THE PUBLIC INQUIRY FOR THE
PROPOSED CONGESTION CHARGING SCHEME IN EDINBURGH
MORNING TRANSCRIPT OF WEDNESDAY 28 APRIL 2004
The Hearing was opened by Mr Patterson at 9.30 a.m.
1. Mr Patterson: I just have some more detail about fire escape arrangements that
I had yesterday and I’m just going to read from a note I have from the
Programme Officer who has information from the hotel management, from the
commentary room, which I think this is the bit here. There are two fire exits.
The principle exit is through the main doors and up the stairs to the foyer of the
hotel, down to the lobby, outside the front door turn left and please go over to
the High Street and stand outside the Radisson Hotel until further instructions
are given. The second fire exit is the one to my right. I think it would have to be
around the corner. Please leave through the door in the corner down the stairs,
which leads to a fire escape outside the Carlton Hotel, which I think would have
to be among the closest running down from the High Street. Then in the event,
unlikely as it to be, of a fire alarm which isn’t cancelled, please congregate
outside the Radisson Hotel on the High Street. It’s on the other side. It’s the
large mock medieval building. I think we can turn almost immediately to
evidence for the next witness for the promoters of the team.
2. Mr Thomson: Sir, there were two preliminary matters that I wish to raise if I
may. The first concerns simply the layout of the room. I was a little concerned
yesterday afternoon that people in the body of the hall were having to ask
questions to the back of the witness’s head and I wondered if, in the fullness of
time in an appropriate moment, we could think about moving the witness table
further back and perhaps bringing an additional table somewhere near the
shorthand writer’s table to enable a person who wished to ask questions to come
forward and sit at that table for the purpose of asking the questions so they
would at least be able to make eye contact with the witness?
3. Mr Patterson: We can certainly bear in mind the advantages of rearranging
what had been dictated yesterday by the consideration of fitting the maximum
potential number of people into the room. There are I think somewhat fewer
today than there were yesterday and it would be unlikely that numbers will rise
significantly in further days so I am sure we can arrange the tables and chairs
more effectively for tomorrow, so that particular problem, which was hardly
avoidable yesterday, will not be had..
4. Professor Begg: Was that the solution proposed by Mr Bruce? I had a solution
proposed for Mr Bruce that I saw which was slightly different from the one that
you are proposing. I don’t care myself, as long as it works. I just want to make
sure there is no further confusion. I understand a Programme Officer has drawn
up a design this Sunday showing one or two people on this side of the room -
that design that he intends to use tomorrow for the table plan but I think
certainly my Council and East Lothian Council sitting over on that side of the
room was his plan and moving the witness table to here, but there is certainly a
plan circulating I understand.
5. Mr Armstrong: That’s fine. I don’t mind what it is as long as everyone is
happy about it. There may be some more discussion during today as to exactly
where the tables are going.
6. Dr Sales: Mr Patterson, may I make a novel suggestion which I have found
helpful in other Inquiries? I am sorry to issue a further complication. I found in
Inquiries in order that the witness does not have their back to the audience that
the witness sit on, so to speak, on an extension of the reporter’s table. Versum
poplum, as I think they say in church architecture. But that’s another suggestion
which you might like to bear in mind.
7. Mr Thomson: I would respectfully wish to adhere to this sort of layout because
it emphasises the nature of the Inquiry, in that you gentlemen are asking
questions of the witness and it is perhaps better that all of you should be seen to
be opposite and conveniently placed to make eye contact and to ask questions of
the witness, rather than thinking of a layout that is for the convenience of parties
asking questions. But that would only be my suggestion.
8. Mr Patterson: I think this is a matter for information discussion.
9. Mr Thomson: The other point is slightly more serious. I would wish to put on
record at this stage my concern that the procedure envisaged at paragraph 5.5 of
the document, which is called The Proposed Scope and Format of the Public
Enquiry, was not followed yesterday with regard to the questioning of
Councillor Burns. The point was that paragraph 5.5 envisaged any party who
wished to ask questions, supplementary to those asked by the Reporters, to seek
the Reporters’ permission to ask additional questions and I assume to explain
why they wished to ask questions to supplement those which you gentlemen
would have asked already and I would regard that as a requirement for any party
wishing to ask questions of a witness. Yesterday, Mr Armstrong was subjected
to that rigour but nobody else was. Indeed by the time the questioning reached
the body of the hall yesterday afternoon it appeared that you were actually
inviting people to ask questions rather than anybody saying that they had a
particular question that they felt hadn’t adequately been covered already and the
result of the questioning that took place yesterday was that we had some two
and a half hours of additional questioning of Councillor Burns. Now the reason
why the Council proposed this format in paragraph 5.5 reflected the way in
which the documents and the precognitions had been made available to parties.
In a more familiar adversarial Inquiry fairness requires documents and
precognitions to be provided by all parties simultaneously so there is no unfair
advantage in preparing precognitions. In this inquisitorial procedure however,
quite the reverse has happened. The Council has produced its documents first
and then objectors have produced theirs. The Council then produced their
precognitions first to enable the precognitions of all other parties to contain
detailed criticisms of what the Council’s evidence was going to be, because they
had already seen and had a chance to consider the Council’s precognitions, and
it was for that reason that the Council regarded fairness as being achieved by
then inviting you gentleman to ask questions based on all precognitions of the
objectives that you had read so that you knew what points were coming and you
could then decide how far and how furiously you wanted to question the
particular witness in light of those points. Whereas in an ordinary Inquiry, cross
examination is necessary to test for the first time what is contained in the
opponents precognitions. Now when one thinks about that procedure what an
objector would then have to do in my submission to ask questions here would be
to point to a matter that had been omitted by you, or which they felt had not
been gone into sufficiently thoroughly by you, and that they should explain that
before embarking on their additional questioning and that that questioning
should be re-added as supplementary of your questioning rather than some sort
of alternative to it. Now I appreciate that this is a matter largely in your
discretion and I appreciate that there were particular considerations affecting the
first witness yesterday, Councillor Burns, who was in a rather different position
to the technical experts who will follow, but I did wish to draw this to your
attention at this stage that I certainly regarded what happened yesterday
afternoon as a departure from the procedure which I understood we were all
going to be following.
10. Miss Wilson: Sir, I wonder if before any comment is made I might raise a
couple of points in relation to what my learned friend Mr Thompson has to say,
unless you would prefer to say something yourself first.
11. Mr Patterson: I was wondering if the loud speaker is working, can everyone
hear what I am saying or what Miss Wilson said?
12. From the floor: I have certainly been having difficulty hearing Miss Wilson. I
don’t know what her position is in relation to the loud speaker.
13. Professor Begg: Can we just ascertain that that is switched on? It seems to be.
14. Miss Wilson: Sir, certainly so far as West Lothian and Midlothian Council are
concerned, there has always been an issue raised for these Councils as to how
the procedure is to develop at this Inquiry in relation to Edinburgh Council’s
Inquiry. I am not entirely clear from what my learned friend has said this
morning, as to whether it is now the case that Edinburgh Council seek to ensure
that there is only really an examination in public of these proposals by the
reporters, which we are privileged enough to listen to and perhaps ask the
occasional question, or whether some of the documents have suggested from
Edinburgh Council this is to be an Inquiry to allow the proposals to be
scrutinised by the public and there is a very distinct difference between the two.
It would appear from what my learned friend is saying today that he is now
saying that this should be an examination in public by the reporters with
Edinburgh Council deciding through you Sirs what contribution if any member
of the public or objector, if we could use that term, might make to these
proceedings. It has to be said that after yesterday’s hearing my clients took
some assurance from the fact that the reporters were going to allow their
objections to be explored by those representing their interests and I have to say I
don’t agree with my learned friend that there is a distinct and different procedure
that is being followed by Edinburgh Council that allows for West Lothian and
Midlothian to respond in writing through precognitions to the precognitions that
have been lodged. Firstly, it would have been helpful if Edinburgh Council had
made it clear at the outset that they considered that was the purpose of the two
week delay and that they expected there to be detailed criticism or comment of
the precognitions within the other parties precognitions. Today is the first time
there has been any suggestion to that effect and there is clear prejudice to West
Lothian and Midlothian as for other parties to make comment in relation to their
position but there is prejudice to West Lothian and Midlothian if that is the
position now being taken because it has never been understood before now and a
different approach would have been taken in formulating a response in
precognitions. Secondly, there has been a short period of working days between
Edinburgh Council lodging their precognitions. Some of the precognitions
weren’t available on the day that they should have been. As I indicated
yesterday there was difficulty accessing the website, there was difficulty
downloading documents from the website and the two week period that the
objectors had to respond included the Easter weekend and public holidays. So
there is contention this morning that fairness has been achieved by this
procedure, I would suggest in the circumstances of this case is incorrect and in
any event, it has certainly been my experience in local planning Inquiries and
other adversarial Inquiries that the promoter of the proposals might produce
their precognitions two weeks ahead of any objectors. So this is not unique and
it is not unique to inquisitorial Inquiries. It is something that is often discussed
and agreed at pre-Inquiry meetings in relation to other Inquiries. Regrettably,
Edinburgh Council chose not to have a pre-Inquiry meeting and as a
consequence of that most parties here are in the dark as to what Edinburgh
Council propose to do and how to run the Inquiry, whereas Edinburgh Council
seem to think they know what they are doing. Sir, can I just say that for these
reasons it would cause West Lothian and Midlothian some difficulty if there was
to be the very limited questioning that Mr Thomson now appears to be seeking.
15. Mr Armstrong: Sir, obviously the starting point for consideration of what
questioning is or is not allowed, is the proposed scope and format of the public
enquiry that was approved by the City of Edinburgh Council on the 22nd of
January and Sir I would refer in particular to paragraph 5.5 of that document and
the two sentences that state Whether or not additional questions are allowed will
be solely within the discretion of the reporters. It then goes on They would only
be expected to refuse to allow additional questions if they were to be satisfied
that the subject matter had either been covered earlier or was irrelevant and I
submit that the important passage there is that the second sentence that you Sirs
would only be expected to refuse to allow additional questions if you were
satisfied that the subject matter had been covered earlier or was irrelevant. So
the test is really on considering that you are satisfied that the questions are going
to be either irrelevant or have already been asked. So that is the procedure that
has been set out by the City of Edinburgh Council and approved by the Council
on the 22nd of January. It is my understanding, and my client’s understanding,
that there was no amendment to the procedure by the City of Edinburgh Council
since the 22nd of January. That is the format that we are working in and with
respect to my learned friend no matter what he says today that is the format that
we have all got to work within.
16. Mr Thomson: The point to which I was drawing attention was the previous
sentence that my learned friend didn’t read out. Any third party in attendance
may seek the reporters’ permission to ask additional questions on matters raised
in their objection/representation but not covered by the reporters in their
questions. And that was the procedure which in my submission was not
followed yesterday and it was that departure that I was drawing attention to. I
quite accept what my learned friend says about the two subsequent sentences
that they in my submission have to be taken in the context of that first statement
and it was the fact that people were being not only allowed but invited to ask
questions without qualifying what questions they wished to ask and following
the earlier procedure I was thinking particularly of the later witnesses yesterday
afternoon from the body of the hall who I was not aware had actually indicated
previously at the beginning of the cross examination.
17. Mr Patterson: If I could clarify, two of them did before lunchtime and the
other one put in a written note over lunchtime explaining the matter.
18. Mr Thomson: I am obliged for that. I wasn’t aware of that. It did appear from
where I was sitting that people were being invited.
19. Mr Patterson: It certainly wasn’t an invitation to open house.
20. Mr Thomson: Well I am grateful for that.
21. Professor Begg: We have the note if you require it.
22. Mr Thomson: That was my concern. I would wish respectfully for this to be
seen in public where people are asking to ask questions and that they should
explain in public what additional material they wish to ask so that they can
invite you to exercise the discretion drawn attention to in the subsequent two
23. Dr Sales: Sirs, just before you give your response or ruling on the matter raised
by Mr Thomson can I just say on behalf of the CCRG that I would wish to
associate myself with the comments of Mrs Wilson and Mr Armstrong in
relation to the points that they have made and would add only that one has to see
this whole matter in the context as set out in the document, the proposed scope
and format of the public Inquiry that there is in fact no statutory or other
regulatory basis for this Inquiry which, as Mrs Wilson has said, is a public
Inquiry, therefore factors such as natural justice do have to be borne in mind.
Thank you Sirs.
24. Mr Patterson: Thank you. I am sure it to be well understood that all three of
us reporters are extremely aware that this is not an adversarial Inquiry of a
traditional kind but an inquisitorial one, the terms in which we can have
additional questions have been further discussed in the last few moments. I can
appreciate that it may be difficult for those who are accustomed to the
adversarial procedure to change their approach for this kind of Inquiry. It seems
to me that it would be helpful to ensure the necessary changes are made if we
take requests one topic at a time rather than having a stall set out in advance as
we did yesterday. I do hope and certainly intend most firmly to ensure that
Inquiry process will speed up compared to what happened yesterday otherwise
we shall not get through it to the program.
25. Mr Thomson: Sir a further point, if there are to be questions put it would be
helpful for a note to be given to us in advance of which documents will be
referred to. This was done to some extent but not in every case.
26. Mr Patterson: I think we can now turn to the first witness for the day and that
is Mr Andrew Holmes, the Director of City Development for the City of
Edinburgh Council. I hope everyone has a copy of his summary precognition
and I hope Mr Holmes that you have available to hand both the summary
precognition and perhaps for later use a copy of your full precognition. Could I
then simply invite you please to read your summary precognition?
27. Mr Holmes: Thank you. My name is Andrew Holmes. I am the Director of
City Development for the City of Edinburgh Council. I am responsible for
transport, planning, economic development, property management and
emergency planning. I have held this post since 1999. I have 36 years
experience with various councils in transport and related measures. In terms of
my transportation experience, this was for much of the time concerned with
transport planning work. As such I have had extensive experience either
directly or as a client on a wide range of predictive modelling exercises. The
Edinburgh Congestion Charging Scheme is part of the Council’s Integrated
Transport Initiative, the ITI. The ITI evolved from the earlier new transport
initiative on which we commenced work in 1999 and it now performs the
preferred strategy of the local transport strategy. This in turn reflects the
preferred strategy of the regional transport strategy. The Council established
transport initiatives edinburgh limited, TIE, in 2002. The company was set up
by the Council as a delivery agency for the ITI. It is a wholly owned Council
company. Directors are appointed by the Council. The company was
established with the majority of board members drawn from the private sector.
