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Retail giant slams Edinburgh congestion charge plan


LEADING RETAILER John Lewis this week slammed plans to introduce congestion charging in Edinburgh as 'crude' and economically damaging.

The plans will be subjected to a referendum early next year after an independent public inquiry gave the all clear to the City of Edinburgh Council's scheme this week.

The council proposes a two-cordon scheme operating between Mondays and Fridays, with inbound motorists paying £2 for crossing either or both cordons.

The outer cordon follows the ring road and will operate during the morning peak only. The inner cordon covers the historic city centre, operating from 7am to 6.30pm.

'If congestion is to be tackled it must be through less crude measures than those used in London and proposed in Edinburgh, ' said John Lewis chairman Sir Stuart Hampson.

'A city that uses a blunt instrument is hanging up a sign that says 'please shop elsewhere', and underneath another saying 'please invest elsewhere'.'

Hampson said the scheme was only acceptable in London because 90% of shoppers arrive in the centre by public transport.

It warned that a similar scheme would cripple business in Edinburgh, where 40% of shoppers at its city centre store travel by car.

It has calculated that London's scheme has hit sales in its Oxford Street store by between 5.5% and 9% since its launch in February last year.

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