trying to put together the picture of the parking
20 charges that are being levied at the moment.
21 If we could start by looking at the new Royal Infirmary at Little France,
22 there is a scale of charges set out there for the public paying to park there.
23 Am I right in understanding tha
24 simply staff paying that public charge at between 6 and 24 hours?
25 A. That is correct. Staff who do not have parking permits but who choose to
26 park in public car parks, yes.
27 Q. I was just wondering, thinking about the table in paragraph 2.2 of your
28 precognition, why the car use has not increased more than from 46 to 52% in
29 the move from the old ERI site to the new one at Little France - whether the
30 imposition of that charge at that level may be a factor that has operated to
31 restrain what might have been an otherwise greater increase in car use.
32 A. Very much so.
33 Q. Going back then to paragraph 3.2, you explain that the revenue over and
34 above the operating cost necessary to provide the profit for the operating
35 company is being used to support measures set out in the green commuter
36 plan. Could I ask, is that green commuter plan part of the planning conditions
37 attaching to the development at Little France?
38 A. Yes, as a consequence of or as a requirement of approval to build in Little
1 France we were required to produce a green transport strategy, a green
2 commuter plan, which we did in conjunction with the City of Edinburgh
3 Council, Consort and Edinburgh University.
4 Q. Putting the matter bluntly, is it the choice of NHS Lothian to use money from a
5 parking scheme to fund what is ultimately a planning obligation?
6 A. I am sorry? Would you repeat that?
7 Q. Yes. Is what NHS Lothian have chosen to do, namely to find the money to
8 meet the planning obligation of operating a green travel plan - they have
9 chosen to use parking revenue to do that rather than dip into patient care
10 money or anywhere else?
11 A. No, at this stage, because the hospital has only been fully open for a year,
12 there is no final evidence that there is any surplus available so far, so that
13 costs associated with transport initiatives to date have come from the NHS
14 budget in Lothian. It may well be in future - it would be in future if we meet
15 the criteria here and there is a surplus that we would use those funds for that
17 Q. It just has not happened yet.
18 A. It just has not happened yet.
19 Q. Going back to our document T162, do we see that the other hospitals in
20 Edinburgh either do not make a charge for staff parking or seem to make an
21 annual charge of
22 A. That is right.
23 Q. You explain in your precognition that that simply reflects the operating cost of
24 the administration of the scheme itself and there is no profit arising at all.
25 A. Yes, the car parks in those hospitals are owned and run by the NSH, there is
26 no third party involved as there is at Little France.
27 Q. Is there any reason why the real cost of providing those parking spaces for
28 staff at the other hospitals should not be passed on to members of staff and,
29 if necessary, deter them from using their cars for travelling to work?
30 A. That is an issue that has a lot of considerations ranging from, for example, at
31 the Western General, where it is almost impossible at times for a patient or a
32 visitor to get parked -- it could be argued that a more imaginative charging
33 regime would ensure that patients and visitors would be able to park. You
34 have that kind of situation in a large busy acute hospital -- to other hospitals
35 where it has been traditional not to charge and where the imposition of any
36 form of charge, whether it is
37 would have to be negotiated seriously - and I think they would be quite hard
38 negotiations - with staff and staff side interests.
1 Q. If there is a realistic cost for parking for staff at any hospital then that would
2 provide an opportunity for the NHS Lothian to explore a mechanism for
4 a supplementary payment direct, there might be scope to off-set a part of a
5 realistic parking charge for the congestion charge.
6 A. Bear in mind that the latest advice or direction from the Scottish Office has
7 indicated that we should not make profit out of parking charges levied against
8 staff. You could argue that, in order to compensate for congestion charging,
9 we would have to generate a profit to enable us to do so.
10 Q. In that situation, it would not actually be a profit, would it?
11 A. That I think would be a matter of debate.
12 MR THOMSON: For another day. Thank you very much, Mr Penman.
13 PROFESSOR BEGG: Would you be happier with the word
15 A. I would, yes.
16 PROFESSOR BEGG: I am obliged.
17 MR PATTERSON: It is now half-past 1, so it is obvious that we should adjourn
18 until half-past 2.
19 (The luncheon adjournment)