The business plan for TIE requires annual approval by the Council and specific
issues are reserved for Council approval and these are presented by myself. I
am in no doubt about the importance of tackling the adverse impacts of traffic
congestion in Edinburgh if we are to achieve our policy objectives. In my
considered view the full implementation of the ITI including congestion
charging is critical. I then move on to talk on the vision for Edinburgh,
including economic and demographic trends and challenges. Edinburgh is a
highly successful city with a rapidly growing economy and population. It is the
nation’s capital, a major international tourist destination, contains a world
heritage site and is a major social and cultural centre. The buoyancy of the
economy is illustrated by looking back to employment forecasts from the Lothian
structure plan in 1994. These forecasts predicted that employment throughout
the region would grow by 13,000 in the period between 1991 and 2005. In fact
this level of growth was exceeded in Edinburgh alone by 1999. Journey
patterns have also changed. Very high proportions of the workforce in areas
such as Midlothian and East Lothian now work within the city and commuters
from outside the city are also more likely to commute by car. Labour supply
and demand forecasts for the period up to 2015 indicate a growing shortfall in
Edinburgh labour supply to meet the jobs that will become available and this
shortfall will increase the demand for travel into Edinburgh from a wider area.
A buoyant local economy depends on good transport for goods and people. On
the other hand poor transport links and the attendant effects on congestion,
pollution, noise and severance can weaken the local economy and stifle growth.
A scenario planning exercise was undertaken by the University of St Andrews on
behalf of the Council and public and private partners. This exercise developed
two possible future scenarios for the Edinburgh city region over the next 20
years. The two scenarios Capital Gains and Capital Punishment emerged from
a robust and vigorous data gathering exercise which involved over 80 one to
one interviews and seven group workshops with key stakeholders in the city
region including the representatives of retail interests. Transport was identified
as the pivotal point in both scenarios. Edinburgh and south east Scotland face a
series of critical choices over the next two decades. Each on its own leads to
different differing paths. Cumulatively they lead to starkly distinctive futures. If
congestion charging is implemented it will provide a direct demand
management tool to influence the use of the roads, if not the road network will
continue to clog up. Charging will also raise money for a step change in the
provision of the public transport infrastructure. We cannot expect recent
investment levels in transport to continue in the future without congestion
charging. It is significant in my view that there has been no recent indication
from central government of any replacement to previous funding opportunities
available to local government. Indeed the long term pattern in this respect is
not encouraging and significant local funding opportunity has only been a
feature of the period 1998 to 2002. I can see no opportunities for investment
beyond those schemes currently proposed within the national program. With
conventional funding and without congestion charging this vision will be
extremely difficult to achieve. Moving on to the policy context in the local
transport strategy: The Council has been evolving the ITI since May 1999 and
the ITI constitutes the preferred strategy of the local transport strategy. The
LTS sets up three possible strategies to reduce congestion - a road capacity
strategy, the base strategy and the preferred strategy. Expanding the existing
road network to cater for the projected growth and demand has been rejected.
It is neither technically feasible within Edinburgh nor publicly acceptable.
Whilst the implemented of the base strategy will result in some progress toward
the LTS vision, the limited investments opportunities are not expected to keep
pace with the demand for travel. The result will be increased congestion and a
deteriorating environment, which will undermine the city’s potential for growth
and lead to continuing public dissatisfaction. The first two strategies have also
been rejected on the grounds that they fail to offer a balanced approach to
tackling congestion which needs both an incentive to encourage public transport
use and a disincentive to the use of the car. The preferred strategy incorporates
the full ITI and includes a congestion charging scheme. The primary aim of the
scheme is to manage the level of congestion in the city in accordance with the
aims and objectives of the LTS. This will be achieved through the direct effect
of the charged on behaviour in order to cut congestion and also by generating
additional funds to invest in and improve alternative means of travel to the
private car. The ITI includes the investment which will be made in the run up to
the operation of a congestion charging scheme, the pre-charging investment
package, the investment under the base strategy and the additional investment
as a result of the revenue generated by the congestion charging scheme, which
is the additional investment package. Moving to the Edinburgh and Lothian
Structure Plan. The key planning document relating to Edinburgh, is the
Edinburgh and Lothian Structure Plan 2015, in which it is recognised that the
integration of land use and transport is a fundamental component of meeting the
plan’s objectives. Paragraph 19 of the Structure Plan explains how it relates to
other plans and strategies, including the Regional Transport Strategy. The
Regional Transport Strategy recognises that the key problem for the region is
congestion. Like the LTS the RTS contains two investment options. Option B
involves higher capital spending with revenue spending for transport at least 20
times higher than the previous five year average. Option B depends on
congestion charging revenue. The RTS also has objectives in support of the
structure plan. The RTS recognises the positive role the ITI will have in
achieving the RTS objectives. Delivering integrated transport initiatives
through congestion charging and critical to the preparation and configuration
of the ITI have been the four policy criteria for congestion charging schemes
contained in Scottish Executive guidance. All four criteria have been central to
the development of this congestion charging scheme and the associated
Policy DM2A sets out clearly the Council’s intention to ensure a fair
distribution of the net revenue of congestion charging. Spending will be
apportioned as such that investment in transport improvements between a
Council area and the area within charging cordons is carefully related to the
relevant proportion of congestion charging income. Moving on to why this
particular scheme was chosen: A statement of case explains how the scheme
evolved and sets out the reasons for proceeding with this particular scheme.
Council witnesses John Saunders and Barry Cross who will follow me will
provide more detail on this particular aspect. Moving however to the Baronsing
exercise and the final decision of the Council on whether to proceed to make the
charging order and on what terms and this will not take place until after the
outcome of this enquiry. If the charging order is submitted to the Scottish
ministers for confirmation they will assess it against their policy criteria. The
objective of the scheme is to tackle congestion by introducing a demand
management tool coupled with the ability to create an additional source of
revenue to invest in public transport. Inevitably some people will be worse off,
but many people will be better off and it is important to balance the costs and
benefits of the scheme as explained in a statement of case. The issue of fairness
clearly extends beyond the apportionment of revenues and with any major
transport investment proposal there will be people who gain and there will be
people who lose. For many of these people improved public transport will offer
real advantages as a driver of mode will change. Any concept of fairness must
also extend to those costs imposed by car use upon those who at any given time
are not car users. I note the objections from the City Centre Retail Group and I
also note the results of the modelling undertaken by MVA and David Simmonds
Consultancy. I am aware that this modelling is in some respects inconclusive.
Nevertheless it is necessary to take a robust view of modelling exercises and
ensure that interpretation of results is balanced by knowledge and experience of
the underlying issues. The majority of people who continue to use their car and
pay the charge will also benefit from the scheme through reduced journey times.
Moving on to why other component parts of the ITI will not suffice without
charging: The ITI links the congestion charging scheme and improvements in
public transport schemes in a sustainable loop. This loop cuts congestion and
generates income for investment in improved transport services in mutually
reinforcing supply and demand strategies. Strategies which address only one
side of this supply and demand equation have been considered. It is evident that
the implementation of individual components of the ITI are not enough as they
are unlikely to offer the step change necessary to start the sustainable loop
outlined above. Unless there can be a halt to congestion investment in transport
improvements will experience diminishing returns making each successive
investment proposal more difficult to justify. The control of congestion will
require a step change in which transport investment goes beyond that affordable
through conventional means especially bearing in mind the likely limitations on
transport funding beyond current commitments. Lastly I would like to deal with
the importance of social inclusion. The government’s social exclusion unit
recognises that people may not be able to access services because of social
exclusion and that they may be restricted in their use of public transport by low
income or because bus rail routes are not helpful. The unit recommends a new
approach to transport planning in which a more systematic approach to
accessing accessibility with a clear focus on disadvantaged groups and areas
which have poor access to key services and promoting a more inclusive society
as a key strategic aim of the Council. These specific strategies and the need to
focus on the effects of disadvantaged groups and areas are followed through in
an analysis of the benefits of the ITI of which congestion charging is a key
element. An analysis of accessibility data indicates that the ITI provides
significant overall benefits for the area in terms of improved accessibility to
jobs, shops and health services. The analysis also identifies that socially
excluded groups benefit more than the population as a whole.
28. Mr Patterson: Thank you Mr Holmes. As yesterday there will be questions
from each of the reporters. That will be starting in a moment and I will refer to
the full precognition rather than the summary when I am mentioning paragraph
numbers. The paragraph number, I don’t think I can be too particular to refer to
them, but the ones I have noted are 44and 314. 314 sets out the four criteria as
contained in the Scottish Executive guidance. Can you tell me what is your
current view on the appropriateness or fairness of you moving the outer suburbs
beyond the A720 from the scheme?
29. Mr Holmes: I think I cannot say anything other than my view was set out in
my report to the Council. It does not happen very often that the Council ignores
senior advice but I don’t think there is Council Officer in this room who hasn’t
been in that position at one point or another.
30. Mr Patterson: So it is still your position. As far as you are aware would any of
the other professionals who contributed to the advice have been persuaded that
advice was mistaken since the decision was taken.
31. Mr Holmes: I have to say that the advice was formed in discussion with the
professionals involved in the exercise and I can understand the reasons why the
advice was not taken but that was my advice at the time. I think anybody who
has had any involvement in the public sector and this interface between the
advice process and the decision making process is obviously aware their advice
has a particular context and the decision is made in a wider context and one
recognises that situation.
32. Mr Patterson: Just a small point of clarification. The following paragraph, just
before 314, 315 referred to various criterions and you have given numbers for
them, or rather reference letters, I take it you are actually referring to the ones
which in 314, the Scottish Executive guidance criteria, they were E to H and you
described them as A to D in 315. I think they were the same ones.
33. Mr Holmes: Yes, yes I beg your pardon. That was just a drafting slip.
34. Mr Patterson: Perhaps rather a matter of history than what should be done in
the future but if you had been looking at the situation some years ago, about 10
to 15 I would have gathered being an appropriate period, would it have been
possible to avoid some of the problems which have occurred in the western
outskirts of the city by not making it so easy for so much development to happen
without investment and infrastructure?
35. Mr Holmes: In fact we were looking at it 10 to 15 years ago and I think that is
actually referred to in my precognition and I can see one or two others in this
room, not necessarily in the City Council camp, who were involved in looking at
it at that time. The development on the west side of the city has come about
from a variety of roads. I cannot but point out that the development of the Gyle
Shopping Centre was actually a reporter’s decision and not a Council decision.
36. Mr Patterson: Maybe a ministerial decision. We don’t rightly know.
37. Mr Holmes: And for once the professional advice was taken by the political
38. Mr MacBryde: So let me be quite clear on this. The reporter recommended
and the Secretary of State followed his recommendation.
39. Mr Holmes: I spent six weeks of my life in the Public Inquiry actually
opposing that particular development of the Gyle Shopping Centre so it is kind
of engraved on my memory. Oh yes, I mean, to be fair we look at things
continually in the policy context of the present which doesn’t look upon such
things and if you go back to the policy context then, then that particular proposal
was actually seen as one of a family of competing proposals. None of which
incidentally I supported but the reporter was viewing it quite properly in terms
of the national policies at the time but for in terms of meeting a retail deficiency
and for the record that is the position. In terms of the wider commercial
development in here, remember we are here as my report comments on because
of the problems which a successful economy has brought in its wake. And
Edinburgh, and I would say this wouldn’t I, is the economic flagship for
Scotland and the Edinburgh economy, as the wider Edinburgh economy, the
Edinburgh economy is the economy of all the surrounding authorities here in the
Lothians. Okay I mean there are some things which would happen and
whatever but the reason why we have the dynamic economy in the south east of
Scotland is essentially related to the particular factors which have caused the
wider Edinburgh economy to be successful and to grow and growing economy
does require various land use decisions and it is difficult to envisage
alternatively, let’s call it less unsatisfactory locations for a lot of the non-retail
activity which exists in west Edinburgh other than that particular location. And
yes there is always a problem in terms of playing catch up in infrastructure but
it’s a very visible and prominent manifestation of economic success. The reason
why we are all here. I think there is a fundamental point in my own
precognition and approach to this and what is needed to continue to underpin
that economic success.
40. Mr Patterson: Paragraph 43 you are referring to the £2 charge of being at
about the right level and you give reasons that a pound charge is not enough to
effect people’s behaviour and you are referring to motoring costs and typical
parking charges of around £2 an hour. What do you think of the argument that it
is the sheer inconvenience and the worry about things going wrong and caught
in a bureaucratic vortex of enforcement if you get involved with paying
congestion charges? That just the fact of having paying at all, never mind
whether it is £1, £2 or £5, might be considerate to some people.
41. Mr Holmes: I think that if you get the scheme wrong then that is obviously a
valid point and I think it has been made one of the criticisms of London scheme,
which I would argue is different. I would argue that it is actually a less
pragmatic scheme than the one we are proposing for Edinburgh. If you look at,
for example, the Norwegian schemes, which are not strictly congestion charging
but they offer the same sort of mechanics, then they have evolved and have been
in operation for some considerable time and I am not aware from discussions
with some of the people who have been involved in it or from the follow up
visits which staff and colleagues have made that the hassle factor is necessarily
there. So I think it is possible, with the right sort of local publicity, with the
right sort of administrative arrangements, to get around the hassle factor and
quite clearly when one comes to actually promote the scheme and the current
antagonisms or whatever are behind you working in a much better environment
and much clearer environment to ensure that you get that kind of hassle free
factor in and it becomes no more hassle than the daily trip across the Forth
42. Mr Patterson: It may not be perhaps the least inappropriate comparison
because if you envisage the way in which tolls are paid there, it probably would
not affect many people’s decision as to whether to cross at all or whether to use
that bridge or go by Kincardine. But for a person driving alone in a car actually
having to remember to put the coins in a convenient place, or having to dig them
out if they are not and perhaps worrying about annoying the following traffic by
stopping at the booth and finding a purse and seeing if there are enough 10p
pieces in it, there is a hassle factor there which probably can be glossed over by
the fact that there is no alternative to the bridge but in this case there would be
43. Mr Holmes: There is a hassle factor in every trip. Look at the total trip making
mechanism for example for somebody coming in to shop in Edinburgh even at
the moment. You’ve got all the hassle with anticipating what the congestion is
going to be like. Am I going to find a car parking space? They’ve got the
hassle which you then get out of the car in terms of the levels of congestion, the
conflicts between user pedestrian going to your final destination and traffic. I
think it’s actually worth commenting on, that what is the traditional reaction in
any sort of survey for people on foot in the city centre is there is too much traffic
so you know there is hassle in the trip. What you’ve got, I suppose in here, and
again it’s part of the integrated approach to this, is yes you have an extra
mechanism in there but your hoping to make the journey smoother in a whole
different set of respects elsewhere and a scheme itself will evolve over time but
we’ve had reference to the Singapore Scheme for example, which has been in
operation for the best part of 30 years and has evolved from, you know, paper
through to tag recognition. It is now moving into site and that’s in part
administrative convenience and in part customer convenience even in Singapore
so these factors can all be recognised and worked upon.
44. Mr Patterson: In 5.4 you fight through balancing the costs and benefits and
you’re also referring to the impact of diverting traffic, which is traffic that
diverts away from accordance on to other streets. These impacts have to be
measured into sets to be relative to the scheme and traffic management measures
could be taken but if also parking management comes in to deal with the effect,
if it’s acceptably selected to happen, of informal park and ride seclusions being
set up, I think some people believe takes place already with regard to the
parking zones. Is this in effect a double whammy is I think one objective that’s
described it, they may have to use, they may have to pay the congestion charge
to go into the city centre or in some situations to come back from work outside
if they live within that area and at the same time they will have additional
disruptions from parking restrictions and perhaps road closures or measures of
45. Mr Holmes: First of all anybody who comes to live within the cordon is living
within a controlled parking zone and has been since 1974 so the controlled
parking zone is already in place inside the cordon.
