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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 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, will remained closed from midday until 17:00 on Sunday.

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 have been organised to celebrate the launch in Edinburgh, including jazz performances in Dunbar Close Garden, Tai Chi on the High Street, electric bike trials on Victoria Street and the free use of Just Eat hire bikes.

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 Sunday until 17:00

The following streets will be closed to cars and other vehicles between midday and 17:00 on 5 May:

Blackfriars Street (between High Street and New Skinner’s Close)

Canongate (between St Mary/Jeffrey Street and the west side of Reid’s Close)

Cockburn Street

Cranston Street

Grassmarket (pedestrian zone between West Bow and King’s Stables Road)

High Street


New Street

Niddry Street

Old Tolbooth Wynd

St Giles’ Street

Victoria Street

West Bow


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