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City of Edinburgh issues warning it will not have sufficient capacity to handle shift to electric cars

© Alex Tai

The leader of Edinburgh City Council has warned that the energy system “cannot cope” with a massive shift away from petrol and diesel automobiles, as he outlines the authority’s carbon-cutting policy.

Adam McVey has laid out the authority’s vision for becoming a net zero city by 2030, 15 years ahead of Scotland’s pledge.

As part of the city’s objective, the SNP council leader highlighted that plans for a low emission zone for the city would “probably” need to be tightened to a zero emission zone – adding that he “wouldn’t expect us to be a completely petrol-free city by 2030.”

As part of this goal, the council hopes to provide electric charging stations for public-sector vehicles that residents can use.

However, Mr McVey cautioned that the emphasis in building a net zero approach should be on increasing public transportation and active commuting rather than depending on expanding electric vehicle infrastructure.

Mr McVey predicted that the number of polluting cars will progressively fall in the city, ahead of the authority’s plans for a low-emission zone, which will be published later this month.

When asked if the low-emission zones would inevitably become zero-emission zones, he responded, “probably.”

The council also intends to examine options for retrofitting old and historic buildings in Edinburgh’s World Heritage sites that face planning obstacles in order to become better insulated.