46. Mr Patterson: I think that was more to do with the possibility of extending the
controls in order to deal with problems which would be anticipated.
47. Mr Holmes: Well the controls are actually in the processes of going through
the various statutory procedures for extension, but that is you know, principally
in response to long running problems which residents already have fortuitously
and coincidentally. You can also see the benefits which would be associated by
that extension in terms of any further development of the kind of informal park
and ride that exists. In fact the processes have reached the point, where on
Tuesday next week, the Councils executive will be considering a report by
myself following the statutory consultation, which proposes some minor
amendments and cause for a hearing. So you know that process is well under
way and I would imagine the equivalent of this gathering taking place in the
autumn on the next stages with implementation following on from that. But as I
said it’s a constantly evolving organic process that will issue the traffic and
transport management inside the city.
48. Mr Patterson: I was intrigued yesterday on my journey home to see newspaper
recording for a U-turn in a parking scheme, it didn’t actually say it was in
Edinburgh, I don’t know if it was Edinburgh, but perhaps you could cast some
light on what it might be about bearing in mind that a u-turn for a newspaper
might be a 2 degree turn to other people.
49. Mr Holmes: I think what the newspaper is referring to is in this report, which
would have come into the public domain yesterday and newspapers have to have
headlines, what it is actually referring to is that the public consultation is lead to
certain changes shifting the permit sealing from one per household to two and
withdrawing the scheme boundary in the Shandon area, in fact coincidentally,
and the small part of North Edinburgh.
50. Mr Patterson: It didn’t actually say it was Edinburgh but I suspected it might
51. Mr Holmes: Well you could write an alternative history of the universe based
on local newspaper headlines.
52. Mr Patterson: Perhaps a more serious question, I am not sure how much
consideration has been going on of the implications for a very site specific
creation of new loads or points of opportunity or pressure for development, if
the scheme went ahead with the package that is envisaged. How is any
assessment going to be fed into the detail planning process of land allocations
53. Mr Holmes: Are you concerned sir that there are going, if I can understand the
question properly, in that the existence of congestion charging will lead to
specific pressures inside or outside.
54. Mr Patterson: More to do with the investments themselves. New transport
routes for example.
55. Mr Holmes: As the construction plan itself states, one of the key issues is the
integration of land use and transport and if we take the, I can only speak at the
moment for the city, if we take the key infrastructure proposals inside the city,
which are based around the three tram routes, these serve the, in no particular
order, both the key development areas on the waterfront which will actually
account for a very large proportion of the city’s housing take up over the next
few years, as well as some employment uses outside the Leith Docks area and
Granton and we’re looking at 12, 13, 15,000 dwellings in total over the plan
period. The tram line also serves West Edinburgh and what has been identified
in the National Planning Guideline as the National Strategic Opportunity around
Edinburgh, which is quite clearly, a link into there, and tramline three on the
south side of the city serving the New Royal Infirmary, it serves the site which
has just been granted planning consent for the large Biomedical Park which
would go on to serve the major Craigmillar development area and the Kinnaird
Park extension into the southern part of Musselburgh, which in itself is another
development area. So I am quite clear that the tram routes themselves have
covered the major development hotspots and obviously we have much less of an
infrastructure than a bus based opportunity to do things, which are not currently
financially possible with the bus network to pick up other developing areas.
56. Mr Patterson: Would you see the trams being as the most significant as far as
the serving for the creation process?
57. Mr Holmes: I think so, I mean they are quite clearly the step change in
infrastructure, I know, and this is not one particularly first inquiry, it’s got its
own life elsewhere, the case for the tram routes. But you go to Edinburgh’s
European Comparators and you see the way in which the step changes of
infrastructure, in terms of investment in the cities in recent years, has actually
brought about a whole different way in which the cities are run. I mean, I know
it is fairly a trite and common statement that we are you know entering another
period of urban renaissance but in particularly in a city like Edinburgh, that’s
never going to happen, you know you will choke on your own success without
these kind of major infrastructure provisions and step changes in the way in
which we cater for and manage transport.
58. Mr Patterson: When you refer to European Comparators and infrastructure,
are you referring to the creation of extensions to existing tram systems or the
creation of new tram systems in particular or to general…..?
59. Mr Holmes: I think it is both, I mean if you’ve got the likes of Strasburg, for
example, where the tram routes are extending rapidly in their and you can see
the way in which the whole city has evolved. A city like Montpellier in France,
which the tram is clearly linked to the whole way in which the city has
regenerated itself and redeveloping the way in which the German cities are
expanding their tram networks. Look, if you take the longer term view, if
you’ve got these constant investment streams you can do again what these cities
are doing, in which the city network rapidly becomes the wider agglomeration
and the surrounding districts.
60. Mr Patterson: What do you say to those who doubt that £2 would be enough
to make much difference? I think either of us were to come from different
directions, not from one particular point of view, can come from one very green
view, wouldn’t be described as so green but more motorist friendly.
61. Mr Holmes: I think I would, in this instance, say that I had been persuaded by
the modellers in terms of their own assessments. I suppose, intuitively it feels
that’s the kind of level which has not been too painful, a sufficiently large
marginal slice on demand, to bring things back within a manageable context.
Yes, I would say the particular local circumstances, I would feel that that
outcome price levels is about the right figure. There are various criticisms, in
fact, on the one hand people are saying it’s not enough and on the other, you
know, turning to London and saying it is going to be, it’s at a level in which
your income will dissipate because it will reduce demand too much.
62. Mr Patterson: How would you respond to the argument that because of the
charge there will be more deliveries taking place at night causing annoyance to
63. Mr Holmes: There’s a lot of retail delivery activity already takes place outside
charging hours for quite sensible legitimate reasons and these things can be
controlled through normal environmental health and the rest of it I would have
to say, where the £2 charge is trivial, is in the context of operating a large heavy
commercial vehicle. I mean that’s about how much it costs to get a large lorry
from one end of Princess street to another when you are doing the charges and I
do feel that this is one area above all where you can manifestly see the benefits
that the flow from congestion relief is in terms of what it costs you to run a
heavy goods vehicle in terms of the current operating climate and regulation.
64. Mr Patterson: As for the particular suggestion that delivery vehicles, which
saves customers from having to drive to shops to collect goods should be
exempt, how do you feel?
65. Mr Holmes: No, I mean I think it comes back to the benefits from congestion
relief and the approach, there are rafts of suggestions for exemptions, I don’t
feel that’s one that can be justified because I think that again is another area
where someone is manifestly benefiting from congestion relief and where, the
charge, the daily charge is such a tiny portion of the total operating cost.
66. Mr Patterson: Thank you. Professor Begg next may wish to put some
questions to you.
67. Professor Begg: Oh thank you. Some of them are related to the questions
which I asked of Councillor Burns yesterday and some from what Mr Patterson
has been talking about today. Can I take you, because you took us, to the Smeed
report first of all because there has been reference to this on many occasions
throughout the precognitions but I am not at all clear the interpretation of that
report has been the same on all the precognitions? Now if either one of us starts
swimming out of our depths perhaps we could throw one another a life belt. My
understanding of the Smeed report and in fact to paragraph 1.3, is simply that
journeys should not be made if they are valued at less than the costs or the losses
that they cause to other people and the fundamental difficulty is drivers of
private cars take into the account only their private costs incurred by them, they
don’t take into account the other costs involved, including the costs which they
impose on other drivers by exercising their choice to use the private car rather
than make trips and I think this is quite a common statement we can agree on.
So again this is the basic economic principals to which you were referring?
68. Mr Holmes: In principal.
69. Professor Begg: I think we can agree that economists generate more theory
than we can apply.
70. Mr Holmes: Yes, I look forward to the latest in car device being the in car
71. Professor Begg: I am afraid you will need two economists, one to drive and the
other one to correct the driver. By so doing though, if the driver takes only into
account the private cost, then the idea is that it is totally understating the impact
on the community at large. So if the drivers judge that the cost of the trip by car
is too great, if they require to cover the additional social costs, they will do one
of three things. They will either switch to another time of the day or another
route, the second thing they could do is move to another form of transport, shift
the demand in other words to another form of transport, and thirdly as a last
resort, they might decide to not take the trip at all. Now these are all three
possibilities. Now that’s the theory. The charge, just to underscore this, so that
I can understand this and carry this through to questions to other witnesses, the
charge then is the price which is imposed on road users which is intended to
make them cover the social costs and that is the reason which they impose on
other people and that’s the reason, the fundamental reason for putting in this
charge. There will be revenue generated, and I will come to that in a moment,
but is that the fundamental reason, or if there is another reason, which has been
alleged by others that you are simply trying to raise funding for other purposes.
72. Mr Holmes: No, that is the fundamental reason, you know we’ve all, I suspect
in our background, our student days, seen all the Smeed graphs and I am sure if
I dig hard enough in my memory I’ll remember answering second year
questions on it or something. But the core reason and Smeed is sited in here in
part, I suppose, to represent the pedigree of this as a concept rather than to claim
that we are following precise media principals. That the core principal remains,
that you are seeking in a congested situation, to change the balance of cost so
there is a recognition as you say of those wider social costs, a recognition, it’s
sufficient a level to induce a change of behaviour along the lines of which you
set out, that is the core transport principal in here. It’s incidentally the one
which legislation requires us to reflect and incidentally provises my recognition
said, the investment look, which allows you to get into a virtuous circle and to
actually induce, let’s call it in a less painful process of that part of the loop, a
further beneficial change in transport behaviour.
73. Professor Begg: Thank you for that. Could I suggest to you that one of the
reasons that Smeed is important to us is that they introduced the notion on
settling on a price and that it’s very important to be able to establish what that
price is because it’s the price which is charged which encourages the motorist to
cover the social costs. Now let me go directly to this that is apparently a very
important point, you have fixed on the charge of £2, you have been persuaded
by the modellers and it would appear to me that the answer to that question by
Mr Patterson was that, it seemed to be roughly alright in terms of the amount of
revenue that would be generated. This is why you had to go back to Smeed.
You settled on that because it was the amount of revenue, I beg your pardon,
please correct me.
74. Mr Holmes: That is not what I intended.
75. Professor Begg: I am obliged.
76. Mr Holmes: No that is quite definitely not what I intended. I think in terms in
the way in which that particular level affects travel behaviour, I think there are
witnesses following me who are far better able to respond to that, I think my, if
you like, in terms of feeling about right, was in the context of what represents
charges for other transport services if you like. It’s a charge, given that it
produces a significant shift in travel behaviour and others will come along and
talk about the mechanisms for that, seems to do without manifestly being again
in a local context, unaffordable, so lets call it a moderately affordable charge,
which produces the desired level of travel behaviour and relates, is the way that
I see it, other existing or potential charges for transport services. It wasn’t
intended at all to reflect anything about a revenue stream.
77. Professor Begg: I am obliged to you for that. So it’s really about how you can
achieve alternative modes of transport reasonably priced, which will encourage
a moral split. Could you respond to the suggestions that there are, as far as the
charge, there are two fundamental difficulties. One simply is, that fixed charge
of £2 imposed in the manner as proposed, is really a very crude way of going
about road charging and there are other methods technically available now, for
instance you refer to the satellite systems, where it is possible as some witnesses
have suggested and as I have read elsewhere to represent a much more refined
way of charging both by time of day and by route and indeed can now actually
enable the driver to make an informed choice because of a prediction for that
day, on that route, of what congestion will be rather than what it was in the past.
Could you help me out with this fundamental difficulty that the economist
would like to be able to price in a much more refined way to get an idealised
78. Mr Holmes: I think I would have to go along with a lot of what Councillor
Burns said yesterday on this, that there is, and this is a classic Edinburgh thing,
that there is always a good point where people say in which to defer a decision.
You can see, I think I would describe it as an evolving technology for a satellite
based system. I think the governments own work on that has suggested that an
extension to a national level is some way off. You know we are talking about a
relatively small city here and again as Councillor Burns said a charging, which
again is relatively small compared to the London charging. So there is a point
which practical issues and pragmatism kicks in and I think that is a strong
element of the current scheme and I think I’d have to come back again and say
that nothing is set in tablets of stone and I think I come back again to what has
happened in Singapore and what is happening also with some of the
Scandinavian Schemes. You can start off, and this is a very good way in terms
of a general approach, you start off on low tech and you find out all the issues
and you gradually evolve into higher tech solutions and as those higher tech
solutions themselves go forward, and I know one thing for certain is that it is not
the role or a capability for a small city like Edinburgh, to be the breakthrough
authority on high tech solutions on road user charging.
79. Professor Begg: Can you agree as the advisor to Councillor Burns with his
view as I understood it to be, that the amount of investment that would be
required to move from your current low tech situation to a higher tech situation,
would not involve undue capital investment, in other words, this evolutionary
process could be done in an evolutionary way.
80. Mr Holmes: I think it can be done in an evolutionary way - in an incremental
way, I beg your pardon. It can be done in an incremental way; it can be done in
that respect, provided that you have the tried and operational technology, the
breakthroughs in technology are really going to be made at national government
level to be honest. I mean the Dutch have tinkered with it, the department for
transport are now looking at it but it’s that kind of national approach that will be
needed to take us to these technological step changes. On the other hand, there
are technologies, which quite describe them as off the shelf, which we can look
at locally, and as I said nothing is set in tablets of stone, you can evolve.
81. Professor Begg: The answer to the question, I take it, is yes, it could be done
and that you see no technical difficulty in meshing an Edinburgh system, which
would be started now for very good reasons as you say, with a national….
82. Mr Holmes: I would have to say that there are others behind me that can
answer that question far better.
83. Professor Begg: Thank you very much, I understand. Could you take, could I
take you to the second fundamental difficulty as I read this? That the manner, in
which the revenues generated are distributed, lies at the heart of whether a
scheme can be considered to be fair or not. Is this, we have a plethora of
objections about fairness and I am trying to establish just exactly why an
economically sound scheme could be considered to be unfair.
84. Mr Holmes: I think, it again comes back to what I said a few minutes ago. If
you are going to induce the travel behaviour and at the same time accord with
travel behaviour change and accord with the principal of fairness, is that those
who are paying the charge should see in the round, you know, accept that there
are geographical local issues, should see the benefits and that is fundamentally
in terms of this councils approach to the distribution of revenue. You heard
Counsellor Burns give the assurances, I can only repeat the assurances as the
professional advisor, I would expect those assurances to be turned, reflected in
ministerial guidance and I have absolutely no problems in reiterating that
undertaking in terms of developing and evolving investment packages.
