Edinburgh plans north–south tram extension

Edinburgh Council’s transport and environment committee is to discuss a “recommended” north-south tram line which would extend the existing tram network that links the capital city’s airport with Newhaven via the city centre.

Edinburgh Trams have transported more than nine million passengers in the last year.

“This (extension) would run through the city centre via Roseburn then on to North and South Bridge, Clerk Street and Minto Street to Cameron Toll, before following the A7 to the BioQuarter,” said the council.

“Further consideration is being given to potential future routes into neighbouring local authorities.

“If members agree to proceed, a 12-week consultation in spring 2024 would show participants the recommended route across the four sections (Granton – City Centre; through the City Centre; City Centre – BioQuarter; and BioQuarter and beyond) and explain why it has been chosen.

“It will include details of alternative options that have been explored and the reasons why these have been discounted.

“Engagement builds on a consultation on the City Mobility Plan (CMP) in 2020/21, which found that 62% of respondents would like to see tram network expanded, and 89% desired general improvements to public transport.

“Exploring the expansion of the tram network is outlined in the CMP and supports aims to both reduce car kms travelled by 30% and become a net zero city by 2030.”

Councillor Scott Arthur, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “Like cities around the world we’re challenged by poor air quality, congestion and carbon emissions relating to transport.

“This, paired with a rapidly increasing population – projected to grow at three times the rate of Scotland’s – demonstrates the pressing need to rethink the way we move people and goods around the Capital.

“By improving public transport, we want to provide safe, efficient and affordable travel in Edinburgh, and expanding the tram network is key to this.

“It’s clear that the public support it too, with almost two-thirds of respondents to our CMP consultation in favour of more tram routes.

“Of course, we know how disruptive a project of this scale can be to residents and businesses, but the success of the recently completed line to Newhaven is proof that we’re well prepared.

“Our recommended route for Granton to the BioQuarter and beyond links key areas of growth and development to the city and will more than double the capacity of our tram network.

“Not only would this support local regeneration and the delivery of much-needed affordable homes, but it would help create new jobs, boost economic growth and link to educational and cultural venues along the route.

“We’re already engaging with Transport Scotland to explore financial options, and it’s encouraging that mass rapid transit in the area has been highlighted as an investment priority by the Scottish Government.

“We’ll continue to work closely with them and other stakeholders as we look to progress this major project.”