Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Traffic-free days begin in Edinburgh city centre

Cyclists in Edinburgh Image copyright City of Edinburgh Council
Image caption City of Edinburgh Council tweeted a picture of one iconic street devoid of cars

A number of Edinburgh's city centre streets have been closed to traffic under plans to reduce air pollution.

The city has become the first in the UK to join the Open Streets movement.

Streets in the Old Town, including the Canongate, Cockburn Street and Victoria Street, were closed between midday and 17:00.

The initiative will take place on the first Sunday of every month as part of an 18-month trial.

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

The movement has seen cities around the world temporarily close some streets to all but pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles on a regular basis.

A series of events took place to celebrate the launch in Edinburgh, including jazz performances in Dunbar Close Garden, Tai Chi on the High Street and electric bike trials on Victoria Street.

Image caption A mini-badminton net was put up in the middle of the Canongate for people to make the most of the deserted road
Image caption Edinburgh's High Street was also part of the closure, which will take place on the first Sunday of every month as part of an 18-month trial

Lesley Macinnes, City of Edinburgh Councils's transport and environment convener, said: "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."


Image copyright City of Edinburgh Council
Image caption The roads in green will be closed to vehicles on the first Sunday of the month as part of the trial by the City of Edinburgh Council

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