85. Professor Begg: I can understand you’re speaking in generalities, in the sense
that the package of costs and the package of benefits, but there objections, I
think Mr Armstrong was articulating some of them in a particular way
yesterday, that there was a degree of unfairness in which the way the revenues
were getting redistributed and could I take as a starting point my noting of a
number of the objections that there are, first of all from some motorists that
oppose congestion in Edinburgh, who are not being charged and secondly, some
motorists who are being charged but will not be the beneficiary’s of the
improved alternative facilities which is imposed ,will be encouraged in
Edinburgh and it’s immediate surroundings. These seem to be the two basic
arguments that were being put forward.
86. Mr Holmes: I think the core of Mr Armstrong’s - if I could, I’m sorry, I refer
to Mr Armstrong
87. Professor Begg: If we could keep away specifically - I think, if we make it a
88. Mr Holmes: Right, the core of our general point, I think really relates to
travellers in the donut because I don’t think it actually applies in the city centre,
given the tightness of the geographical area. Travellers in the donut in the
morning peak period, for which the outer core is in operation, who are making
annular journeys, imposing congestion or short distance journeys but who are
not being charged. I mean that is quite correct and I think you are back to what I
said about pragmatism, to do, you are moving through step changes in terms of
technical implementation and cost. It’s not, you know, that somebody has
started off with the agenda that we must at all costs ensure that Edinburgh
residents aren’t paying; it is undoubtedly a consequence of the scheme. That
there are people moving around in that annular ring who are imposing
congestion but who are not paying a charge and that is a feature of the scheme.
Nevertheless, the simple pragmatic scheme that we have evolved, brings about
what in my view is a desirable level of congestion relief and gives us the
freedom of movement, which we are looking for, I cannot anticipate what
changes might be made on the back of technology and changing circumstances.
89. Professor Begg: So in tackling the question of fair treatment however, you are
not suggesting for a moment that some motorists who impose congestion on
other persons and impose environmental costs are not being charged.
90. Mr Holmes: There are always people, you could say, there are people moving
around in the system who are not paying a charge that is present. On the other
hand, anybody who is paying a charge is reaping the benefits in terms of an
investment stream coming back to a system in their journey’s and alternative
journeys and incidentally the particular type of room that I have just referred to
is not one, there are things that will happen from the investment scheme that will
induce, that will persuade, travel change the principal step change is one.
Actually, if you look at some of the networks relate primarily to cordon crossing
journeys but that’s an incidental. But yes, people are moving around within the
cordon and not paying a charge but I still maintain it’s a pragmatic approach
towards implementation of a scheme, it produces the desired congestion
benefits, in that you keep to the fundamental point of fairness, which is the
people who are paying the charge and the others who are not, are benefiting
from the investment stream, which their paying that charge brings about. I
think that’s the fundamental principal of fairness which I return to.
91. Professor Begg: You can see our difficulty of course can’t you, that we have
the Scottish Executive guidance, to which you have referred to twice in your
precognition, that there is fair treatment of those who pay the charge and/or
suffer congestion or environmental problems and those who benefit from the
scheme. I think what you are inviting us to do, and again please help me, you
are inviting us to suggest the fair treatment for individuals and individual cases
may not as an idealised concept, and are you inviting us, to consider things
much more in the round.
92. Mr Holmes: No, I have asked you to consider the scheme in the round. I come
back to my fundamental point in terms of fair treatment, for those who pay the
charge benefit from an identifiable investment stream into their area. Those
people, who are paying the charge, are benefiting from the subsequent
investment. Those who pay gain from the measures which flow from the charge
that they are paying. That’s the fundamental point of fairness with those
geographical imbalances which I have just touched on.
93. Professor Begg: Can I take you to paragraph 5.3 then of your, just to test that
general proposition and helpful rule that you’re suggesting we might wish to
apply. Now if I am correct, this is in your main precognition, yes, you told me
that one notable group of beneficiaries will be the 40% of Edinburgh households
who do not have access to a car. Now is it fair that motorists who pay a
congestion charge should provide benefits for non motorists who do not?
94. Mr Holmes: Well at the current time they are making their life extremely
difficult and they are not getting any of the benefits of car use. You know this is
one of the reasons why one tries to partially to redress these imbalances with
things like bus lanes. You can have a corridor of movement in the city in which
the majority of people are travelling in public transport and you know all the
arguments on relative levels of use and who’s journey is being unnecessarily
delayed by the presence of much less efficient use of the private motor car and
that’s before you go into all the issues around environmental pollution,
accidents, noise and again one of the features of a city like Edinburgh, it’s a high
density of a huge number of households who suffer from the environmental
impact of unrestricted car use and I do think any form of transport demand
management presses all the right buttons in terms of a social inclusion policy.
That’s always seemed to me to be one of the most inequitable features, I am
sorry if I am sounding a bit ideological here, I don’t mean to be.
95. Professor Begg: No, not at all it is very helpful.
96. Mr Holmes: Of unrestricted in the technical sense of car use, is the costs that
are imposed on people because they do not have access to a car. It usually
reflects their particular place in societal hierarchies and this just seems to me, to
be an additional burden, which they have to carry and I stand by my point that
incidentally there are considerable benefits, in terms of social inclusion, from
such a policy.
97. Professor Begg: I don’t want to press this too far, but again I suggest in my
thinking, which I hope you will help me with my muddle. Is that, I thought the
first part of your answer was to encourage the motorists to cover the social costs,
which they imposed on non motorists through air pollution, and deterioration of
the environment and so to move from their, to social inclusion slightly baffles
me. A congestion charge may be combatable with the Governments Social
Inclusion Policies but it doesn’t seem to me that it’s fair that the government’s
social inclusion policy should be paid for by motorists. I am using your own
rule here it should be paid for by motorists paying a congestion charge.
98. Mr Holmes: Well you are not asking the government’s social inclusion policies
to do that, I think the point I was trying to make, is that the government’s social
inclusion policy’s in this respect, actually reflect that basic principal of Smeed,
that we were discussing a few minutes ago.
99. Professor Begg: Very compatible?
100. Mr Holmes: Yes absolutely, in terms of imposed costs.
101. Professor Begg: Yup, but you’re not imposing that this charge, in other words,
nobody should take out what you said, that social inclusion is being funded by
102. Mr Holmes: No I don’t, I think this is, we’ve talked about beneficial loops and
all the rest of it. This is a congestion charge for use of the congested road
network; it is not a social inclusion tax.
103. Professor Begg: Thank you. I hesitate to ask you to tell me the difference
between a charge and a tax. I am going to leave that to somebody else.
104. Mr Holmes: I am sure there is an economist somewhere in the train who will
be able to answer.
105. Professor Begg: Yes we could have endless fun with that. Could I ask you to
look please, just for a moment, at paragraph 5.6 and it’s a bit of a step change
but we are just moving on to the modelling side of things and you’ve noted the
objections from the city centre retail group and you note the results of the
modelling and this is what I am focusing on, undertaken by MVA and the David
Simmons Consultancy and your aware this modelling is in some respects
inconclusive. I think both of those, the consultancy themselves, indicate this
very fairly and it is not unusual that such modelling will be that way. I would
just like you to expand a little bit, for our benefit, on the next sentence I am
aware that this modelling, in some respects, is inconclusive. Nevertheless, it’s
necessary to take a robust view of modelling exercises. Now, it would be open
to an interpretation that these are the only modelling exercises that we have.
They are not incompatible with what we would like to see in Edinburgh but it is
a bit of a jump, isn’t it, simply to say that the models are inconclusive, so we’ll
assume that the outcomes are as we would have hoped they would have been?
106. Mr Holmes: No, I don’t think it’s intended. Modelling is often inconclusive
but you know the core point and cause it’s so easy to get sucked into this, in a
technical environment, that I have been guilty of myself in the past. Modelling
is an aid to decision making, it is not substitute for decision making and I think
that is the core point. Modelling informs our decision making, it would be
foolish not to do so, nevertheless there are one or two in particular features
which cause me to be, let’s call it sceptical, in terms of interpreted features. For
example, in a very short period of time, one of the issues around congestion
charging would be to holt the current levels of population growth. You can
now, with my planning a development hats on, and I can see the immense
pressures for housing in particular in the city. I am in daily contact with those
who desire to build houses in the city, who are all well aware of the issues
around congestion charges, some of them have actually been involved with
some of the various focus groups and discussions and things that have been
going on in the background, and I do not detect anybody saying that this is
going to halt our proposal. So it’s my ability, if you like, to take that kind of
wider overview that can bring in less quantified facts, says well, how? I think
you are actually being just a little bit overly pessimistic.
107. Professor Begg: Yes, you’re questioning the assumptions.
108. Mr Holmes: I am not trying to, I think I am trying to do some intelligent
questioning here, I am not trying to look at life with rose coloured spectacles,
you know, it would be foolish of me to think there are not a variety of issues and
problems around that but I do think that in that particular respect that I have just
touched on the modelling has been overly pessimistic. Modelling and modern
modelling is a wonderful tool, it’s an essential tool to decision making exercises,
but it’s not the only one.
109. Professor Begg: Indeed, however the modelling exercises are fundamental to
an estimation of the revenues to which you plan to generate and thereafter
distribute. Now, in the event that the modelling exercises are flawed, whether
fundamentally or simply blemished, these results are going to impact are they
not on the cake even before you start to divide it up. We discussed the
provisions. I am trying to get to my last point which is, can the revenue stream
be relied upon and it is certainly our intention to test the models in so far as we
can, but I need your view please.
110. Mr Holmes: I am going back, I am persuaded, that the modelling in that
particular area, are sufficiently robust and as you say you will have your
opportunities to test that later. Let’s come back to some fundamental principals
of the scheme, which is in terms of the relief of congestions, the suggestion
seems to be that you will actually relieve congestion even more than you are
currently anticipating. Now, if that’s the kind of thing if you come back to, that
particular wonderful situation in some respects perhaps and you’re comfortable
about some of the side effects you can look at that point, to add modifications
and variations of the scheme, I think you’ve got to avoid at all costs thinking
that the scheme is something which is set in tablets of stone. The technology,
the charging regimes and whatever can evolve over time in due process.
111. Professor Begg: Would you agree with…
112. Mr Holmes: But at the moment, I am confident we got it right.
113. Professor Begg: Would you agree with the simplistic approach, that were the
revenues generated to be less than anticipated, that would be an indication that
congestion had actually fallen and according to the funding for the other forms
of transport, might not be necessary on the timescale that you already
114. Mr Holmes: If the income falls, then you have not got the same level of
opportunity for reinvestment. That’s an obvious fact. You then you have to
reassess the investment package against the fact that your income is falling,
congestion levels have changed to a different way to that, which you anticipated.
115. Professor Begg: But I put it to you; it’s an important matter that I am still
struggling with. The financing of the improved transport facilities within
Edinburgh are not an end in themselves, they are to provide an alternative to the
motorist who would otherwise have used a motor car.
116. Mr Holmes: I take the point that you’re driving at and I think that what one has
to do is to concentrate your assessments. There are things in the current
investment package, which if you like, have a greater impact in that respect than
others. So quite clearly again, you stick to the fundamental principals of
fairness, you address the market you have changed and you make sure the
priorities in your investment package continue to relate to that. Now I don’t
think it’s beyond the realms of possibility if you find, for example that let’s say
along the A8 corridor, you have removed more people than you originally
intended that you would not then readdress your investment package in this
particular context to giving a greater priority to that corridor.
117. Professor Begg: Thank you, Mr Holmes. No further questions. Mr
118. Mr Patterson: Just to pick up one point emerging from that last discussion.
Supposing the revenues were less than predicted because the scheme had been
more effective than predicted in persuading people not to use cars. The benefit
to non car uses we presume would be proportionately less predictable because
you wouldn’t have funds available for so much investment and public transport
for people to use.
119. Mr Holmes: No, I think it’s a wee bit more complex than that with respect,
because I think if the congestion is less the benefits to non car users moving
around in the areas where congestion’s reduced, actually become greater, there
is less of an investment package to benefit from. On the other hand, right across
the piece from environmental considerations like air pollution, which is
incidentally as others will speak on this, is a major government ticket in the box
scare, these improve. The balance of benefits changes, the benefits are still
there. It is something I suppose you are weighing up but what are you gaining
here from congestion relief, as opposed to what you would otherwise gain from
the benefits, which flow from the revised infrastructure program.
120. Mr Patterson: Thank you. It’s just coming up to five past eleven useful just to
take a five minute break before we go into questions from Mr MacBryde.
121. Mr MacBryde: Yes indeed. Good Morning Mr Holmes. Couple of
preliminary points if I may. One is that for all practical purposes I have not
been in Edinburgh for 40 years so I may have to refer to my A to Z because
although I know central Edinburgh like the back of my hand, I don’t know outer
Edinburgh. The second point is, although I am a Scot and a town planner, I
have never practiced town planning in Scotland, so if I make any reference to
regulations or acts or any other procedures, which are peculiar to England, you
will be able to translate in your own mind I have no doubt. Right, well, the first
point is the question of the Scottish Executive Guidance, the former policy
criteria. I am bound to say that I woke up at 5:30 this morning with something
on my mind, so I got up at 5:30 and I read, re-read I might add, T7 from cover to
cover, and I think I know what my anxiety is. We collectively are being asked
to recommend the confirmation of this charging order and as I made clear to
Councillor Burns yesterday and have discussed with my colleges, I think the
proper operation of the charging order will be absolutely contingent upon the
investment packages being not only in place but implemented. Would you not
only agree with that? The whole thing hangs together. However, in our
recommendations if we’re minded to recommend the confirmation, the order,
can you comment on how we can make that recommendation contingent upon
the effective implementation of the various ancillary features of which critically
depends on as the point Professor Begg touched upon fairly recently in his
122. Mr Holmes: The Councillor’s been quite clear from the start, that this is
presented as part of an integrated transport initiative and I don’t think as
Councillor Burns said yesterday and I have said neither, that’s the context and
we have no difficulties, I suppose within our respect of powers, of guaranteeing
that is what one would do. The difficulties I think also come from what
Professor Begg and I have been discussing prior to the break. The difficulty
within that of tying down in every last detail, schemes that would form part of
that package, I mean there are the two separate issues. One, let’s not call it an
uncertainty of revenue streams and schemes that would flow but the doubts that
have been cast and what I have just said is how one would tailor the investment
package, you know, to accord with these criteria as the full effects were
developed and were monitored. The Second and I think Mr Cross who follows
me will be able to speak about in rather more detail, is how one deals with the
outer Edinburgh schemes and the relationship to that of the regional transport
strategy. Now, I can see how you may wish to bind into your own
recommendations, the need to keep to the integrated transport initiative and that
of course is fundamental to our own approach to this. Where, I suppose one
uncertainty’s come in to the extent to which you would want to be scheme
specific within that as opposed to principal specific.
