Campaign to stop tramline being built on nature corridor cycle path

Locals are battling to stop a tramline being built on a popular cycle path which has become 'a haven for biodiversity.'

A campaign to prevent an extension of Edinburgh’s tramline being built on the Roseburn Path says it will continue to push for any plans on the route to be abandoned.

For the last 60 years the Roseburn Path, which used to carry inner city trains through Edinburgh, has been popular amongst cyclists, runners and walkers.

But rail could soon return here – it’s the preferred route among council officers for a tram extension to Granton, encompassing a stop at the Western General Hospital.

That’s proven to be an unpopular option amongst regular users of the path.

Euan Baxter, campaigner for Save The Roseburn Path said: “I use the Roseburn path for walking, cycling and running. It’s an incredible urban green space and a key part of our north Edinburgh path network.

“It would be incredibly disappointing, given the twin biodiversity and climate crisis. What we would effectively be doing is taking away a local park for people. They should be finding more places to create paths, not taking them away.

Euan says the path is an 'incredible urban green space'

“North Edinburgh needs a mass transit infrastructure, but we believe it should replace cars on the road – not people walking, cycling and running.

“The reaction has been incredible for our campaign. We look forward to taking our argument to the council in the coming months.”

Jennifer Barakat cycles along the Roseburn path to her work at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary every day.

It’s a longer commute – but she prefers it to using other “busy and unsafe” roads.

“Coming this way puts an extra 15 minutes on my journey, but I choose to do it because I benefit from the mental health aspects,” she said.

“It gives me no end of joy seeing the wildlife and it takes away the stress of the day working at a busy hospital.

“Since Covid lockdown, people have reconnected with nature. There are so many benefits to an outside green space.

“It will absolutely break my heart if this is taken from me. It’s a place for wildlife in a semi rural area in the heart of Edinburgh.

“It provides a huge backdrop for biodiversity to thrive. These trees wouldn’t be here to support the life running through – hedgehogs, badgers and red list birds.”

Jennifer Barakat said the path offers a variety of mental health benefits for locals

The council will launch a public consultation later this year on potential options for an expanded network.

Its ideal route to take the tram to Granton would be via the Roseburn path because it would offer a direct route to the Western General Hospital.

This would also mean reduced journey times as the alternative along Orchard Brae would see services potentially disrupted by traffic congestion.

Planners argued this would also mean less disruption to the public the construction process.

The council say no decisions have been made on route options and that an open consultation will take place later this year.

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Scott Arthur said: “Expanding our excellent tram network is a key part of our wider climate goals for the city as well as providing affordable and reliable travel options for our residents.

“On the proposed Granton to BioQuarter extension, no decision has been made on any of the route options. I’d highlight that decision taken at the last Transport and Environment Committee that an open and transparent consultation on the route should take place later in the year.

“We will also continue funding discussions with the Scottish Government and other partners. Officers have been instructed to present a report later in the year on possible funding options.

“Edinburgh is a city with big ideas for the future and I’m sure we can arrive at a positive solution on this next phase of the tram network expansion.”

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