London, 22 Feb 2005.
For immediate release.

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Edinburgh Delivers Body Blow to Road Pricing
"Sack Begg" says ABD as Congestion Charge Rejected in Scottish Capital
The ABD today demanded the removal of David Begg, former Edinburgh Councillor and Chairman of the Commission for Integrated Transport, following the decisive rejection of his policies in his own back yard.
 
Edinburgh residents today rejected congestion charges by a majority of nearly three to one, in a Landmark poll conducted by the council.
 
Of the 290,000 eligible to vote, a 62% turnout delivered a stunning majority against the proposed £2 charge.
 
The rejection of road pricing as a transport solution would have been even more overwhelming had the council not disenfranchised people who live outside the charging zone, but who are nonetheless key transport stakeholders with as much right as anyone to have their say. This was a shameless appeal to Nimbyism by the Council in a vain attempt to fix the result in their favour.
 
"This is a body blow to the Government's road pricing plans," said the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "Edinburgh Council pulled out all the propaganda stops to get people to approve their scheme. But Edinburgh people aren't stupid — they know that much of the congestion is a direct result of David Begg's anti-car measures and opposition to infrastructure investment."
 
David Begg was made Chairman of the Commission for Integrated Transport after a long track record of introducing obstructive anti-car measures — road closures, narrowings, bus lanes, parking restrictions — in Edinburgh. He has gone on record as saying that investment in transport should be a last resort.
 
"Begg's policies are to obstruct and inconvenience motorists at every turn, whilst charging them through the nose for the privilege and offering them no decent public transport alternative," continued Humphries. "Edinburgh has had to put up with this nonsense longer than most — and now the people have spoken. It's time for Begg to go and for someone with a more sensible, positive approach to transport choices to take his place."
 
45,965 residents backed the charge, with 133,678 against, in a two-week postal ballot.
 

 

 
Notes for Editors