123. Mr MacBryde: Yes, thank you. It has just been pointed out to me by Mr
Patterson that shouldn’t of course refer to the confirmation of the order. I was
thinking I was in a normal CPO inquiry and that is the way I would recommend
to the Secretary of State. So forgive me, we are not recommending confirmation
124. Mr Holmes: I think we are all having difficulty in coming to terms with this
125. Mr MacBryde: Now the second thing is from a global perspective, the
question of transport planning. Now you may wish to refer this question to a
later witness, so please do so. But I think it touches on various land use
planning considerations. I’ll put it to you. Can I sort of recall the situation of
Edinburgh 50 years ago when I lived here? At that time, as I recall, there were
50 route miles of tramway and possibly up to 50 suburban railway stations. All
have gone virtually. The trams went between 1952 and 1956 and the suburban
railway network vanished between the closing of Bologna Branch in 42, the
closure of the Southside suburban railway in 62, so it took longer to die.
However, my recollection of the systems then was - high capacity, high quality
in many ways, was that it was fearfully lacking in integration. There was
absolutely no attempt of integration between the tram services and the train
service and further as you probably know, the railway network was further
fragmented by developing by two independent companies, which never got their
act together even after amalgamation. What strikes me about the present
integrated transport initiative is that I am not entirely satisfied that this nettle of
integration has been fully grasped. For example, what I am really getting at is
that the present bus network, as far as central Edinburgh is concerned, seems
remarkably similar to the old tram network and the new tram system. Only
vaguely does it follow at all the railway system but what’s worrying me more I
think, both the two tram lines, which have got authorisation don’t appear in any
document I have seen, to be adequate integration between a rationalized bus
network and the new tram system. You recall that the Tyne & Weir metro
suffered very badly from Bus deal regulation because all the interchange
facilities became largely redundant because the bus service and you know we’ve
had the metro. Are you satisfied there’s going to be adequate integration on
that, the land use provision is going to be made for this?
126. Mr Holmes: Yes, I mean I would have to say so in procedure. I mean strictly
speaking, this is an issue which I have no doubt is going to be explored by
parliamentary committee’s in the next 18 months or so in respect of the tram.
But put your mind at rest in this context. I think as I said earlier on, the tram
networks very much reflect the development hot spots within the city, let’s call
it that, at that macro level. At the micro level, in terms of the development of
the proposals, one, you know, is always again unlike our continental
comparators and I will say this burdened with the restrictions of the Transport
Act and de-regularisation. We are in a rather better situation in this city in a
number of respects. One that the principal, the dominant operator by a mile in
the area of the first two tram schemes is just a single operator Lothian Buses,
which is also owned by the Council and is within the confines of the act. I’d say
there’s a working relationship in there in terms of addressing problems and
again there has been as part of the tram procurement exercise, a memorandum of
understanding developed, I won’t call it any more than that, between the bus
operator and the Council and TIE acting as the promoter of the tram, which
covers that operational bus-tram integration and makes it a single public
transport market to be targeted at. The second point, in terms of the tram and
wider integration then there are specific integration nodes identified along the
route, the council is just in the process of appointing at a very early stage the
operator for the tram to refine these areas, like Haymarket has been identified as
a particular area, but not just to integrate tram, train and bus but to also integrate
with the redevelopment opportunities that lie around that. So I think we are
ticking all the boxes in terms of service integration and I think we are doing it as
part again as an integrated sort of approach to this, that you look for a desirable
integration link within the whole way in which transport is being evolved in the
city and I will say you will find it.
127. Mr MacBryde: Yes, of course, Haymarket is a particularly relevant point
because that is at the edge of the central area cordon, isn’t it? One would expect
there to be pretty good interchange facilities there.
128. Mr Holmes: Yes and I think the key point is also out with the outer core, the
development of park and ride at the locations which Councillor Burns touched
on yesterday, all of which are in train, pardon for the pun, for implementation
prior to the implementation for congestion.
129. Mr MacBryde: Yes, well that leads me along to my next questions, which
touches on the measures of land use and transport planning. As I said to my
colleges earlier, this is a concept that has been endlessly advocated but
infrequently achieved and I am hoping devoutly Edinburgh will prove us all
wrong. In this respect, as I think in many ways your proposals are exemplary
and if I may say so the LTS touches on a number of points regarding land use
and transport planning integration, which is ahead of any other authority I have
come across in this country. However let’s look at the question of park & ride
and the development pressures which may occur there. Now I discussed with
Councillor Burns, the feasibility and implementation of park & ride and I am
satisfied that the necessary land will be allocated in the sites required and
permissions obtained and so forth. Let’s take it a stage further shall we. What
would be your planning strategy regarding the integration or the siting of the
further out of centre shopping complexes together with park & ride? Now this
is a concept, which you are probably quite aware, has been popular in
Scandinavia. The integration of peripheral shopping and park & ride as part of
an integration of transport.
130. Mr Holmes: It’s not figured at all in our census, I think primarily because of
the very strong local national policy considerations against edge of town
shopping and the view that we have reached particular, in certain sectors, the
point at which we wish to see no further edge of town retail development. It
think it’s very hard, I would submit to say, that the point to which you would be
catering for a, let’s call it a minor park & ride related demand, at the point in
which you are actually moving well down the slippery slope to where yet
another set of out of town retail provision.
131. Mr MacBryde: So your planning policy position would be basically hostile to
132. Mr Holmes: I think both the Councils, the Lothian Authorities, the National
Planning Position; do not recognise that sort of role for edge of town shopping.
I think it would be very hard to think of the level of provision that you would be
comfortable, was not taking you into that wider area of provision.
133. Mr MacBryde: Right, if I may still deal with the park and ride policy. Can I
take it that the park and ride facilities would be mainly sited on or near the ring
road, that’s obviously the policy.
134. Mr Holmes: They are usually just on the outer edge, or distance edge of the
ring road, due to the confines of Edinburgh or certainly out with or other
authorities. I think the Todhill site in Midlothian is an exception, inside the ring
road, but outside the charging cordon.
135. Mr MacBryde: Presumably the layout of the park & ride provision facilities on
the perimeter would allow connection with the orbital bus service which is part
136. Mr Holmes: Yes, that would be intended as well, that you would have the
facility for the major orbital destinations and things like the Royal Infirmary,
Edinburgh Park and things like that spring to mind.
137. Mr MacBryde: Yes. Now there is a very interesting development that I came
across quite recently and of course another local planning party that was the case
of Oxford. As you know, Oxford was one of the pioneering park & ride
operations in the country. They developed a very interesting concept, which has
been highly successful but their park & ride operations were combined with
what are known as coach way provision, in other words long distance coach
services would stop at the park and ride stops for interchange facilities with
short stage operations. Has that been considered in Edinburgh?
138. Mr Holmes: Not to my knowledge, although other witnesses may correct me in
that respect if I’m right. I mean anything which encourages interchange can
only be desirable. I suppose I would say in this particular context that I would
need to see a clear benefit and link with improving transport conditions and
139. Mr MacBryde: Yes. The question of the World Heritage site troubles me a
little bit, I looked at the detailed plans for the line one tramway loop, North
Edinburgh one. I don’t know if you’re aware of it but there was quite a fuss
generated when the Edinburgh tramways were electrified in 1922-23. The
newly formed Royal Fine Art Commission opposed the overhead wires along
Princes Street and in fact, a compromise was reached, they had a particularly
decorated tram support which went ahead. What happens if there is a similar
objection to this proposal? Will this be taken care of in the parliamentary
140. Mr Holmes: That particular issue on overhead wires has been an interesting
issue. What I have to say, is it’s been an issue in which those who were initially
objecting, I think were prejudiced by recollection of the kind of infrastructure
which went with the old fashioned tramways and the dreadful things which were
put in Manchester. We are quite confident with modern design, and this is one
of the reasons for taking some of these party. Took us, take Historic Scotland
for example and some of representing the main interest in this respect, to look at
some modern systems that have been introduced in France and that particular
feature I think convinced everybody that it is possible to get through this without
having the overhead wires issue. So keeping a watching brief on what’s
happening with the Bordeaux system but you know again, I think the answer to
you’re the question is, for these reasons I do not see it as being a problem and I
have no doubt it will get to a later stage.
141. Mr MacBryde: I thought Bordeaux would be raised sooner or later. The
Bordeaux system has got A Les Montacion Partol APS, which is the third rail
system which energised by the vehicle passing over, the only snag about that is
that it costs 4 or 5 times as much.
142. Mr Holmes: I also gather that it doesn’t work. Well not as efficiently as the
operator would like.
143. Mr MacBryde: No. Now coupled with this question of, well rising from my
question about peripheral shopping facilities, you tell me that they would not be
favoured at the park and ride destinations which is fair enough.
144. Mr Holmes: I think I’d actually have to go beyond and say given that most of
the park and rides destinations are through the planning process that has not
been a feature.
145. Mr MacBryde: Yep, fair enough, yes. Well, I am very concerned with this
question of not so much park & ride and coupled with retailing but I am very
much concerned with the provision of priority bus access to retailing and I’ll just
digress for a second if I may. I just closed an inquiry at Milton Keynes on their
local plan and I may say in passing, if you think you’ve got an unfavourable
moral split in here, you bloody ought to see Milton Keynes, it’s the car born
capital of Britain. One of the issues before me then was the question of
expansion of various district centres, which happen to be sited for one reason or
other on the periphery of the new city. The relevant policy regarding expansion
was subject to objection by Tesco, one of the operators. I think I can divulge
what happened in the inquiry because it’s in the public realm, I cannot of course
comment on what my report will say because that would be extremely unfair to
my client authority. But Tesco, when I asked them about the preferential access
for bus born passengers, they said it wasn’t their policy to provide it and I drew
to their attention the fact that their existing superstores had absolutely execrable
access by public transport, the public buses were forced to stop on the perimeter
of the car park and bus passengers had to walk all the way out and I said would
it not be possible to get priority access and they imagined it would be and
eventually conceded that it would be possible, not withstanding the possible
opposition, but the bus operators. Now the reason I am mentioning this is that I
intuitively felt it should and could be possible and as part of my little Monday
morning trip on the buses in Edinburgh I went to Asda, Walmart, you’ll have to
help me with all the names I can’t remember, Newcraighall and to my
astonishment and indeed delight, I noticed that there were perfectly exemplary
bus priority measures enforced there. The buses came straight up to the door of
the superstore. That presumably was at the, that was not spontaneously offered
by the operator, it was insisted upon by the City Council.
146. Mr Holmes: It was, I mean that’s actually quite an early example is the bus
gate, which actually is the only piece of bus only road which happens to serve
the link there. I can only suggest sir that your clients should speak to my own
because every major retail development inside the city has been coupled with
bus priority type measures, green transport plans, the rest of it. In fact, you
might want to have in some point of your journey to leap onto the number 22
service and go down to Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre, which I think has one
of the highest public transport moral splits in the country as a result of that kind
of measure. Where the operator, where the developer, Seedcorn, financed the
operation of a service, which in turn became a commercial one, is one of the
best and busiest in the city.
147. Mr MacBryde: Well I will certainly include it in my program in site visits and
I want to go and see the Ocean Terminal anyway but I’ll particularly look out
for that. Now, you’ll probably recall my questioning Councillor Burns
yesterday about the question of ancillary traffic management in connection with
the implementation of charging and the desirability, I put it no higher, of looking
at traffic calming and there I say it, the creation of home zones within the
residential areas most effected by traffic possibly displaced by the radials.
Interestingly enough one of the proposals that Mayor Livingston in London is
trying to bring forward, whether he succeeded or not I don’t know but he has
saved his face publicly at any rate, against the question of physical traffic
calming road humps and so forth is much more in favour of putting in position
20 mile an hour speed limits within the residential area. In fact he’s been known
to have said he’d like it London wide but that seems improbable I’m afraid. To
what extent have you got these measurements in mind for Edinburgh?
148. Mr Holmes: I think in two respects. First of all, at the present time there is an
extensive program of rolling out 20 mile an hour zones, which by the way, in
terms of the particular Scottish legislative conflicts and the practical one in this
case, have to be supported by physical measures, road humps or others to the
extent by the end of 2006 every single school in Edinburgh will be within a 20
mile an hour zone either all day or a peak. We, next year when the design
process, next year we will spend an excess of 2 million pounds on a further 20
mile zone rollout. We already have an extensive number and we are already
well on the way to a fair degree of geographical coverage of the city in that
respect, quite clearly that would be further accelerated as part of the congestion
charging follow up. So I see absolutely no problem in principal, in addressing
areas where there are disbenefits with improved traffic flows, in terms of traffic,
in fact I would probably say that some of these are already in place or in
149. Mr MacBryde: Next point. The question of monitoring the operation of the
charging scheme if it comes into operation. I think my colleagues and I have a
little trouble with this, it’s a question of quantification and the objective of the
scheme hasn’t been robustly put to us, is traffic reduction. My intellectual
problem with that is that I don’t know how you measure traffic reduction,
whether it’s in terms of vehicle kilometres or journey length or journey time,
whatever. Looking at T7, I see that another criterion which has been adopted
for policy making purposes is the question of model shift or model split. I put it
to you, is it not easier to monitor the effects of the congestion charging by global
estimates of model shift rather than slightly intangible measures of traffic
150. Mr Holmes: I think you’d look at it in a number of ways when you get to the
implementation point. You actually, you know by that point, you’ll have had
your before surveys waiting for the after one but I think your doing it through a
basket of things, your doing it through your regular traffic volume monitoring,
which is a pretty good proxy for it if you like, for traffic reduction in terms of
vehicle kilometres if you monitor it at constant points, your doing it as part of
what we already do in terms of regular monitoring of public transport journey
times on key routes, you do it through subsets of national information
admittedly, things like national census come along at every 10 year but that’s
just part of the hierarchy which lies behind that. The City Council does an
extensive program of household service for a variety of reasons. So you’ve got
the whole basket of measures, you would lose to measure traffic volumes, road
conditions personal behaviour and the rest of it in the city.
151. Mr MacBryde: Yes I understand.
152. Mr Holmes: I would be quite happy to discuss with my colleagues and
surrounding authorities how we could integrate with our own monitoring.
153. Mr MacBryde: But would you not agree with me that the bottom line so to
speak is model shift?
154. Mr Holmes: The bottom line is congestion reduction of which model shift is
going to be a major measure.
155. Mr MacBryde: Right. Now can I just now ask you one or two questions about
if you’re invited comparisons with other European cities. I’ve travelled fairly
extensively on the continent over the years not primarily to do with land use of
transport planning but I kept my eyes open obviously and read quite a bit about
it. It strikes me, that there are one or two models which Edinburgh might have
followed but doesn’t seem to be inclined to do so. The name or the names of
Carlsera, Kemnits and Luxembourg strike me as being significant. They are
cities where light and heavy rail have been fully integrated. You are no doubt
aware of this.
