Edinburgh joins the Open Streets movement

A number of Edinburgh's city centre streets have been closed to traffic under plans to reduce air pollution, with the city becoming the first in the UK to join the Open Streets movement.

The initiative has seen cities around the world temporarily opening streets to people by closing them to cars, vans and other motorised vehicles on a regular basis. Now, Open Streets in Edinburgh will take place on the first Sunday of every month as part of an 18-month trial, with closures based on a loop of streets in the Old Town, beginning with a short section of the loop and gradually building in scale over time.

Edinburgh's cycle hire scheme will also be free all week to encourage people to ditch their vehicles.

Speaking before 5 May, Lesley Macinnes, Transport and Environment Convener, said: “I’m delighted that Edinburgh will very soon be joining cities around the world to reap the benefits of Open Streets. We’ve seen how successful similar schemes internationally have proved by encouraging active travel, improving air quality and creating a safer, more relaxed atmosphere so I can’t wait to see this take shape in the Capital.

“Climate change is a real threat to society, it’s clear that we have to act, and Open Streets is undoubtedly a step in the right direction. We are wholeheartedly committed to creating an accessible, sustainable and people-friendly city.”

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