156. Mr Holmes: Yes.
157. Mr MacBryde: Unfortunately, in the case of Edinburgh, although I’ve referred
to an extensive now disused and abandoned, mainly abandoned, suburban rail
network, as far as I can make up my study of documents, the use that is being
made of previous rail formation extends to about 3 kilometres in the
Murrayfield, Davidson Mains area. It seems extraordinarily, how shall I put it,
perverse decision, to introduce light rail without actually using any of the
158. Mr Holmes: Well that is an issue which I am undoubtedly going to get a lot of,
I have colleagues following who can speak with more technical authority, some
very brief points. I don’t subscript to all that it says, but there is a National
Audit Office actually criticises some of the English tram schemes, and I think
West Midlands in particular just for that, for following disused rail abandonment
which were often disused for good reason and, and which in any case
particularly in the Edinburgh context if you think reflect a pattern of land use
population and activity which was laid down pattern and in late down in 1840’s
and 1850’s. I think there is fatal track in there of following well here’s a good
alignments lets follow, lets follow it, there is Scotland Street tunnel for those of
you know Edinburgh is the classic pitfall in that respect. But, that’s the first
point in terms of the geographical routes, I think you have to be fairly ruthless
when recognising their corridors of opportunity, but they are not necessary
corridors of demand…
159. Mr MacBryde: Yes
160. Mr Holmes: ..so you need to get the balance right. The second which is an
operation point covers, yes, these are, these are talked. These are talked about
there are interesting concepts, they are yet in the UK, and again in the UK
context, and they are yet untried, and I believe although there are others better
qualified, but I believe that the Rail Inspectorate are less than convinced and in
an Edinburgh context you start to get into mainlines, signalling thresholds
which take you into multiples of costs of some of the schemes we are looking at.
161. Mr MacBryde: Yes
162. Mr Holmes: It is not been disregarded, believe me
163. Mr MacBryde: The evidence as if I may I am not trying to give evidence at
this Inquiry, but the evidence points either way. I think that because Tyne &
Wear have introduced it successfully and Nottingham were on the other hand
were inclined to introduce it and decided presumably for operational or cost
reasons not to go ahead with it and run in parallel with Rail track. Right, so in
other words that, the land use pattern you were refer too would be exemplified
in the case of in line 1, the north Edinburgh line because the new route would
follow the pattern of the sea front.
164. Mr Holmes: It follows the pattern of development and demand.
165. Mr MacBryde: Yes. Since Dr Begg raised Smeed, I feel it necessary to raise
Buchanan.. Buchanan goes back a long way as you know to the same vintage as
Smeed. I just refer you, I don’t if you have read the Buchanan Report
recently?. I must say I only read it for the second time a few weeks ago but the
Buchanan concept was a of a triangle of forces regarding investment,
accessibility and environment, is this familiar to you?
166. Mr Holmes: Yes
167. Mr MacBryde: Yes, good. His agreement basically was that if a given level of
investment you could either put it into a better environment or a better
accessibility. For and again road building. It seems to see that again, referring
to one of Dr Begg’s questions, the question of benefits arises, here and this arose
interesting enough at the recent conference which I referred to yesterday
Institute of Civil Engineers sponsored by Transport for London. There is a
question there about, what about the benefits for people who are not actually
travelling people in other words residential. People in residents without any
great need or compulsion to travel - would the environment which was
improved by the charging scheme need to be take into account ? Have you any
comments on that?
168. Mr Holmes: I think that, actually Councillor Burns touched on this yesterday
when he referred to which was a pressing Government imperative for Scottish
cities and which as he said he can’t actually see the way the other 3 addressing
the way in which is this whole question of improving the city environment
through management of the transport system being one of the principle
pollutants now we have done quite a lot of pollution measurements in the city
for various purposes in the past, and you can relate the whole congestion
minimisation transport volume reduction model shift issue to that wider
improvement of the environment. Now the particular thrust at the moment as
you know is probably air pollution but that also applies in a dense tenemental
city like Edinburgh to areas such as noise and the rest of it. So, you know, I
think I really I would say that I would keep coming back to it, this is such a
virtuous loop that we have the possibility of getting into that it hits every target
that lies within that.
169. Mr MacBryde: Yes. I am glad you have raised the question of noise. A
couple of reasons, one is that it appears directly in the Scottish Ministers
guidance in Clause A which reads as follows: “the congestion charging scheme
must reduce congestions” this is the phase or word, words I find difficult to
reconcile “ must reduce congestion and or noise” Now what does mean does
that mean congestion and noise or congestion or noise or congestion or noise or
both? What is your view?
170. Mr Holmes: I think, I think you would obviously have to ask the drafter of the
document what he or she meant but my assessment is that this has been
identified as one of the criteria for the scheme if you wish to promote it. This
scheme, I think it is fairly obvious from the general tender of the document that
congestion reduction is the primary one, but equally if you reduce congestion by
reducing the traffic, you reduce the noise impacts as well. That is one that has
been model-able and variable for some considerable time.
171. Mr MacBryde: Well this is, my problem with this particular criterion - I’ll tell
you why. Congestion is, how can I put it, essentially related to the road network,
we have discussed it already how you measure congestion and I think broadly
speaking it is an on-line quantification, in other words it is related to traffic
along identifiable links in the network. Noise troubles me a little bit here,
because noise is essentially an area wide phenomena, other words noise is
experienced by householders typically and doesn’t necessarily arise on the main
links which may be monitored for congestion calculation purposes. What I am
really getting at is, is there any scope for comprehensive noise mapping or noise
auditing either in place or envisaged by the City Council?
172. Mr Holmes: We do extensive noise monitoring, noise max I mean it is rather
difficult on a city wide basis just on the sheer number of observations you need
to do,. It has been in the past extensively the model something which sticks in
my mind is actually something some work that Buchanan’s did in the city in the
early 70’s. They had something marvellous called the TEA machine which was
the Traffic and Enviromental Analyiser and
173. Mr MacBryde: Yes I remember that
174. Mr Holmes: Yes, that was exactly what it , what it did. It is a fairly straight
forward if resources, intensive technique but I can think of selective noise
measurements which would act as a proxy for the very thing, I think you are
looking for and I would have no problem in giving an assurance that is the kind
of thing that would go into the monitoring process.
175. Mr MacBryde: Well, going even further back in the realms of history, it was,
I would like to imagine that it was an article written by two colleagues and
myself at London County Council in 1965 on the question of using noise as a
proxy for environmental quality may have led Professor Buchanan to adopt the
TIA machine, I don’t know. Nobody can tell, however, I am satisfied that this is
part of the monitoring procedure which will be followed by the City
176. Mr Holmes: Yes
177. Mr MacBryde: Yes. Now, the next question I want to explore is one which is
definitely within your competence this is a question of the preparation and
adoption of an emergent local plan for Edinburgh. I gather from the evidence
and from, the, available that a city wide plan has been started, when will it be
178. Mr Holmes: The formal process has just been started, I can’t, I mean, we are
not in the position and we will not be, I think until at best the tail end of the year
anywhere near producing a first, first draft. We have kicked off the Statutory
process and Notifications
179. Mr MacBryde: That was last year, was it not?
180. Mr Holmes: That was the end of last year for that, there are various work
streams I have to say at the moment the most critical of which relates to housing
land supply under way at the moment. And obviously there is the whole
internal process of integration with other system with other activities
181. Mr MacBryde: Right, so it is fair to assume that the local plan may well be
adopted around the time you hope to introduce congestion charging and
182. Mr Holmes: Yes, I think it is fair to say in that sort of period.
183. Mr MacBryde: Yes
184. Mr Holmes: Yes depending on the length of the local inquiry.
185. Mr MacBryde: Yes, so that policy provisions of the LTS will be fully reflected
in the body of the plan no doubt
186. Mr Holmes: Yes, oh yes. That is the great thing about being a unitary
187. Mr MacBryde: Now, can we just deal with this next question about the
anomalous extension of Edinburgh beyond the ringroad. I touch on this, I asked
Councillor Burns a question yesterday and I am not entirely clear I understand
the answer so I put it to you. The extension towards Currie and Balerno is a
historically an anomaly as is reported by Councillor Burns proof, presumably
something to do with the former branch railway that went through it.
188. Mr Holmes: No, I would not describe it , I would, I am not sure that Councillor
Burns used the words anomaly used the words being in context of being within
Edinburgh, I think, it was, Currie and Balerno were incorporated within
Edinburgh reflecting physical reality I suppose in 1975 reorganisation.
Queensferry, Kirkliston etc came in, in the 1996 reorganisation.
189. Mr MacBryde: I see, right well, whatever the origins of the settlement may be
I just wonder if we couldn’t disarm this criticism. I gave examples of the
congestion charging zone in central London and perhaps I didn’t explain myself
very clearly. The, Mayor Livingston’s present proposal is to extend it, roughly
double it in size to cover large parts of Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea.
, the effect of that, will be to introduce a considerable barrier east west across
central London and one of provisions of his present proposals which have yet to
be a adopted on this will is that will be a through route exempt from charging
right through the middle, that is in fact Park Lane. So that the two zones will
operate as a single zone but you can in fact drive through it. I know that it is a
very, very poor analogy is there not a possibility that this could be done in
Edinburgh, in other words bring the outlying residential areas within the
charging scheme but exempt traffic using the ring road.
190. Mr Holmes: Yes, I understand the point you are trying to make; it boils down
to practicalities and issues in terms of the legislation itself and I, I’m not trying
to duck the question but the issue was examined in much more detail as part of
the preparation of the scheme by those who were following behind me.
191. Mr MacBryde: right. Now the next question is a development plan question
really. It’s common practice amongst the English planning authorities now to
prepare an accessibility plan as part of their statutory development plan process.
I think it was started by London Borough of Hammersmith and I remember it is
now being earnestly advocated by a central government. In other words, zones
of accessibility have got to be assessed on a scale of 1 to 5 or 1 to 6, I can’t
remember. Is there any equivalent provision in Edinburgh and if so, will it be
updated following the imposition of charging?
192. Mr Holmes: I cannot, as I sit here, recall whether it actually lies within the
guidance. It has been a feature of our own work for some time. So for example,
our general parking standards are related to different levels of, Yes, that’s the
primary purpose, of access and have been so for a good number of years. Yes. I
would again have no problem in giving the assurance that these things are
already in place and they are updated and that the introduction of congestion
charging would be a logical update point to review its application.
193. Mr MacBryde: Right, I think I’ve only got one further question and I dare say
you are going to say another witness should answer it. Quite simply, one of the
features, as you may well know, of the London central area congestion charging
scheme is to exempt fairly green vehicles including vehicles propelled by LPG
and so forth, electrical vehicles. Has consideration been given to this in
194. Mr Holmes: I don’t think I can really add anything to, I know very little rather,
to what Councillor Burns said on this. What we have done is tailored our
exemptions on, and I think I have used the words draft although I will accept it
as not actually draft in other status, the guidance from the Executive on
exemptions, that I think the, as I said, that rather as behind we will speak, we’ll
expand if you need any more expansion on that.
195. Mr MacBryde: Right. Thank you very much. Thank you very much Mr
196. Mr Patterson: Thank you. I think I have one or two small points just to ask
you to clarify things and I believe Professor Deyton may also have something to
ask you further. Just to clarify the status of Lothian buses.
197. Mr Holmes: Yes.
198. Mr Patterson: I think you said that the company was owned by the City
Council. Do I take it that it is wholly owned?
199. Mr Holmes: No, it’s 93% shareholding.
200. Mr Patterson: What about the other 7%?
201. Mr Holmes: That is distributed in different proportions between the other
202. Mr Patterson: That’s all three of the other.
203. Mr Holmes: Yes.
204. Mr Patterson: Just questioning it. Thank you. That confirms what I thought
was the situation. On the peripheral park and ride sites, would I have had the
wrong impression in thinking that some would be out with the cordon and some
inside it? Therefore unless special arrangement were made people would be
paying to just cross the boundary in order to use some of these but not others.
205. Mr Holmes: Yes, the one which is inside is actually the Newcraighall Rail
Station park and ride. The others are outside the cordon, that is to say that
Todhills is, which is a Midlothian site, is inside the bypass but it’s within
Midlothian and outside the cordon.
206. Mr Patterson: Do you foresee any distortions in usage, or potential usage,
resulting from the situation in Newcraighall particularly, as you pointed out?
207. Mr Holmes: Yeah, I think, I mean, we will have to look at Newcraighall and
see if there is anything that needs to be done in that respect. I suppose in
mitigation I would say that in terms of a lot of Midlothian traffic, for example,
there is an incentive to use Newcraighall at the moment in the absence of both
Straiton and Todhills because there is no park and ride provision which covers
that particular corridor. In terms of the rail, the suburban rail network that it
serves, then virtually all the stations going out through East Lothian are served
by park and ride facilities.
208. Mr MacBryde: Yes, I am very grateful to Mr Patterson for raising this point
because there is a question I want to put to you. As part of the charging scheme,
if a driver were to enter the cordon and use the park and ride, has consideration
been given to the fact that the charge might be used as in exchange, so to speak,
from a full bus pass to use the city?
209. Mr Holmes: It’s actually a train service for that particular one. That’s solely
orientated towards the train. I mean one, I think you know as Councillor Burns
said, there are various things in terms of relationships with other forms of
charges which can be looked at and I think it is perhaps less in terms of creating
a specific concession as in changing the way in which other things operate.
210. Mr MacBryde: Thank you.
211. Mr Patterson: The other potential anomaly there is between the considerable
retail park development at Straiton and the likes of Newcraighall and perhaps
the Gyle. How do you feel about distortions in usage of shopping facilities
which could result?
212. Mr Holmes: I think the various facilities out there have I think quite different
offers and I think the, and if you take the national context of no change, in terms
of general levels, there are in fact one or two historic as yet unfulfilled planning
consents I think in respect of all of these but nothing dramatic, then there, you
know, then obviously that distortion will be limited.
213. Professor Begg: Thank you. It is really only one question but may I preface it
just to remind you of where we were. You were asked by Mr MacBride about
monitoring the operation of the charging scheme, something we’re all three
concerned with and you indicated, if I am correct, that you would be monitoring
the modelling through the normal traffic counts, you would be monitoring
public transport journey times, there would be subsets of national surveys taken
intermittently and then there are the household surveys dealing with household
behaviour. Did I get the note right?
214. Mr Holmes: I think, again, to be fair, I think we are getting into the technical
remit. You see these are examples of things that we currently do. I suppose I
should say I imagine would be done. I think Mr Cross, who is following me,
will be able to speak with far more technical authority in that respect.
215. Professor Begg: I should have said for example, shouldn’t I?
216. Mr Holmes: Yes.
217. Professor Begg: I am sorry, but I can’t, I have to still to, this matter now
having been raised, I direct a question that I was going to direct to others. We
are here about a congestion charge. It of course, that doesn’t mean necessarily
that overall traffic will be reduced within Edinburgh, it simply could be
redirected couldn’t it. Traffic reduction and other words congestion reduction
are two separate concepts.
218. Mr Holmes: I think they are, but they do normally go relatively hand in hand.
I mean, if you are going to redirect traffic then you are assuming that you get a
redirection of opportunities in terms of, in terms of destinations.
219. Professor Begg: There is no dispute between this. The thing is I am trying to
focus in on what it is that we would want to monitor. Now, how would you
measure congestion? That’s really the crux question that I want to address to
you, that you need to address in your answer to me.
220. Mr Holmes: I think in terms of the specific measures as can do as essentially
it’s a combination of, I suppose, factors relating to journey time. I think one of
the most significant reductions that actually comes through this is less from
traffic moving faster, more from traffic not stopped at over-saturated junctions.
And these are all, I mean, I am confident that it can be measured in a variety of
ways. I think others would explain better to you how we propose to measure it.
221. Professor Begg: Well, perhaps I could signal that that is something I would
like to probe. Not necessarily because there is a definitive answer to this but
because this charge is attempting to achieve something. Now you are trying to
monitor congestion. If we can’t define what we are monitoring then we don’t,
not only do we not know where we are starting from but we don’t know when
we’re going to have got there.
222. Mr Holmes: I think we can define it and there is in here a definite definitive
definition but I am not, what I’m saying is that, somebody else can probably
give a better stab at it than I can.
223. Professor Begg: Thanks very much. I’m signalling that I’ll need an answer at
some stage. Much obliged to you Mr Holmes.
224. Mr Patterson: Are there any requests for agreement to put questions on a
particular matter? Or a question on a particular matter? To talk in the singular.
225. Mr Armstrong: Yes Sir. There are, I do have five topics standing what you
indicated Sir this morning about perhaps dealing with it as on a topic for topic
basis so I just deal with the first topic then assuming that you allow that I can
ask the questions and then we go on to the second topic. Would that, I think that
was the way you suggested this morning Sir.
226. Mr Patterson: Lets see what the first item is.
227. Mr Armstrong: The first topic Sir was really to follow up to an extent to what,
was Mr Begg, and to a lesser extent, Mr MacBride, asked questions on and that
was in relation to the question of modal shift and also funds going to public
transport and this is in particular in relation to one of my client’s concerns which
is focused in their objection and focused in their precognitions and that is in
relation to the difficulties with regard to modal shift for people coming across
from Fife, the majority of whom travel across on either the road or rail bridge
and the capacity of these two bridges.
228. Mr Patterson: That’s a fair matter to explore in case we haven’t asked any of
our questions on these particular points.
229. Mr Patterson: I am obliged. Mr Holmes that really is the scope of um.
230. Professor Begg: Mr Armstrong, sorry to stop you just as you are getting
started. Are you going to refer to a number of documents, we had a bit of
trouble yesterday dealing with the, getting the documents off at the speed at
which you were examining them.
231. Mr Armstrong: Hopefully on this point I won’t be referring to any document.
232. Professor Begg: Sorry to interrupt you.
233. Mr Armstrong: Mr Holmes, you really got the gist of the questions that I
intend to ask to you. You’ve mentioned, you’ve talked about modal shift and
that is one of the aims of this scheme and you’ve also mentioned that the funds
that can go to public transport, but do you accept that to an extent there is a
unique position for people travelling from Fife that the vast majority of people
who are travelling from Fife to Edinburgh use either the Forth Rail Bridge or the
Forth Road Bridge and currently, certainly as far as AM peaks are concerned,
both of these are at capacity and if we deal with, first of all, the Rail Bridge
because clearly one of the aims, from my understanding of your scheme, is to
encourage people to travel by public transport and travel by rail. Now as far as
the Forth Rail Bridge is concerned, it is currently operating at capacity that as
far as the AM peak is concerned I think it is currently at 122% of seating
capacity that results in there being a passenger in excess of capacity charge,
which I think is known as a pixie charge, which is only operated, the only other
place in the United Kingdom that is operated is in London and the south east of
England. Now if you are going to encourage a modal shift, are you not
restricted, certainly as far as Fife residents are concerned, by the fact that the
Rail Bridge is operating at capacity. The reasons for that operating at capacity
are, there are a number of factors, including the signalling on the bridge, the
restriction on the number of trains that can cross the bridge, the capacity of
Waverley Station and Haymarket Station and also platform lengths. Now I
appreciate that in extent with regard to platform lengths that issue is being
addressed but there are a number of these key issues that are not going to be
addressed in the near future, particularly the number of trains that can cross the
bridge at peak times.
234. Mr Holmes: I think I’m going to qualify any answer that I give by saying that
again there are people behind me that will be much closer involved in the
evolution to assess trans transport strategy and can comment on you know, the
technical ability of one particular mode or another to accommodate. I accept
your point about the, there is no other way of crossing the Forth for a practical
way for a commuting trip from Fife. Even you know, within the rail yes, I mean
we’ve had this iniquitous situation for some time. We’ve also had a long
standing recognition that one of the fastest ways of actually producing some
additional capacity over the bridge is by having not more trains but having
longer trains and that is in part what the platform lengthening is associated to.
We’ve just, as again, I think many people in this room will know we’ve had this
ridiculous position in terms of the length of time that it takes to procure
additional train sets for something like that but you know, there is not a closed
door in terms of rail improvements and we have had, within the last few weeks,
government announcements on what is quite clearly even, besides
improvements itself, but is the first phase of what they recognise as the
necessary upgrading of Waverley Station to increase general capacity and the
capacity for more train paths in and out of the station and all the associated
signalling as well. So even within the rail sector I would say that there are
opportunities. But as I said, but if we’ve got to get into technicalities I think you
will need to address quite technical questions to others in that respect who have
had a much closer relationship with the assess trans transport strategy.
235. Mr Armstrong: You mentioned platform lengths there, but again is that not
just to really address existing over-capacity and really wouldn’t do anything
towards addressing modal shift that we are wanting to encourage.
236. Mr Holmes: Well, we are where we are, which is to say that you are dealing
with over-capacity. Just having these longer trains in there will bring that
additional capacity and that opportunity for modal shift. Now I don’t know just
how far that will go. I think it’s a clear example the fact that there is more to be
squeezed out of trans Forth rail capacity by relatively simple measures.
237. Mr Armstrong: Well are not all of these measures that you’ve referred to just
dealing with the existing demand rather than dealing with any modal shift.
238. Mr Holmes: Well come back and if you put that in, if you are bringing these
extra things and the rest of it, you are giving the capacity for modal shift both
now, you are certainly giving the capacity now, and I think my point is purely
and simply, there are probably opportunities, possibly opportunities within that
for longer term modal shift opportunities.
239. Mr Armstrong: And somebody else from Edinburgh, the Edinburgh list of
witnesses will deal with that?
240. Mr Holmes: Yes, you know I think we are getting into the technicalities of
what are the various capacity thresholds on crossing the Forth.
241. Mr Armstrong: But you accept that is a problem at this stage?
242. Mr Holmes: I mean I can’t, I can’t but accept that it is a problem in terms of
cross Forth travel but and the existence of additional train units will create
additional capacity to get people off the Forth Bridge, I mean it is a step change
in itself in capacity for public transport movement across the Forth and one
which we I think should all be seeking both within the ITI and elsewhere to
243. Mr Armstrong: And secondly, as far as the Forth Road Bridge is concerned,
there is obviously a limit to what can be done. For example, on the Forth Road
Bridge is there not, by having, you can’t really have priority and bus lanes on
that because it’s two lanes going north, two lanes going south and they are
operating at capacity end just now.
244. Mr Holmes: No, you can’t, and I would accept that it’s a brave person who
would suggest you could take the capacity out for bus lanes but again there are
measures which have been put in place already to improve bus priority and these
can be tweaked further when the demand is there this side of the Forth Bridge.
There are continuous improvements to park and ride capacity. At the end of the
day if you have the measures which will induce modal change by taking cars off
the Forth Bridge you are creating the capacity for far more person movement
inside buses without doing anything to the physical nature of the bridge.
245. Mr Armstrong: You are accepting that these are uniquely Fife residence
246. Mr Holmes: I accept, no I accept that Fife has particular problems by the
limited infrastructure. I do not accept that that therefore means there is nothing
can be done.
247. Mr Armstrong: Right. Sir the next topic that I was planning to move to is to,
in relation to the guidance for local authorities which is T81 and Sir there has
obviously been reference to that today, but the areas I would seek to ask
additional questions on are firstly, just to clarify a point and this is partly just in
regard to what Councillor Burns, and to be fair to Councillor Burns yesterday,
he said another witness would deal with this and this is just to confirm the
position that it is not guidance, that it is guidance and not draft guidance. The
second point is just to address one particular aspect of Mr Holmes’ evidence in
relation to this guidance and that is at paragraph 314 of his precognition, where
he refers, reading in short to critical to the preparation of the congestion
charging scheme are the four policies and just to ask why he uses different
wording from the actual guidance in relation to that area, in relation to that
point. And thirdly, to refer and briefly discuss paragraphs 20 and 21 of the
guidance and the extent that issues such as the Forth toll setoff and the system
for distribution should be before this enquiry and be in the public domain at this
stage. Now Sir I appreciate that I did ask that question to Councillor Burns but
again, I am keen to get this from a professional, one of the professional
248. Mr Patterson: The first two points in there seem reasonable in matters of
clarification. I am more concerned that the last one should not open out into a
traditional kind of try to beat the witness down, cross examination.
249. Mr Armstrong: Well I will endeavour not to try and do that Sir. Mr Holmes,
just to clarify one point as far as the guidance T81, I think you were present
yesterday when Councillor Burns gave his evidence and we’ll be able to see
from the transcripts exactly what he said, but my recollection was that he did
initially indicate that it was, that he thought it was draft guidance and then later
on he indicated that he wasn’t sure and somebody else would clarify this matter,
just for the sake of clarification.
250. Mr Holmes: I am happy for the record to clarify that you are quite correct.
Technically it is not draft guidance. It is formal guidance. I think where
Councillor Burns was perhaps understandably getting confused was we had a
fairly clear message that despite it being firm guidance the executive reactions
are causing the Executive I think to accept the need to review the guidance.
However what that review will be I do not know but you are quite correct Sir,
technically it is, it is guidance.
251. Mr Armstrong: Perhaps one of the confusions that may have come in I think
in the actual index of Edinburgh Council productions it is down as a draft
guidance, but you confirm that it is the guidance. The next point is in relation to
paragraph 314 of your precognition. Now obviously I don’t want to go over this
morning, you have set out your position as far as fairness is concerned with
regard to exemption of rural west Edinburgh. I’m not going over that again but
you say just with regard to the policies at 314 you refer to them being critical to
the preparation of the configuration of the ITI and the congestion charging have
the been the Scottish Executive guidance and you set out the four policies but as
far as these four policies are concerned and as far as the guidance is concerned,
the guidance sets out a requirement that a charging scheme will have to meet
these policies, is that correct?
252. Mr Holmes: Yes, and I think in terms of the wording it is a necessary
paraphrase, but it didn’t have any malice or aforethought in terms of the way
you use the paraphrase as being ………………………
253. Mr Armstrong: And of course the critical policy, the third one, the fair
treatment has also been incorporated into the LTS and the DM1 and DM2.
254. Mr Holmes: Yes.
255. Mr Armstrong: Yeah, and that has also been specifically referred to.
256. Mr Holmes: I would say yes and it is the, as with my qualifications under
questioning from the reporters, it’s the who pays benefits principle, which is
being seen as the court test of fairness.
257. Mr Armstrong: And in the, don’t need to turn to this, the T83, the in principle
letter from the Scottish Executive they specifically refer to further consideration
being given to that policy. The third aspect of this topic is in relation to
paragraphs 20 and 21 of the guidance and it specifically is in relation to the
point, first of all there is nothing in this scheme setting out any arrangement for
setting off Forth Bridge toll charges and secondly, the scheme does not set out a
system of distribution. Again, I don’t wish to go over this in detail. We had
some discussion of it yesterday but paragraph 20 of the guidance does indicate
the consultation at this stage should focus on the detail of the proposed scheme
and paragraph 21 also refers to at the in detail stage we propose that the formal
process should take place after the consultation rather than parallel with, as
previously suggested, this allows statutory consultees and those wishing to lodge
a formal objection to respond to the near final proposal. Mr MacBryde touched
on this but it is very difficult, is it not, to call this a near final proposal when two
key aspects of it, certainly for my clients, have not been adequately addressed.
First of all, there is no reference in the scheme to the offset of Forth road tolls
and secondly the distribution of funds.
258. Mr Holmes: I think I would, I would first of all say that there are issues that
would be picked up on this by Mr Cross in terms of the discussions that took
place with the various SESTRANS authorities and the development of
investment and packages. So I think I have to make that point that he will give
this enquiry a better information set than I can on the history issues around that.
What I first of all will draw your attention in fact to paragraph 20 that in terms
of the consultation that it is up to the promoting authority to use what
consultation methods it thinks appropriate. So that particular part has been
covered. In terms of the two points, I can only reiterate what Councillor Burns
said yesterday in terms of the link with Forth Bridge tolls. There is a clear and
much reiterated commitment by the City of Edinburgh Council to devise some
sort of process where there is an offset on Forth Bridge tolls for those persons
using the bridge and coming in to Edinburgh and I don’t think anybody is trying
to …… on that commitment but that is a clear commitment in principle. It will
require work between now and the implementation and not least we have got to
be comfortable that it is compatible with what the Forth Estuary Transport
Authority themselves are intending to introduce in terms of a revised toll
system. Again, there are in terms of the various transport measures, there are
quite clear SESTRANS alternative transport strategies as there are city transport
strategies with and without congestion charging and I don’t think anybody
should be under any illusions again both as to the strength of the city’s
commitment and the range of measures which can be drawn down in that respect
but the actual process of discussion with SESTRANS all around that I will leave
to Mr Cross.
259. Mr Patterson: Just before I go on Mr Armstrong, I would like to clarify Mr
Holmes whether there is any question of offset against the existing toll charge or
we’re only considering offset against some congestion charging element or a
different way of charging.
260. Mr Holmes: No, no, no I think what we are considering is an offset against the
toll charge that will be in place at the appropriate point. I think it’s a little
261. Mr Patterson: Even if it were the same as it is now.
262. Mr Holmes: Even if it were the same, I think the situation is just a bit confused
at the moment because of the possible change in regime for peak hour charging
on the bridge.
263. Mr Armstrong: That is certainly very helpful but just on that point Mr
Holmes, you say devise some sort of process but could that not be done whilst
this enquiry is going on. I’m told that certainly one of my witnesses Dr
McLennan’s door is still open to Edinburgh Council to come through it and
discuss this process. Would it not be helpful to everyone at this enquiry if we
could have an agreement and a process before the end of this enquiry? We
have, hopefully sticking to the timetable, ten weeks to do that in.
264. Mr Holmes: Um, I would welcome in accordance with all the guidances as
many agreements as possible being reached before the conclusion that is, if I am
correct, and I am certainly quite happy to explore that fairly quickly. It is tail
wagging dog to suggest that the development of that particular concession
scheme should govern the rest of the scheme and the timetable for its
265. Mr Armstrong: Well you say it’s tail wagging dog but if you look at the
guidance isn’t that what should be in position ideally and at the time of this
consideration at this enquiry? So as people, including my clients, can make an
informed decision on whether to support the scheme or not support the scheme.
266. Mr Holmes: The history of discussion around that particular issue I am not, I
am not clear about. In an ideal world there are a whole range of agreements
which would have been reached prior to this scheme being brought here.
Failure to reach these agreements, I would suggest, does not lie at the door of
the City of Edinburgh Council.
267. Mr Armstrong: That’s a matter you will have no doubt have seen Dr at
McLennan’s precognition and his comments on that.
268. Mr Holmes: Yes.
269. Mr Armstrong: Sir, the next topic, if we go on to, I think it’s the third topic, is
in relation to Mr Holmes’ comments on the structure plan and first of all, it is
really to clarify a point that I think Sir you made yesterday in relation to
Councillor Burns’ evidence and that is just to clarify when there is reference to
the structure plan, exactly which structure plan we are referring to. Obviously in
the section on the finalised structure plan in Mr Holmes’ evidence it is clear
which structure plan he is referring to, but Sir I would wish to look briefly at
first of all the current statutory structure plan and whether that actually gives any
support to this scheme and secondly to briefly look at the finalised structure plan
and see exactly what it says about congestion charging.
270. Mr Patterson: We can go into this very briefly. I don’t think that too much
should be laid on any lack of detail reference in the structure plan which may
just have days, as far as we know, or weeks or months still to be valid, but
which was devised in the early 1990s. If that has nothing specific to say about
this it is probably not appropriate to take too much out of that.
271. Mr Armstrong: Sir, I wasn’t intending to take much time up. It was just to go
to the, there is one passage of the, I think, the 1994 structure plan that is perhaps
272. Mr Patterson: If you would like to point to the particular passage. In terms of
.. of the document.
273. Mr Armstrong: Well the 1994 structure plan, you can either find that at T67 or
FCP9, the choice is yours. And as far as the finalised structure plan is
concerned, that is T13. And Sir, before I start this, there is one other issue I
wish to draw out off the finalised structure plan at T13 and that is in relation to
the housing market areas and again, as you will appreciate from the planning
witness for Fife Council, and this is a precognition, and this is an important
point and I would wish to refer to that. Perhaps if we just refer, assuming these
questions are acceptable, if start by referring to the current structure plan. Well
first of all, can I just clarify that when you refer to structure plan in your
precognition are you throughout referring to the finalised structure plan?
274. Mr Holmes: I am referring to the current finalised structure plan, which, for the
record, has had the benefit of the comments of the Executive but obviously has
not been formally adopted yet.
275. Mr Armstrong: And as far as the 1994 structure plan is concerned and
congestion charging, can I just be clear, that there is no policy or no specific
reference to congestion charging. There is though, at paragraph 6.23 reference
to well, in the longer term public transport improvements alone will not stop the
growth of traffic within Edinburgh. The regional Council will have to adopt
stronger methods to restrain traffic levels. Is that?
276. Mr Holmes: That is correct, but I would also refer you to paragraph 6.129,
within page 137 of that structure plan, which says, various means can be
considered to bring about this further reduction in traffic levels, such as road
pricing, supplementary licences and then TP38 below that, which allow
conceded refers in this context to the city centre says, the City of Edinburgh
Council will evaluate the means of achieving this objective.
277. Mr Armstrong: And these are the only references?
278. Mr Patterson: Can you give the paragraph reference?
279. Mr Holmes: I beg your pardon. In terms of the 1994 structure plan this is
found on page 137 and is paragraph 6.129 and policy TP38 immediately below
280. Mr Patterson: I’m sorry, the policy?
281. Mr Holmes: TP38.
282. Mr Patterson: I’m obliged. The problem is the document isn’t actually here.
283. Professor Begg: Yes, we are referring to an electronic copy, which is available
in all public libraries.
284. Mr Holmes: Seeing as we are actually, you know, dwelling on this Sir, I would
refer you back to my own precognition in that respect to the extent to which
development pressures within the city have overtaken those which were forecast
and that relates both to the increase in employment and it is also, you will find
the information within the relevant documents, the massive underestimate of
housing demand both within the city and in the surrounding areas as reflected in
the completion totals and I think that one, makes it quite clear why we were
right to say that we need to look at this and secondly, why we now need to look
at it over a wider geographical area.
285. Mr Armstrong: Well if we follow on then to the finalised structure plan, which
is T13, and again in relation to this document the, Sirs, I don’t know if you have
a copy of this.
286. Reporters: Yes, we do have a copy.
287. Mr Armstrong: In relation to this document, so far as 5.5 dealing with
transport, it sets out that congestion charging is a potential major source of
funds. Is that correct?
288. Mr Holmes: That is correct.
289. Mr Armstrong: Yes. And the paragraph that you make specific reference to is
paragraph 1.9 and I think you quote the last sentence of, the last two sentences
of 1.9, in your precognition.
290. Mr Holmes: Yes.
291. Mr Armstrong: Just on one point, this document was finalised and approved in
March 2003. It refers to the SESTRANS RTS, but was that actually approved in
292. Mr Holmes: Um I, If, I was here, as you say Sir, that is correct. I can’t um, I
can’t recollect if that is not the case and I am sure somebody behind me will
formally correct that.
293. Mr Armstrong: And of course we have the LTS which was approved in
294. Mr Holmes: Um yes but um, I think documents existed in draft, say well
before that, but yes, I mean there are these form of approval ………….
295. Mr Armstrong: So when it is referring to the SESTRANS RTS there, it wasn’t
actually approved until July.
296. Mr Holmes: Um. That’s a fair technical comment. Yeah.
297. Mr Armstrong: And the other issue that I mentioned, if we could turn to the
paragraph at 3.8.
298. Mr Holmes: Sorry are you in my precognition or in the structure plan?
299. Mr Armstrong: Sorry in the structure plan, in the finalised structure plan.
Now you make reference in your evidence to the, that the labour market and you
refer to various statistics in relation to labour market and I wish to go over these
with you. But as far as the housing market area is concerned as well, if we turn
to 3.8, is there a recognition in this document that, well just looking at the
relevant section, demand must also be looked at in terms of housing market
areas and research by Community Scotland confirms the existence of a wider
Edinburgh housing market area, which covers most of Edinburgh and the
Lothians, but also extends into the Scottish Borders and south Fife. So there is a
recognition in this document that as far as the relevant housing market area and
the research, which is lodged as Fife Council productions from Community
Scotland, is concerned that the relevant housing market area extends to south
300. Mr Holmes: Yes.
301. Mr Armstrong: So again, on any question of equity, and I don’t wish to go
over that with you, but that is obviously a factor to have regard to with regard to
equity and fairness and there is a recognition in the structure plan of the housing
market area for Edinburgh and extending to south Fife.
302. Mr Holmes: Yes, there is that and I would also say there is a constant
recognition with throughout the structure plan of the existence for proposals for
congestion charging and the implications and opportunities that arise from that.
303. Mr Armstrong: Sir, moving on to the next topic and section 4 of Mr Holmes’
precognition and why this scheme.
304. Mr Patterson: Have we finished with the structure plan?
305. Mr Armstrong: Yes, yes. And again, this was just to follow on from an area
of questioning that I asked Councillor Burns that he, as it were I think yesterday
referred down the line, and it was just to see to the extent that clearly Mr
Holmes was asked questions, and by you Sirs, on this topic but to see the extent
that he can advance matters from where we get to in document T53 and the, and
it’s really firstly just to clarify whether Mr Holmes is the witness that can shed
any light on this issue. We have the Ian Catling Consultancy and report, and
that report narrows down the possible schemes to five and carries out an
assessment of the various schemes and in particular, as I referred Councillor
Burns to, the analysis on page 43 where a zoning scheme receives equal high
points. Now I just wonder, I wanted to clarify first of all, whether Mr Holmes
can tell us what happened thereafter and what was the next analysis and what
was carried out to narrow it down from five to one. And also to ask questions
on, I think it was in response to one of the questions this morning about why he
took, why the Council took, as I think Mr Holmes referred to, this pragmatic
view on this scheme.
306. Mr Holmes: I think in terms of the first point, I think that Councillor Burn’s
reference was in fact to Mr Saunder’s evidence who will be able to go into a
more informative extent than I can. The fact is, we evaluated Mr Castling’s
report on behalf of TIE and the basis of their subsequent recommendation back
to the Council. Second point I’m still open to.
307. Mr Armstrong: Well I think perhaps that would probably be addressed if this
witness, is indicating that it’s Mr Saunders then I’m happy to leave it to, if he’s
got all the detail, I’m happy to leave it to Mr Saunders, on that point. The final
topic was to look at the other Government guidance which is of course relevant
to this scheme, and that is T88, the guidance on Local Transport Strategies. And
Sir there are two arguments, two points that I wish to put in relation to this
document. I’m sorry, there are probably three but one of them, to an extent has
been addressed. But the first one is dealing with, and this is of course something
that has highlighted a number of the, it’s highlighted in the Council’s, Fife
Council’s objection, and that is in relation to pre-maturity. Standing the fact that
this guidance on all TS’s is for the period 2000-2004. Second point is in
relation to the extent that other local authorities should have been involved in
this scheme and the process and as it were the regional position and Sirs,
hopefully without going into detail of these documents, I would be referring to
FCP26 and FCP1A. FCP1A is of course the new, well, the up to date
Government position on national planning. Now that of course has I think been
produced since Mr Holmes prepared his precognition and he doesn’t make any
comment on that. But I want to look at that briefly and the extent that it
encourages a regional view of matters and how that is also tied in with FCP26,
which is the Scottish Transportation Consultation document. And again Sir,
these are not issues that have been focused up to now.
308. Mr Patterson: Briefly on these policy matters…
309. Mr Armstrong: Firstly in relation to T88…
310. Professor Begg: I should warn you Mr Armstrong that we again, our papers
here refer us to a website so that where you’re, if you would read out for our
benefit precisely what the matter is that you’re quoting from. We have had
electronic versions available to use on our screens at home but…yes but this is
not our fundamental criticism of the documentation that we’ve been provided
with, merely what’s available.
311. Mr Armstrong: Sir, I’ve got a copy, a spare copy here.
312. Professor Begg: Thank you very much.
313. Mr Armstrong: Sorry, better open it at the page. I suspect the next problem
might be whether Mr Holmes has got a copy of this.
314. Mr. Holmes: No, I just have the electronic reference like everybody else.
315. Professor Begg: Maybe as these are references to…
316. Mr Holmes: But if it’s about the detailed implementation of the local transport
strategy, then again Mr Cross, following me, is the witness speaking in terms of
the Council, the details of the Council’s local transport strategy.
317. Mr Patterson: If there are matters of general application of policy then I don’t
think we need to take time looking at the documents if it’s not relevant, brief
passages can be read to us.
318. Mr Armstrong: The first point really is in relation to the prematurity issue.
Edinburgh Council have obviously gone ahead on the 22nd of January with their
local transport strategy, but it is not the case that they have effectively gone
ahead with that strategy in a Government guidance vacuum because the
document T88, the Guidance on Local Transport Strategies says at its
introduction that the guidance first of all replaces the preliminary guidance
issued in February 1999. It goes onto say it provides advice to local authorities
on the production of full local transport strategies covering the period 2001/02
to 2003/04. So it is only providing the guidance to the period 2003/04. There is
draft guidance that is lodged as a production by Fife Council but is it not the
case that’s why most other authorities in Scotland are not rushing ahead with
their LTS’s, because they are awaiting the Government guidance?
319. Mr Holmes: I would dismiss what other local authorities are doing and I
wouldn’t describe ourselves as rushing ahead. We are obliged to supply a local
transport strategy, we have produced it in terms of the guidance which is in
force at the time we are producing it. If you are suggesting that guidance should
not commit you beyond the period in which the guidance is done, then we’ll
never get anywhere. The guidance note is actually technically valid for, in terms
its publication we, you know it’s fairly straight forward, we have guidance
which applies at the time the strategy was produced and that is what matters.
You cannot anticipate what is coming through. The only thing I would say in
conclusion to that, is that I have been informed within the Scottish Executive
that our LTS is regarded as one of the better ones that they have seen in that
320. Mr Armstrong: Well as far as the guidance though is concerned, it specifically
says that it is to cover the period 2001 to 2004, 2003/04 and your LTS is
covering the period 2004 to 2007.
321. Mr Holmes: That is correct.
322. Mr Armstrong: Now as far as this guidance standing that that point is
concerned, does it not set out at paragraphs 2.1 and 2.2 the regional dimension,
which, just reading again, states that 2.1: It will be important for local
authorities to develop effective liaison arrangements with neighbouring
authorities so as to agree complementary approaches on cross-boundary issues.
It goes on at 2.2: In some cases cross-boundary working may be appropriate to
cover such issues and for our point with this enquiry the third bullet point: The
strategic context for demand management including in due course road user and
working workplace parking charges. Now that advice, coupled with the advice
contained in the Scotland’s Transportation Consultation document and the new
planning framework, not to mention I suppose, well to mention as well, the
summary of the Scottish Executive’s view on the Transport Bill, all points to
first of all does it not cooperation and authorities working together and secondly
a regional approach?
323. Mr Holmes: That is the very purpose of SESTRANS and why there were
alternative transport strategies within SESTRANS. At the end of the day, if
Ministers, Scottish Ministers are not convinced then Scottish Ministers will not
324. Mr Armstrong: Promote their own scheme rather than promote a scheme
either jointly with the neighbouring authorities or a scheme that is supported by
the neighbouring authorities?
325. Mr Holmes: The Council has gone ahead and promoted an Edinburgh
Congestion Charging Scheme. The Council has gone through a considerable
period of discussion within this extract context with it. Now with surrounding
authorities, this Inquiry is a demonstration that there is momentous disagreement
in that respect. We remain convinced that we haven’t gone down the right lines
and I am personally considerably sceptical that on this particular issue that the
entrenched positions of the surrounding authorities such that you wouldn’t
necessarily reach a consensus view in this respect. Councillor Burns gave his
views on that and I would subscribe to that point.
326. Mr Armstrong: As far as the discussions that have taken place, we have the
evidence from Fife Council in particular, Dr McLennan on that, I don’t wish to
take up any more time on that.
327. Mr Patterson: I think it is fairly clear that there is not going to be consensus
reached now on this particular issue. We’re just going to have to take it that
there is disagreement and we’re going to have to evaluate what is put to us by
the opposing sides.
328. Mr Armstrong: On a secondary point though, do you not accept that standing
your own position on this scheme as set out in your report to Committee, it is
understandable why other Councils have reservations about this scheme?
329. Mr Holmes: We have dwelt on the particular issue, which is the rural West
Edinburgh exemption. If you are saying to me that if that rural West Edinburgh
exemption had been omitted then all the other Councils would have agreed to
the scheme, I would be extremely surprised.
330. Mr Armstrong: But it is certainly something that even that you don’t agree
with your own Council on.
331. Mr Patterson: We’ve established that. I’m happy to leave it there. Thank you
very much Sirs.
332. Mr Patterson: It’s very nearly one o’clock. We need to establish just before
we adjourn for lunch, whether there are any further requests or questions
relating to matters which I believe not to have been covered already in
questions. We are going to have to adjourn until two o’clock and we can
consider those questions after.
The Hearing finished at 12.58 p.m.